Showing posts from July, 2017

Scary Diagnosis? Kids to tell? Here's one way to make it work.

Some suggest shielding your kids from the truth of your scary diagnosis, but I chose to be straightforward and openly honest with them. It's just the way I roll. 

Not to say that this is the only way to handle tough news. What follows is simply my experience. Take from it what you will.

Our three daughters were 5, 9 and 12 years old when I first received the cancer diagnosis.
I gathered them around the dining room table. They climbed into the chairs and turned their faces my way, awaiting the news.

"You know I went to the doctor today," I began. "And they told me the results of all those tests."

I told them everything I'd been told; that I'd been diagnosed with cancer, that it was in its early stages, that I'd have to go to the doctor a lot while they wait and decide when to start chemotherapy. I told them nobody knew when that would be. It could be weeks, months or years. Nobody knew. But for now, we didn't have to do anything.

I chose a matter-o…

Thursday's Thoughts

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:22

When Life Hands You Lemons...You'll Need To Know This

Life isn't fair. It just isn't.

We all know that, of course.  But sometimes the ugly truth resurfaces and sucker punches you in the gut. 

Like the other day, when I was innocently reading an email forwarded to a group of women from my church. One of the members, someone I didn't know, was thanking us for our prayers.

She said she'd been diagnosed with cancer, and, fortunately, was eligible for the newest treatment available. All she had to do was take a pill each day. Side effects were minimal and things were going well. She was living her normal life, just a little slower pace.

Suddenly, an uncontrollable gut reaction struck me. Anger arose from deep within, fueled by my own longtime sufferings initiated by my ongoing battle with cancer treatments.

What? I thought.No trips to the chemo lab? No bone pain? No visits to the ER? No suffering? No rashes? No intestinal uproars? No brain pain? No fatigue that body-slams you to the ground?

I clenched my fists.

Don't get me wro…

Show Me The Money!

So there's a backstory to the week or so that I went through testing and was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer.
By the time I finished testing and returned to the oncologist to hear the final results, my insurance plan changed. We had moved into a new home during all this, so our mail was rerouted and delayed causing me to find out after the fact that this oncologist was not on our new plan. I cringed at the thought.

So, at my next appointment, I tearfully explained the problem to the oncologist. I wanted to be fiscally responsible, so I felt I had to switch to an in-network doctor.

I'll never forget the oncologist's response, as he gently slipped the paperwork from my hands: "You shouldn't have to worry about money at a time like this," he said. "We'll take whatever your insurance pays. My office will not send you a bill."

I couldn't imagine being the receiver of such generosity. It wasn't what I'd expected. I really didn't want t…

Publix...Where Shopping Really Is A Pleasure

I was standing in the butter aisle of our local grocery store when a rush of happiness welled up within me. I looked around, and, eyes sparkling with delight, offered a prayer of thanks.
Yep, right there in the refrigerated aisle of Publix.

(Cancer has taught me not to take anything for granted.)

First of all, I couldn't believe I was in the grocery store (it's been awhile.. a long while..).
Do you know how good it is to glimpse life out from under a blanket of suffering?

I was captivated by the beauty of the colorful butter and yogurt options. Have you ever really seen the splendor in those cases?

Additionally, the blast of refreshing cool air that washed over me from the refrigerator case was delightful. How many times have I taken for granted such simple pleasures?

I chose a tub of Fleishman's and watched my husband, a few feet ahead, reach for a container of milk. A chill ran through me, knowing how blessed I was to be here with him... that we could be here together...(Canc…

What's That You Said???

I'll never forget the day I received the results of the extensive cancer testing that had been done. My husband went with me to the appointment and our kids were in school. 
The oncologist walked into the room, welcomed us, and took a seat on a little round stool that swiveled. He asked how we were doing, flipped through charts, then grew serious.

"We've got the results of all your tests back," he said. He drew close to both of us and looked at me. "I'm sorry to report that you have a blood disease," he said, "called Waldentrom's Macroglobulinemia."

My mother had died of cancer, and my dreaded fear was that this would be cancer, so I relaxed a bit when I didn't hear that word.

Hmmm.....I thought. That didn't sound too bad. A blood disease...not cancer? But he did say sorry...why did he say he's sorry?

"The way we treat it today, in 1995," he continued, "is you take a handful of pills once a month...."

Pills. No…

Roll Out Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer...

"You've got to come over Wednesday morning," Cathy, my neighbor, said. "I met someone who is a fan of your writing. She can't believe you live across the street from me."

I felt like a kid. Here I was, on a hot summer day, walking to a friend's house to play. I love meeting new people. Especially new people with a common interest in the Lord. I knew the conversation would be rich.
It was a pleasure to meet Mary, a former resident of Indianapolis, where my Emmaus Walk column runs. She'd been reading it for years. Last year, following what she described as God's calling, she decided to leave everything behind and go on 'pilgrimage'. She ended up settling, at least for now, in Florida. Since then, she's discovered a talent for art and photography that brings the scriptures to life. Where did this come from?

As the conversation continued, we realized that, like Mary, each of us was on the cusp of something new...something different...som…

Thursday's Thoughts

How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment before starting to change the world.   ---Anne Frank

Be Still...and know...

God is always speaking to us. We need simply to recognize the whisperings of his still, small voice.

After completing all the lab and hospital testing ordered by the oncologist, today was the day I'd meet with him to discuss the results. I woke up feeling a little nervous.

It was Tuesday. I drove my kids to St. Mary Magdalen school, parked my car, and headed straight into the church, where Mass would soon begin. I needed to find peace.

What if this was cancer? My mom died of cancer. Hers was a quick downhill slide. Experimental surgery and chemotherapy did nothing but make her ill.  Would I repeat her experience? Would I soon die?How would my husband and young children cope?

Little did I know, but God already knew my questions. He'd already prepared an answer. The question is: would I recognize it?

I'd come to the right place.

Upon entering the church, I slipped into a back pew. I bowed my head and prayed for most of the Mass, but when we stood and lined up for communion, I spo…

Thursday's Thoughts (and a song!)

...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Click here for Oh My Soul by Don Moen and may God bless you!

A Hop, A Skip and a Jump!

The events of some days just stand out in your mind forever. This is one of them:

In a daze, I followed the slick hospital hallway to the exit sign, pushed open the door, and entered the waiting room. I quickly spotted Rhonda, who put her magazine down, grabbed her purse, and stood up.

"You ready to go?" she asked.

"Yes, yes I am," I said. I didn't break stride as we headed to the parking lot.

When we arrived at her car, I climbed into the front seat, sat down and put my head in my hands. Although yesterday I'd resisted her offer to drive me to this appointment, now I was incredibly thankful she was here.

I told her about the unsettling experience. I told her how disgusting the chalky substance tasted. I told her about the nurse's frightful assumption that I was in chemotherapy. I told her I had to return in two hours for more testing.

Apologetically, I burst into tears.

Rhonda reached for a tissue and handed it to me.

"I'm surprised you held it to…