Good evening all! I am so excited today to share with you this post about MRI updates AND about all God had been doing in my life these past few months. I have a lot to say and man, I’m excited to get it out into words! I want to start by praying that the Holy Spirit be the sole inspiration for this post and that I write only the words that God would have me write, so that He may use them in whatever way He chooses. Amen. And guess what? I’m gonna be mean and save the MRI updates till the end so you have listen to everything else before you get to read what you really want to read! 🙂 haHA!
To start out, I’m going to tell you something that you probably already know. (And I may have actually already written some about this part of my journey as of late, but it’s important so I’m sharing it again.) For the past 3-4 months, I have been in a funk. Big time. As of this past September and the second major attack of cancer on my body, Bryan and I have been in a battle. We went through it in September of 2012 when cancer made it’s first strike and we spent the next year or so battling and recovering from all the ways cancer had wounded us. After the first round of chemo, radiation, colon removal, drains, mastectomy, drains, ovary removal, and more drains… we had a lot of scars. My body was obviously very physically scarred but we both had even deeper emotional and spiritual scars. Cancer takes so much from you and after our year of walking through hell and back, we had a lot of recovering to do.
Then, this past September when everything came back again, Bryan and I didn’t realize it initially but all of the sudden, we were opening up those same scars all over again. And just like it hurts when a surgeon has to cut through layers and layers of scar tissue on a patient who has had previous surgeries, Bryan and I were suddenly realizing just how scarred we really were as we opened up all of the wounds cancer had given us the first time around. And it was painful. My doctors told me the cancer was back, and a scar over my chest was ripped open. They told me I was going to have to do radiation again, and a scar was ripped open. I was told I would have to do chemotherapy again, and another scar was ripped open. The clippers took the first swipe of wispy curls off my head, and a scar through my heart was ripped open. My freedom once again belonged to treatments and hospitals and doctors visits, and a scar was ripped wide open. We had spent almost 2 years trusting God, praying healing over my body, believing for healing, and then actually getting to enjoy some time when I was free from doctors, but then it all came back. It all came back and suddenly I was lying there a bloody mess as all of my scars had just been ripped wide open and exposed even deeper than they had been the first time. And I had no clue how to make sense of what had just happened to me.
In the most minor of summarizations, in many ways I had taken one step forward and fifty steps back. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in how I trusted God. I have always trusted God in everything. I’ve never really struggled with that but all of a sudden, I found myself wanting to pull away a little. I guess you could say I was really, really offended. How could God do this to me? I already went through it once and had trusted Him all the way through. Hello. I ALREADY WENT THROUGH IT ONCE AND HAD TRUSTED HIM ALL THE WAY THROUGH. And yet He let it happen again. I mean, where do you put that? What do you do with that? In your logical, philosophical, spiritual mind, where does that go? My God, my own Father, who reached out His hand to me and said, “Trust Me. Do not be afraid. I will protect you under the shadow of My wings. By My stripes you are healed. I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds…,” He let cancer come back again. And I had no idea how to handle it.
At first, I kept walking with a smile on my face just like I did the first time around. Stubbornness kicked in and I figured, hey, I walked through it once I can do it again. So I did, and it worked just fine until one day a couple weeks ago I realized all I was doing was walking. I was waking up, taking my pills, hoping it was going to be a good day physically, and barely putting one foot in front of the other. And it wasn’t working for me anymore.
Have you ever been in that place? Where you know you trust God, you know God is good, and you know His ways are higher than yours, but when it comes down to it, you’ve just been burned too many times. Life has slapped you in the face one time too many and somewhere along the way you subconsciously, or consciously, decided it would make you feel a little bit better to walk with one hand holding on to Heaven with “controlled abandon” (woohoo), while the other hand is safely and securely holding on to the world and to a path you understand. Y’all, that has soooooo been me lately. After the cancer came back again, for the first time in my life, I felt my security in God get shaken a little. I walked through the first round with my head held high but when the second blow came, it struck home and it rocked me to my foundation. I knew God had used my story and the trials to help other people, and I was truly honored to find a way for what satan had intended for evil to be used for good instead. But after this past September happened, I found myself walking much more cautiously with God and trying to do things in my own strength instead of depending fully on Him. And as we all know, that will only get you so far. As humans, we simply cannot go it alone in this world and because I was trying to walk in my own strength, that is exactly how I found myself last week; feeling totally alone. But low and behold, that is when God finally chose to show Himself to me.
It happened when I was at a church service last Saturday night. It was one of those times when I walked into church really hoping for God to speak to me in a big way but in reality, I only wanted to let a little bit of Him in. You know what I’m talkin about? I wanted so desperately to hear from God because it had been SO long since I had really felt His presence close to me. But, because it had been so long since I had felt Him close to me, I knew if I did feel Him I was going to ab-so-loot-ly lose it. Thank goodness, God knew exactly what He was doing.
We were singing a song during worship at the end of the service and I was still sitting in my seat and singing along. As I often do during worship, I looked up to the ceiling because it helps me to remember that I am worshipping someone who is bigger than me and bigger than my problems. So I’m singing and staring at the ceiling when all of the sudden, I could feel Him. I don’t know how to explain it exactly but it was the same way that I always feel God when I have had moments like this in the past, and I could feel my spirit quicken. Tears came to my eyes, I raised my hands, and then I just knew that there were angels there with us. I tried so hard to see them with my physical eyes and never could, but I knew in my spirit that the Spirit of the Lord was in that place and that angels were singing and worshipping with us. I could “see” them there with their hands raised and their wings flapping in a grand and Heavenly manner; and as I saw them flap their wings I suddenly had to gasp. It was like they were moving the air about the room and it was moving so fast that I literally had to catch my breath. Several times in a row, I inhaled as deeply as I could and as I did, I felt a spirit of peace, renewal, and strength wash over me like a flood.
You know when you’re a kid and you jump off the diving board and do a pencil? You go really far down into the deep end of the water, touch the bottom, and then you have to start kicking your way back up to the top. You kick and kick and look up and just when you’re running out of air and it looks like you’re about to break through to the surface, you don’t. You get a little panicky and you kick harder and harder and just when you think you can’t wait any longer for that next breath, you break out of the water and you gasp. Well, for the past few months, the devil has been dragging me deeper and deeper under the water and I have been kicking and kicking trying to get back to the surface. And it was this moment, sitting in my seat during worship, that God finally took me by the hand, and pulled me to the surface. And I gasped.
So here I am! I am back, I am myself again (praise God!), and I am SO thankful to have a renewed strength, hope, and trust in my Heavenly Father. Unfortunately, it seems He pulled me up just in time because the results we got from the MRI’s this past Monday were not the good results were were hoping for.
I had a PET scan week before last and it showed that all the cancerous activity in my body had responded well to the chemo. Nothing on the scan lit up except for one small spot on my neck and one tiny little speck on my liver. My doctor wasn’t sure if it was malignant or not so just to be safe, he ordered an extra MRI to check. Then this past Monday you know I had the massive morning of MRI’s to check everything and to confirm the good news we got from the PET scan. Then this past Tuesday evening, we got a call from my doctor and he said the news wasn’t good. For some reason the MRI’s showed a lot more activity going on that didn’t show up on the PET scan. Right now we don’t know all of the details of what exactly is going on in my body so I have some scans coming up this Friday as well as another MRI scheduled for next Friday the 20th. Those tests will hopefully show us exactly what we are dealing with and will help my doctors know how we need to respond.
In the meantime, I wanted to let you all know so that we can all take a deep breath again and continue to pray. I pray the Lord give each and every one of you a fresh gasp of His peace and strength that you may be able to dive back under the waters with us and do battle! We don’t know exactly what we are facing yet but we do know that no matter what it is, our God is ALWAYS stronger. And no matter how deep satan may try to pull me, just like we learned in the song as children, “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.” That fountain is His peace and that fountain is His healing. And besides, I’m pretty sure my God knows how to breath under water.