Staring My Mortality in the Face
Time to come clean ... I have not been posting BLOG posts because I felt God was wanting me to post some of my CarePages journal entries from 2013 regarding cancer stuff. And frankly, I was not fond of that idea. It feels too exposed. Feels too much like being a "fly on the wall" into someone's mind as they stare their own mortality in the face.
But tonight, I read a speech given by Dr Richard Teo, who died in 2012 of a stage 4 cancer at the age of 40. And God has again pressed me to share some of the posts. So, here we go ... this is the post written about 6 hours prior to the start of my "Mother of all surgeries" for stage 4 appendix cancer with terminal prognosis. Sharing this is difficult as it is very personal.
Regardless of our circumstance or position in this world, we will each eventually face our own mortality. The question is ... are you ready to die?
"J: Today is Surgery Day
Posted May 29, 2013 2:05am
Today is surgery day. It is 12:32AM and I am not yet asleep as the colon prep still has me spending much quality time with the porcelain throne.
I am to report to the hospital at 6AM and surgery will begin around 8AM. It is expected to be completed sometime between 6PM-9PM. I will then spend the night in recovery. Due to the NG tube, it will be a day or two until I can talk. This means some of you will not be getting any of those late night phone calls from me like you did the night of my last surgery. I cannot imagine why I was allowed access to my phone while on a morphine pump!
At this late hour, I am strangely calm about my surgery that is less than 8 hours away. For the first time in my life I feel I can truly relate to the Scripture that says "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:7. It makes no sense to not have anxiety or at least apprehension about what lies before me yet there is a strange peace about it. If my physical body should falter under the strain of what is being asked of it, I will continue on in Heaven. I will be better than I have ever been.
In many ways, going home is much more preferable to staying here. Paul expressed this in Phil 1:21-25 when he said, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith"
Many of us say we long to be in Heaven but, when push comes to shove, do we really mean it? If so, why do we wail before God to spare us an inevitable physical death? And if God does spare our physical body to continue on this earth, how do we spend those "extra" days? This may be the very question lying before me soon. Should God spare my physical body, to what end? What does He have for me to do with the "extra" time? According to Paul, it would be "for fruitful labor" and "for your progress and joy in the faith". So, my extra time should be spent furthering the cause of Christ and experiencing the true joy that can only be found in knowing Jesus Christ.
On another subject, I have had several people comment to me that "God will not let me have more than I can handle" or something to that effect. I will admit that I could not disagree more. If God did not allow more than we can handle to come into our lives, we would never reach out to Him or anyone else. God does let more than we can handle into our lives for the specific purpose of drawing us to Him. When people reference this subject matter, I think it gets confused with 1 Cor 10:13 where it says, "He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear".
Well, it is now 1AM and I must wake up at 4:15 to prepare to leave by 5AM. It is probably time to see if I can get some sleep. I thank everyone for their prayers. The next 30 days are a high risk time due to the potential complications that are expected (ie. infection, blood clots, etc). So in the next 30 days, I will know if God's work for me has been completed on this earth or if He has a new assignment for me. Regardless of the outcome, I will count it all joy for I will either be in Heaven where there is no grief or sorrow OR I will be excited to learn the name of the new chapter God has for my life."
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So, these were my thought just hours before a 2013 life-threatening cancer surgery. I was initially given 12-24 months to live. Five years later, I am still here. God is not finished with me on this earth. My cancer is expected to return. Statistically, this will most likely happen sometime after 8 years of survival.As each year passes, the probability of return increases. This is because microscope cancer cells get caught in scar tissue from my surgery and it will take about this much time for them to "fester" to the surface and start growing again.
If and when my cancer returns, I hope to "die well". What does this "look like"? For me it means proclaiming the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ until my last breath on this earth while looking forward to an eternity in Heaven with God my Heavenly Father.
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I am a regular person like you ... entering a new season of life ... sharing some thoughts as I work out my salvation (Philippians 2:12)