Ever find yourself at a crossroad in your life? Sometimes life deals us a pain hand that equates to a so-called “fork in the road.” We have a choice to make. Many times those choices range from uncomfortable to excruciatingly painful.
In 2013, I found myself at such a fork in the road when a doctor told me I had “as little as 12 months” to live and that the medical team would “keep me comfortable.” I insisted on a referral to a major cancer hospital in Houston, Texas. I mean, if I am going to die anyway, why not at least go down fighting! While taking the comfortable path can be attractive, sometimes the best path involves preparing for the fight of our lives.
Below are two entries from my Cancer Journey journal as I waited to learn if I would have the opportunity to fight for my life. This moment in time was a most significant fork in my road. I had options. I could panic. I could become bitter toward God for having allowed my terminal diagnosis. I could bemoan my circumstance. I could … well, you get the point.
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J: My Cancer Journal
Posted May 3, 2013 11:41am
April 25, 2013
This is the beginning of my cancer journal. I am not sure what I hope to accomplish through these writings outside of processing my own feelings about a journey I did not chose and do not want.
April 30, 2013
After several encounters with individuals asking me questions about my cancer diagnosis, I now have a purpose for my journal. I have heard a lot of “Why?” questions … “why would God allow this to happen?”, “Why … at this season of life”, “Why a rare cancer that cannot be treated in Austin?” As I listen to these questions, I realize they are not necessarily directed to me out of an interest of knowing my responses as much as they are an effort for the questioner to make sense of things for him or herself.
As I think about all the questions and the path God has allowed for me as a “cancer patient”, I realize that the big “Why?” question has the same answer it has always had in my life. In 2007, God got me to realize that in my life the answer to “Why me?” is always “To glory Myself while molding you more into the image of Christ”. This situation is no different. For whatever reason, God has allowed me to have a very serious form of cancer. Through this experience, God will have the opportunity glory to Himself and to mold me more into the image of Christ.
As humans, we can we tend to label things that make us comfortable and happy as “good” and things that make us uncomfortable or unhappy as “bad”. People can tend to focus on the tree in front of them while God focuses on what is best for the entire forest. God’s perspective is to, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4, NIV1984) So, just like past trials in my life, God will use this trial to test my faith and develop my perseverance. It is already apparent to me that God will also be testing the faith and developing the perseverance of those closest to me. Cancer is not something that happens only to the patient, it also impacts everyone close to the patient.
Because cancer is happening to me and those closest to me, I have decided to chronicle my journey via CarePages. These will be my gut level thoughts about my journey and about what God is doing in my life and how He is changing me as a person.
I hope to hear from MD Anderson as soon as tomorrow regarding acceptance of my case. While I am assuming they will accept my case I have read of cases where they have declined PMP cases and so this is not yet a “done deal”. I have so many thoughts in my head regarding the events of the past 2.5 months and how my life as I know it has been abruptly interrupted by a God with a plan more grand that I could ever come up with myself. I know I certainly would not have jumped up and down to volunteer for a rare mucin tumor.
My favorite two words in the English language are “But God”:
But God has a plan …
But God knows what He is doing …
But God wants to perfect me not keep me comfortable or happy …
But God ….
Some people in my life have already gotten frustrated with me for not seriously thinking that God will heal me from cancer … by having it … poof ... suddenly be gone. It is not that I do not think God can heal me. I KNOW He can. My perspective is that which is expressed in a song (I forget the title) that says that sometimes God calms the storm and sometimes God calms His saint.
My personal perspective is that too often humans want God to calm the storm so that they do not have to deal with it, experience it, etc. Sometimes God does take away the storm. But many more times God uses the storm to grow us and strengthen us. If He calmed every storm, we would grow very little. The trials test us and perfect us. They are necessary.
For whatever reason, God has decided I will endure a storm called cancer. While I have certainly shed my share of tears, expressed my fears, and vocalized my anger at God, in the end I have praised Him for the cancer. We are to praise God for everything, not just the things that are happy and comfortable. As I near the natural place of acceptance with my new path, I am starting to see it as a blessing in that I have the opportunity to live my life in a new way, with a sense of urgency and refocused purpose.
If I am accepted by MD Anderson, I ask that you praise God with me and ask God to give me strength for the journey. And if I am declined by MD Anderson, I ask that you praise God with me ask God to give me strength for the journey.