Life Happens

 

Crowds
Life happens !
We are all different and respond or react differently in different situations.
Living life gives us the opportunity to experience different situations,  some that we would never choose for ourselves.   And through these life situations we get to know ourselves a little better – and perhaps that is the crux of the matter of life, to get to know ourselves a little better, through the hard times and the good times.

Sprouting a little wisdom here then ?

Well, taking a small overview of the past twelve months, and in particular the last five months, has given me a glimpse into the way I respond to life situations, and so getting to know myself a little better.
Having been diagnosed with breast cancer and walking on the stepping stones of a new pathway I am a little surprised how the walk through the valley of the shadow of death has brought a subtle change in me.
A cancer diagnosis becomes a death sentence, well in my mind it was so.
First the symptom then the mammogram, then the visit to the surgeon, then the results of his biopsy, then its over.  Well so I thought, but discovered that it was not over, and that I did not die, but lived !

My demise was a mental address, real and sad to me that there was nothing beyond the final visit to the surgeon.   I was in a dead-end street.
I tried to tidy up my cupboards, throw out any excess so the family didn’t have much bother when I was gone.  Get my accounts in order.  Just generally tidying up my life, with no loose ends to tie up.   I made no commitments  so that I would have no obligations.  I had no desire to be creative or work on any project.   I only did what I had to do.   I kind of gave up on my life, after all there was no future.

I put on a strong face for the family, and was very positive in the beginning. I wanted them to ease into the reality of the death sentence, as I knew it is a personal blow to come to terms with losing a loved one.   They were all so very supportive, each in their own way, and the love they carried in their hearts were revealed to me in each one’s unique response to the situation.  They each grew in stature and grace at Life’s happenings.

The hormone therapy that the oncologist had put me on was easy, apart from the tiredness that went along with it.   The tumour had regressed and I was on my way to healing.   I became optimistic that things were working out  after all.   Somewhere along the way I lost the death sentence as I began to realise that there was much wisdom in ‘taking one day at a time’ and ‘to keep hope alive.’

Then the tumour started to grow again.   The oncologist suggested radiation therapy, and I was in a dilemma – to do, or not to do, was the decision I struggled with, until I finally made an appointment with the unknown – radiation treatment !

Radiation sign

The treatment itself was not to daunting.   “Its like having a chest ex-ray,” my oncologist said.   It is however the after effects that had to be walked through, with plenty of rest, as the treatment left me drained, physically emotionally and spiritually.  And rest I did, for the best part of six weeks.   My poor immune system had been rocked by radiation to destroy the enemy within, it deserved to rest and to be nurtured, –  so to my soul.

It was during this time that I realised I had to keep my mind busy.   I was not to let this situation, this ‘ life’s happenings’,  this malady with its tiredness dominate my thinking.  I had to bring in other thoughts, and good thoughts.  I had to focus my mind on something better, a bigger story than my own.
So I took to the Scriptures, and focused particularly on a project-read, and then bring it to a conclusion by writing a summary of it on my blog.    I chose to look at the great men in the Bible.   I wrote Minding Moses and Dancing with David, and am currently working on other Faith heroes.

The  radiation treatment is still doing its work, and the tumour is regressing.  Hallelujah ! And my oncologist is delighted with my physical progress.

crossing the bridge
Having said all that I must add, that emotionally it is quite a ride too, a lonely ride.  I regard myself as a fairly stable person, and was outwardly, and for the most part inwardly, calm through each step of the way.  Although open,  I’m a private person and like to handle my own “emotional stuff” my own way.  There were days when I felt very alone and very sad for myself.   And indeed I was alone, except when I drew my strength from the Scriptures.

Cancer has an ugly face, its not a nice companion, and I did not embrace it for one minute, but I had to surrender to God’s sovereignty in the situation.  Once I did that I was at peace with Him and with myself.

I am not only on hormone therapy, but on faith therapy too.     Its a therapy that has no bad side effects, and will in time manifest only the goodness of God.   Faith is spiritual, a heavenly thing,  and is another ball game, which I am slowly learning by His grace, and with expectation.

I am still on my pathway to healing, and calling on God to show me the way.
Perhaps there is new ground to break, I hope so.   I hope to see Him working in new ways in my life – help me to attain higher ground in faith and healing, and His way of doing things.

I keep in mind, that His grace is sufficient for a new day, for there is always faith, hope and love in, Life’s happenings !

The sun comes up

The First Line of Defence

Einstein said   “Our sense of wonder is our sense of God”
I couldn’t agree more.  I love the sense of wonder, as it gives me a feeling of  my horizons being extended.

I had this feeling, believe it or not, while reading and researching the benefits of
Coenzyme Q 10  – a component that is important for the building up of the immune system, which is vital for good health.  This led me to discover my lymphatic and immune systems.  Wonder systems in their own right !

Boring you might say, but oh no, not when it is written in terms of engagement and the concepts of warfare.
Now imagine a city on a hill, of whom the mayor, the honourable Mrs Good-loo King,  who makes all decision in all matters, is the chief citizen.  This city has its very own personal defence system to keep it clean and disease free and guard against any would be malicious enemies.

No, the enemies are not invading Turks, Arabs, Romans or Russians.   The enemies are the invisible inhabitants of an invisible world, the world of bacteria, virus, and fungi – pathogens and antigens !  And a sneaky bunch they are too.  Not to be sniffed at, as they can be skilfully deceptive to gain access to my city, and can cause major infection.

lymph polixw
To my delight I came to realise that, in my city’s arsenal, the first line of  defence were a troop of assassination killers – that asked no questions, hear no lies, and shoot from the hip, purposely intending to kill and to destroy any would be invader that meant harmful destruction,  – the Phagocytes ! (white blood cells)  And after the warring attack on my cells are over, they call in the Macrophages and Monocytes.  “These are large cells that act as killer scavengers, with the unique ability to engulf and digest foreign micro organism and antigens “  – to clean up the mess left behind.   I love the Phagocytes !

As amazing as the lymphocytes are, is the manner in which they operate.  It took a little time for me to wrap my mind around the workings of the immune system.  This with the help of the book I read : The Miracle Nutrient Coenzyme Q10  written by Emile G. Bliznakov M.C. and Gerald L. Hunt.   Publisher Bantam Books.
“The immune system is able to distinguish between “self” and “nonself” and it will act accordingly.  It also has a memory for ‘faces’ individual chemical markers that are displayed by foreign proteins.     The immune intelligence remembers  past invaders and reacts.”
How amazing is that !!

These Lymphocytes, are the ground troops that carry out the work of surveillance, identifying the enemy then ruthlessly kill and destroy foreigners, and are but a part of a network of vessels similar to the blood vessels.  The blood vessels are the carriers of nutrients and life to all my cells.

No small regimental army this !  Highly operational,  and there are other strategically positioned outposts in my city to detect an enemy invasion e.g. the tonsil,s  the appendix,  the clumps of lymphoid tissue in the small intestine known as Peyer’s patches.

lymphatic_system

“The lymphatic system itself is the line of supply,” (crucial in warfare), “throughout the immune network.  The whole system is lined by lymph nodes, which are small bean-shaped structures spread throughout the body. Strings of lymph nodes can be found in  the groin, abdomen, armpits and neck.      Lymph nodes act as depositories for cells of the immune system and also as centres for disposing of the remains of dead (or deceased) micro organisms.”

Highly strategically organised and efficient warfare with a sweeping surveillance with swift action to destroy an incoming enemy !
And strangely there is no manual to follow, no protocol to adhere to, no General in charge to issues orders when attacked, it is as if they exist only to do their work on their own accord.   When they get triggered, war happens !
Amazing, amazing the human body !

I wonder, if Christians were as quick to react to the incoming wrongs and injustices in our societies, if there would be less chaos and despair in the world ?   We too may be, the first line of defence, in a world where oppression, crime and lies seem to be the order of the day.   Of course we can’t kill, but we can expose them for what they are, and nullify the damage they cause.
However I digress.

Being stressed-out is the malady of our times, – in a world where everything has been innovated and invented to make our lives better, easier and faster !  But too much stress is not a friend of our immune system !  We would be wise to make time to slow down a little and bring a good dollop of fun, and mindful reflection, to balance our overworked minds.
Malnutrition, often undetected, is another malady.  I believe supplements can be helpful, but in all I have read, many if not most recommend that we get our nutrients, vitamins and minerals from God-made food like fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts.
For good health, good nutrition is our first line of defence, and starts with the natural foods we eat.

And for that reason Mayor Good-loo King will need to do a little more research to make the best decisions for the health and well being of her city !

This snapshot of information, done tongue in cheek,  has done no justice whatsoever to the complicated work of the lymphatic system.  And though I do not fully comprehend it all,  my sense of wonder was rekindled as I discovered my brave lymphatic and immune systems – and the goodness of God in His amazing design of the human body.

O LORD, how manifold are your works !  Psalm 104:24

Human body systems

 

But for now, excuse me, as I go and top up  my plate with a whole lot more broccoli, drizzled with just an itsy-bit of lemon butter and a sprinkle of black pepper.

plate of broccoli

Remember to love your Phagocytes, and eat your greens !

   You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden  Matthew 5:14