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

Waiting Rooms

 

I had to get up earlier than usual so that I could travel the distance and arrive early for my appointment at the oncologist’s waiting rooms.
The invader had returned.  And so I had to go through the process of assessment, markings, being escorted to the other building where registration,  x-rays and scans were done for more markings and measurements.    All done professionally and regimentally with precision and courtesy.  There were other patients waiting their turn, and so I had to wait my turn too.   But the waiting for me was not an inconvenience.   I love to sit and observe the passing parade, whether it be in traffic, or in the waiting rooms of life.

I  remember being in this place before, when I had to come in for the original scanning process at the beginning of my cancer challenge.   Strangely the whole building, the registration, the waiting-foyer all seemed much smaller than I remembered.

That very long corridor which I sat in waiting for the radiographer to call my name, was not so long now.
Long corridor

It still had the beautiful seascape paintings on the wall, but somehow it was not so daunting.    I wondered why.
Is it that memory shrinks the environment.  Or is it that when one is fearful of the unknown that everything seems bigger and a little overwhelming?
It is like when you return to your childhood home, or school, that everything now seems much smaller.   An interesting phenomena.

There were three others waiting for their treatment, and so I had a chunk of time to pass.
I read a magazine. And then scrutinised the paintings, thinking how I could perhaps re create them when I started my drawing again.    And then I thought to use the time to write.  I had brought my notebook with me.    All I saw was the blank wall, literally and figuratively, nothing creative would come to mind.

Gloom CloudBut what I did see was the cloud of doom hovering over the other patients’ heads.   There was a sense of gloom, and a sense of duty in the corridor as the clinic sisters hurried along with their work.   But even they seemed to have the gloom cloud over them.

Eventually all the necessary scanning preparation work was done, and I had to return to the oncologist’s rooms again.
Now more waiting.   But here was a large TV screen, and South Africa was playing India in the Cricket World Cup.   I watched for a while, but lost interest, so decided to inconspicuously observe  the other cancer patients instead.   And though the waiting room was light and colourful with flowers in vases and the TV screen there was an air of travail in the room too.   It was as if the people’s problems were very present in the room with them.  There was a certain amount of gloom in the room.     And understandably so, cancer is a serious problem, an  almost insurmountable problem, with its own sense of burden and invisible gloom. In some there was a resignation to the suffering of the disease.   In others there seem to be a bearable tolerance of the inevitable.   We were all wrestling in our own way with the fate that had befallen us.
There was a certain gloom, but there was hope too.  Treatment of whatever kind meant there was help, and the people in the medical and healing professions, who have great expertise, also  have important caring attitudes that carry the cancer patients through in times of illness and desperation.  Kindness is a good companion in the healing process.

I came away with further appointments in hand, for ongoing treatment.   But somewhere  in the waiting rooms, I had resolved not to pick up on the gloom, but to rather look on the soaring side of hope,  and choose joy when gloom wants to press in to order the mood of the moment.

soaring eagle

But those who wait on the Lord,
Shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 42:31