Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Midweek Musings

The women's LifeServe group that I belong to is currently reading the book What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst.   

In the chapter called Roadblocks and Reassurances, Lysa writes this:

The enemies to a great life are not tragedy, heartbreak, and hard times.  The enemy to having a great life is to simply lead a good life.  A life where you seek comfort and ease above growth.  A life where you avoid the risk of taking chances with God.  We live in a fallen world, so no one can avoid every pothole in the road of life.  You will have hard times.  You will get bumped and bruised, but you don't have to get bewildered.  Say yes to God now. Say yes to whatever He brings your way.  Seek Him wholeheartedly through it.  Ponder what He is teaching you. Surrender what He is requiring from you.  And know that He is working out His wonderful plans for you right now behind the scenes.

What a great thought for the middle of our week!

Please post any great thoughts you may have to share!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cancerversary part 2

In honor of my 2nd cancerversary, I thought I would share some tips for walking with someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.  This list is just a sample of some things that helped my family and I through our journey.

Tips for walking with someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Offer them hope at ever opportunity.  This can be through words wisely chosen, cards, emails or little gifts.  It is really easy to get discouraged, especially when you feel ill, battle fatigue and are in pain. 

  • Freezer meals were a life saver in our home.  Simple meals that can be put in the oven.  Knowing my family's nutritional needs were being provided for offered me the chance to concentrate more on healing.
  • Snacks are good too.  When you are getting groceries for your own family,pick up an extra bag of chips, cookies or goodies.  Members of the household will love you!  My shopping trips were very limited d/t fatigue and infection potential so snacks were limited.  Plus, cancer treatment includes many extra costs, so "treats" are something that often get cut from the budget.
  • Other:  A friend of ours brought such delight when they dropped off a big pack of toilet paper and some paper towels.  A few less things that my husband had to remember to pick up when he did errands and helped save us some costs.
A group of our friends came and cleaned our home every two weeks while I was going through chemotherapy.  This gift was very appreciated by all.  (If cleaning house isn't your thing and you can afford too...give a gift for housecleaning services.)

  • If the cancer survivor has a blog or caring bridge page, comment on their updates.  The comments that were left on my caringbridge were a great source of encouragement to me, especially during the lonely and fearful times.
  • A friend of mine printed encouraging scriptures on post cards.  I still carry these cards with me. 
  • Give a "blue bag."  Put several small gifts in a bag that can be opened whenever the survivor feels "blue".  The gifts can be silly or practical.  A friend gave me a blue bag and I had so much fun anticipating each gift.  (yes, it did help me from feeling blue--knowing someone loved and cared about me enough to take the time to make this gift.)
  • Offer support for dreams to be fulfilled.  Encourage the survivor to think about lost dreams and to set future goals and plans.  Assist in helping them obtain their dream if possible.  A few "dream believers" walked into my life and supported me so I could fulfill a dream of mine to attend the SheSpeaks conference in North Carolina.   (A gift I will cherish forever!)
  • Pray with the survivor.  Some days I was to weak to pray, but I coveted the times when someone would visit and pray with me, call on the phone and pray with me, or email me a prayer written for me. 
At every opportunity--celebrate!  Celebrate clean scans! Celebrate the half way point of chemo!  Celebrate the end of chemo!  Celebrate the end of radiation!  Celebrate any chance you can! 
Simple ways to celebrate are goofy hats or necklaces, bubbles, confetti, or special food treats.

Cancer treatment is really hard on the body both physically and emotionally. 
Some ideas:
  • Pretty hat or scarf (if they lose their hair)
  • Pretty and soft lounge wear
  • Message when treatment is completed
  • A gift certificate for "make over"  to be used a few months after treatment is completed.
  • Jojoba oil
When I was going through treatment, I felt as if my life was on hold, while everyone else was out having a good time.  I still cherish the times when someone would take the time to just sit with me.  Time is really a precious gift you can give someone.

If the cancer survivor has a spouse or children, try to remember them.  They often suffer along with their loved one.
  • One night a group of friends came to our home...the guys took my husband out for supper and the gals stayed and babysat me.  The evening was such a blessing to us both.
  • Another friend took my 13 year old daughter for a "beauty make over."  She delighted in a day of pampering.
  • If you can, give them gift cards to the movies, bowling, swimming, fast food and offer to sit with the cancer survivor (if needed.)
  • Please, please, please don't tell them about your Uncle Henry who puked his guts out when he was going through chemo.  Knowing this isn't going to help, it just increases fears.
  • Please, please, please don't tell them about so and so just dying from cancer.  Death from cancer is a reality.  We know that.  We live that.  We don't need anyone reminding us of this possibility.
  • Please don't tell me that cancer is a gift.  If you think it is gift, I can wrap it up and give it to you.
  • Please don't tell me that God must really love me as He gave me this burden to carry.  This goes against all my theological beliefs.  God loves me!  Period!  The previous statement makes me want to say, does that means He doesn't love you as much, because you didn't get cancer? 
  • I love you! 
  • You can do this! 
  • I believe in you! 
  • You are an inspiration! 
  • You are beautiful!
  • You are courageous! 
  • Can I pray with you?
  • God loves you!
  • God is with you every step!
  • God can carry you when you are too weak to walk on your own! 
  • I am here! 
  • I am proud of you! 
  • Keep it up, your doing a great job! 
  • How are you? (don't forget to stop and listen if you ask this question.) 
  • I am praying for you!  


My dream is to be able to walk beside other cancer survivors providing them
the love, hope and support that blessed me. 

If you are a survivor or have walked with this journey with someone, what tips can you share?






Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cancerversary part 1

In celebration of my two year cancerversary, I thought I would do a two day blog.  Today's entry will share bits and pieces of my experiences, blessings and thoughts through the cancer journey. Tomorrow's entry will be tips on supporting a cancer survivor.

Love:  Before cancer I equated love with service and works.  I couldn't believe a person could be loved for just "being."  Well, I am excited to say, it happens.  When I was my sickest and weakest, I felt and experienced such love from my family and friends.  Amazing to me, it didn't matter if I was able to cook supper or not, clean the house or not, or get groceries or not...many days, I just "sat."  It is within this "sitting" that I finally understood the love of God--He loves us, for just us, not for what we do!

Dreams:  Coming to the realization that a person has only one life with only so many days, gave me permission to rediscover dreaming.  Some of my dreams were buried deep and some are new developments coming from the cancer journey.  I had always wondered about writing, but too scared to put pen to paper.  Now, I am putting pen to paper, exploring and experimenting, trusting that if writing is something the Lord has in my future, He will show me the way.  A new and surprising dream has come from the cancer journey: it is a dream for the chance to walk with other cancer survivors through their treatment--to provide them hope, support and encouragement.  Both dreams are a work in progress and I am so excited to see how God works out the details.

New Friends:  I have met some wonderful people through this journey.  Friends that I might not have ever known had I not experienced cancer treatment.  Friends that understand the fears and hope.  Friends that will always have a special place in my heart.

Bloggersville:  I had no idea what blogging was...and all my new blogger friends have enriched my life in a very profound and remarkable way.

Kindness:  My family and I have been blessed with the kindness of many.  Also, I have learned to be kind to myself.  I find that I am not as hard on myself when I make a mess of things or make mistakes. 
Beauty:  There are some women who are naturally beautiful, this wouldn't be me.  I always described myself average...but something about being bald, without eyelashes, breastless and weak that helped me find that my beauty came from within....a gift that I will cherish (especially now that I have 'bad hair' days again.)

God:  My faith muscles had to be exercised a lot through this journey...allowing me to finish a race that on my own I would have lost.  It still amazes me when I think of God's love and provision.  It was when I physically broken, that I was spiritually healed. 
I am posting this knowing this blessing list is incomplete...but it is a start!

Thank you my friends for letting me share just a few of my many blessings of this journey!

How about you, what blessings have you found through a challenging journey?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hope Lives Now!

One of the things I love about bloggerville is the opportunity to meet others and read some really inspirational writing.  A few days ago I read a post by Elaine at Peace for the Journey that has challenged and altered some of my thinking.  Elaine states "I’m also a soul walking in solitude right now..."  What a beautiful statement!   Her words made me do a "stop and think."   To think about sitting in solitude with the Lord instead of being "sent to the couch".  How much more uplifting and positive was Elaine's statement than my thinking?? Her statement offers hope, mine sounds more like punishment. Hmmm....Perspective and attitude.

I admit when I realized how my attitude was not in line with God's perspective,  I went on a spiral downward into "no good thinking"?  Even though I celebrate with Elaine and am so inspired by her faithful walk,  I was left doubting my own walk.  Can you believe that I actually wondered if I "did" the cancer journey right?  I kept asking myself....Was I faithful enough?  Was I positive enough?  Did I encourage others on my walk?  Were they able to see God's light shining through my challenges? 

After beating myself up for a few days....and reading other inspiring blogs especially the one today by Lysa at Lysa TerKeurst ...I realized I was fiddling with foolishness.  Lysa's post reminded me we all have our own story.  There is no "right" way to do life or to experience the "cancer" journey.  All survivors have a past and we each have different circumstances that make up our walk. 

So, my story is what it is...and I believe a theme that has developed in my life from my cancer journey story:  Hope!   HOPE that no matter how dark the nights or how fearful the days, there is a very living and loving God walking with each one of us every single step. HOPE lives through us as we walk in faith! HOPE lives now in each one of us! 

If you have the time and want to be inspired check out Elaine's blog at Peace for the Journey or Lysa at Lysa TerKeurst

PS.  This week I cut back on all activities except for working 8-4....and it is helping my body heal...I actually went for 2 20 minute walks today.  So, I am planning on keeping the activities limited through the month of December, anticipating that in January I will be out sharing that "Hope lives now!"