Blizzard Warning, Winter Storm Warning,
Ice Storm Warning, Flood Warning!
Welcome to life in South Dakota. (Yes, we had all four of these warnings at the same time yesterday.) This morning as I sat with God, a cup of hot coffee and my thoughts, I reflected on how the weather seasons compare so similarly to the cancer journey.
Do you remember the long days of summer from your childhood? When the only things on the “to-do” list were swimming and lying in the sun. Or the days of eating cotton candy at the county fair? Or the days of gathering the neighborhood kids for a game of baseball? Like longing for the summer days of yesteryear, there are times I find myself yearning for the days before cancer. How often I wish for days of no pain, no fatigue, no hot flashes and no fear. When I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 40, I was in the summer of my life. With only one child still at home, my husband and I were enjoying reconnecting as a couple. I had started a new job, along with joining a new church. I was starting to unearth some long buried dreams. When suddenly, like a destructive thunderstorm, I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. As my family and I found ourselves cleaning up from this unexpected storm, our trust and comfort came from the Lord.
Autumn Days.With a treatment plan in place, I began the autumn season. Like the trees preparing for winter, my body was preparing for battle. Did you know that as the days get shorter a chemical change is triggered in trees? Not only does this change stop the tree from growing, it starts moving all of its energy down to the root system. As this process happens, the leaves change color and fall from the tree. So, like the trees losing their leaves, I lost my breast, my hair, and my energy. Along with my outward physical changes, I was experiencing an inward spiritual transformation. Being rooted in God’s word provided me comfort and hope.
Winter days.The season after treatment ends and before your new life begins. Although I am still struggling through some physical discomforts in this season, for the most part, I am doing very well. (However please note, that 25% of cancer survivors find themselves facing darkness during the days of winter. My prayer is that we can all help provide support to each other through all the seasons.) The last few weeks have found me busy preparing and actively involved with many things, so I was a bit surprised to receive a special weather bulletin just for me: Winter Storm Warning! Slow down icy roads. Hmmmm… Here I was thinking my winter was almost over. Unfortunately, in my busy days of preparing for spring, I had slowly forgotten to feed my roots. Thankfully, I got a “stop and think”…or maybe it should be called a “stop and seek?”
Spring days.Spring is a time of renewal and a time to come out of hibernation. It is often the season that brings us the most hope! It is a time of new beginnings and a time of birth. The last two years, I feel I have missed the renewal of the spring season…instead; I was still struggling through the effects of the treatment that helped save my life. As I “stop and seek” in preparation of this spring season, I have been reminded that God has a glorious plan in place us all.
Even though I would love to have days without the pain, fatigue and other side effects of cancer treatment, I wouldn’t give up one day in any of my seasons, if it meant giving up the lessons and blessings!
- The blessings of knowing, trusting and believing God is with us in every season.
- The blessing of sharing love and time with my husband, children, family and friends.
- The blessing of deeper and richer relationships with loved ones.
- The blessing of seeing love in action through the care and support provided to my family and I.
- The new friends I walk with on this cancer journey.
- The blessing of the opportunity to provide hope and encouragement to others who find themselves on this walk.
- The blessing to have the opportunity of living a life of no regrets!
Please remember that whatever season of life you are enjoying (or struggling through), there is a God in Heaven walking with you every day!