I will never forget hearing those words, “YOU HAVE CANCER!” What a shock! I was minding my own business, enjoying my life, when out of the blue, cancer rudely invaded my life. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare! It’s the three words no one ever wants to hear!
That first year was exhausting in every way. I had to go through many pre-op tests, including an EKG and a chest x-ray and numerous rounds of blood work before a seven hour operation to have my entire thyroid removed. A week later, I returned back to the doctor to hear the surgical pathology report. The cancer had spread into my lymph nodes. I was drained physically and emotionally from the surgery, but the next step was that I had to go on the low iodine diet to prepare me for the radioactive iodine treatment, After the treatment, I had to be isolated from my family for two weeks to prevent anyone from coming into contact with the radiation. I was extremely sick from the treatment. It was the weakest time of my life, and I was isolated from all friends and family, and it was Christmas time! After going through the treatment, I had to have my thyroid medication adjusted and readjusted numerous times and go back to the endocrinologist and oncologist every few months to make sure that the cancer was not returning. It was an arduous journey. My doctor told me that it usually takes a good year to recuperate from just the surgery, alone. As I look back, I will never know how I got through that first year, except by the hand of God. The famous Footprints poem came alive to me during that time and had more meaning than ever. I realized that God was carrying me when I couldn’t do it in my own strength. Once I reached the first year, little did I know that I would have to be prepared for the same protocol all over again, to help prevent a cancer recurrence. Talk about tired!!! Cancer is definitely not for wimps!!!
Well….I did make it through that first year and before I knew it, I had to go through the low iodine diet all over again and go off of my thyroid meds to become totally hypothyroid. I don’t know if you have ever had any thyroid trouble or not, but I will shout it to the whole world, “You really need your thyroid medicine!” I have never been so weak and tired in my life. I wasn’t thinking clearly at all. I was exhausted, gaining weight, and my mind was fuzzy. I couldn’t see well. I was pale. My eyes were puffy and I didn’t have the energy to barely pick one foot up in front of the other one. As I was drifting through this time to be prepared for the body scan, the scriptures came alive to me. Nothing else made sense, but now I know what the bible means when it says that when we are weak, He is strong. This is so very true.
As the day arrived for the body scan, they were preparing me for another treatment. They said it wasn’t unlikely for me to have a recurrence, because of the size of the tumors, my age, and that it had spread into my lymph nodes. I am very claustrophobic, so the nurses put a towel over my eyes as I lie there still in the body scan with my arms at my sides. I could hear the body scan ticking slowly as it started at my head, and, slowly, made its way down through my entire body. This is such a sobering experience, knowing that machine had the power to tell my destiny.
Something happened to me that day that I will never forget! God met me at my lowest moment in that body scan. His presence just enveloped me. I had been through this body scan a year prior and this was an entirely different experience. I saw the brightest light that I could never describe in human words, its brilliance. It was a dazzling light that just pierced through my entire being. It was as if every scripture came alive to me and just washed over my body, mind and spirit. The love of God came over me so strong and I had never felt such peace. It was as if God did something for me in that body scan that no doctor could have ever done. From that day on, I have never been the same since. I couldn’t even talk about it without crying for quite awhile, at just the awesome presence of God, as He reached down and touched me at the weakest moment of my life. That’s just Who He is! He is always a very present help in our times of trouble. He has changed my life completely and now, I can’t wait to share this same hope with everyone that I meet. As soon as the body scan ended, I was directed to a room to wait on the results of the body scan by the nuclear medicine doctor. Not long after, the doctor pointed up to my results. He said, “This is a perfectly clean scan! There is no sign of a recurrence anywhere in your body!” I already knew this to be true because of the dazzling light that was still such a part of me. How could it have been anything else?! I am so thankful that God met me there that day. I have been cancer free ever since. Our God surely is a healer!!!
Can you relate to this? Are you tired today? Do you wonder how you will have the strength to make it one more day? Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just try to get through today. When this day is over, God will give you a fresh new supply of strength for the next day when you need it. He will never fail you. God promises that if you will wait upon him, he will renew your strength. When you come to that place when God is the only answer, when you are flat on your back, the only way to look is up! Sometimes, you have to get alone with God. Just you and him. He will meet you there at your deepest need. You have to get alone with him until you’re not alone anymore. He is a personal God. He loves you so much and He wants to pour his healing balm of Gilead into your deepest wounds. He is not just the God of congregations, but of the individual.
He is never too far away to hear the faintest cry. Cry out to Him today. He is closer than you think.
Can you feel your strength rising? When you are weak, He is your strength. We’re talking about a big God. He is the God Who spreads out the northern skies over empty space, and suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the water in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. He gives orders to the morning and shows dawn its place.
This God of ours can do it! Nothing is ever too hard for Him. He is your anchor of hope. He is faithful and true to His word. He is the light in the dark and healing for the broken heart. He is life and he is light. Rest tonight, my friend, because tomorrow is a brand new day. You will wake with renewed strength! This, you can count on!!! All of his promises are Yes and Amen. He is the Glory and Lifter of your head. He can carry you until you can stand on your own once again.
I love you guys!
Psalm 84: 5-7
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baca (tears) they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.