The 2-year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis is quickly approaching. Technically, I’ve been cancer-free since my surgery in 2014, but I have only been cancer-free, on paper, since February of this year. Having a test result saying there is “No Evidence of Disease” (NED) was like breaking through the tape at the end of a grueling marathon. It’s done, it’s over, and you can breathe easy and relax.
However, in my head, my belief in my “no cancer” diagnosis comes and goes with each new ache and pain that hangs on for too long. The chance that my cancer will show up again somewhere else in my body is a forever possibility, and faced with this reality I have two choices: give into a crippling fear, or live with my eyes continuously on Jesus.
In all honesty right now I can only imagine the latter, but the crippling fear creeps in every now and then. However, when I allow the ‘what-ifs’ to collect in my brain Dave reminds me that I am alive and that is what matters! I have a hope for tomorrow that is born of gratefulness for today, and gratefulness for today comes by the grace of God.
James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance and perseverance must complete its work if you are to be mature and complete not lacking anything.
Pure joy seems like an impossibility when faced with the trials of cancer but by the grace of God I can always find the silver lining to every cloud.
I may have some unsightly scars, but I’m thankful for the skilled surgeon who cared about what I would look like. I have a “fat arm” as one side-effect of treatment, but am thankful for the cumbersome arm pump that is a crutch for my lymph system. I’m on medication for the next 10 years and even though I don’t like how it makes me feel, I am thankful that I have a long term treatment plan.
Radiation has irreparably damaged my skin and will continue to for years to come but I am thankful for the technology that killed the cancer cells. And the hot flashes, well, I haven’t found a reason to be thankful for those yet but maybe… someday.
When I dwell on all the reasons I have to be grateful and joyful, there is little room left for fear. God knows the future He has for me and that security is the silver lining to everything.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9
Today Dave and I planted a small, slow-growing, Japanese maple. Will I be here to enjoy its beauty when it is big enough to give shade? Only God has the answer to that but I will choose to keep on just living the thing with a hope for the future that only Christ can give.