A year ago this month, I was given a ned status, no evidence of disease. I have come to know that this means that there is no evidence of cancer in your body at this time. It could be there, but the cancer is so small that it cannot be detected. It could be gone for today, and still come back in the future.
What I know today is that I have ovarian cancer. It is small, but it is there. At my last appointment, my oncologist stated that my cancer is stabilized…no bigger, no smaller. This report is based upon my last scan. I had another treatment this past May 17. It was par for the course, and with the help of my devoted “care team,” I came out okay. I am scheduled to have another scan on June 7.
It is strange to have this bit of information. What do you do with it…really? Cancer is not something I can will away. I cannot change my diet, exercise plan, or other habits to rid myself of this disease. Yes, I can follow treatment protocols, research options, adhere to healthy lifestyle habits; Yet, I am completely powerless. This is really true of all of us, but I think that some of us are put in situations which bring this reality front and center. What can I do about it? Live! I can live in hope and faith, and in the calling of my Lord.
1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. I am empowered by my God.
Also, a year ago this month, Gordon took a new job. This position was better for our family for a number of reasons, but it meant we would have to move. Well, okay. A tough decision, but the “timing” seemed right. We were in between school years, no evidence of my cancer, etc. etc….we were all a go! Sell the house, pack our bags, buy a new house, re-enroll in schools…it was just a matter of completing the checklist. I am very good at this, or so I thought.
Month after month that followed led to unforeseen incidents and challenges. The house didn’t sell, my cancer came back, Gordon’s job had challenges. Was it that we weren’t to go after all? We paused, questioned. We were patient. But as time pressed on, we felt also pressed to make a decision. What do we do? We were afraid of the “what ifs?” My faith was rocked, my foundation was threatened, and my footing felt shaky. Usually through prayer, I am able to believe and be patient. I can continue to take the next indicated step and know that God’s will for me will slowly unfold if I remain faithful and steady. But there was so much to contend with. It is hard when things pile up. Which direction do I turn? What is the right decision, for me? for us? for our family? There are others to consider, and options to weigh in. We stacked each piece of evidence in an effort to make the best decision. Gordon’s work was growing and improving, our house sold, my cancer stabilized. Ok so we go? Gordon and I found ourselves trying to predict the future, attempting to “control” the circumstances. What hit me so hard this time was that I had nothing. I lost perspective. I lost sight of God in my life. I thought I could work hard, accomplish a lot, reach an outcome, and pat myself on the back. Not this time. I had nothing. There was too much to overcome, and I was stuck.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Friends, family and professionals had conflicting opinions as to what we should do. We had NO “earthly” evidence of confirmation. We prayed and discerned that we should move..yes a leap of faith. We will rent a house until we can be sure what to buy and where. On Friday, I met Gordon in the Franklin area to look at available rental houses. Our real estate agent in Memphis (one of our many angels), Robin, had introduced us to an agent in Franklin, Gwen (a newly found angel). We will find a house, the next indicated step. The first house was okay…yes a possibility but somewhat disappointing. (Remember that I LOVE our house in Memphis). The second house was much more charming. We actually met the family at the door, and they remained with us during the showing. They were a delightful family (mom, dad, 3 beautiful children).
This story gets a little long…but each detail means so much that I want to share it.
As we went about the house, we shared bits of our stories with one another. Asking when the house would be available…we discovered that the family would be leaving on June 7; and after some minor repairs the house would be available within the next week. #1: We close on the 19th, and must be out by the 21st. The youngest daughter led me to her room, and we talked about her stuffed animals. #2: She picked one up and informed me that it was named Emma Kate. As the mom, daughter and I joined Gordon in the hallway, Gordon excitedly told me that the dad was going to JH Ranch this week. #3 This is the camp where Jack and I are going the same week in June. As we marveled in the coincidences, I shared my cancer struggle and that Jack and I were gifted with the trip by my sister in law. It then became obvious that the mom was flying out on the 7th, to go to JH Ranch. #4 The parents have worked at JH for the past 7 summers, and are spiritual leaders during the season, and perform as musicians. #5 The house is in our price range and located in a desired site for schools, etc. #6 The dad called the leasing agent and requested that he waive the pet restriction, allowing us to bring our dogs. #7 As we prepared to leave, we all gathered on the back porch, and the couple prayed over me and Gordon…that our move would come without stress or adversity, and that I would be healed entirely of this darned cancer.
The entire experience was so overwhelming. On two occasions, I could not contain my tears as I felt drenched in God’s mercy and blessing, having put us in the community of this family. All of us teared up, even Gwen. The connections continued as I learned that the dad grew up in Montgomery, AL (I was born in Montgomery, AL). The mom’s best friend just completed chemo for breast cancer, and she felt we would have a lot to share in support of one another.
Needless to say, we asked to rent the house and made plans to sign the papers the Tuesday after the holiday weekend. If there are no unforeseen glitches, we will rent this house for at least a year.
Well there is already one glitch. We cannot take our cat. This is VERY disheartening to me because she has been in our family for 12 years. She was a rescue from our neighborhood in Cooper Young. We are not huge cat lovers, but I personally have loved this sweet precious kitty for these many years. It is with a heavy and sad heart that I ask for your help, in putting out the word. We need a home for our sweet Shadow kitty. Time is short because we have to be out in a month. If you, or if you know anyone, please speak up soon.
And now I will close, but will keep you posted. I start camp with the children on Monday. Jack and I leave for JH on June 8. There is so much to share but this is enough, and more, for now.
I love all of you so much!! Thanks for your prayers and support.