My cancer was a surprise.
To my doctors.
And certainly to me.
Very rare.....slow growing.
Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma.
A 50/50 chance.
It will come back.
Even many years down the road.
That's how it behaves.
It was always on my mind.
Understandable, I guess.
I read everything I could lay my hands on.
But after a while.
I didn't live under the constant thought of it anymore.
Ten years later.
Was check up time again.
Cancer survivors know this day well.
Just in case you get a little too comfortable.
Or your life moves too far ahead.
Its back to the hospital.
For CT scan.
The watchful stuff.
My cancer protocol.
This brings it all back.
My annual reality check.
Cancer is front and center again.
Not to be forgotten.
Not to be denied.
Wait to see if once again.
I get the all clear.
In an effort.
To throw some healthy balance back into the mix.
I'm shifting the focus.
Away from the waiting.
To something more worthwhile.
Something I can share with you.
What cancer has given me.
These last ten years.
1. I've learned to get on with my life.
There always seemed to be an endless supply of life ahead of me.
That was a lie, of course.
But when I believed it was true.
I got into the practice of "putting things off."
Even things I really wanted to do.
Cancer gave me a definitive way of looking at my time here.
And once I looked at it.
I became intentional about doing what was important to me.
And lived my life with a little more urgency.
Cancer helped me to get on with my life.
2. I developed a healthier relationship with fear.
Fear enjoyed many years of success over me.
Just as it does now with some of you.
I don't think I ever fully understood.
That fear had become for me.
Keeping me bound.
Keeping me from living the life I always wanted for myself.
Keeping me from the living the life Jesus wanted for me.
All impossible to enjoy along side of fear.
Redefined fear for me.
And for that.
It's not the small stuff I fear anymore.
Tackling a home renovation project.
Flying to the other side of the world.
Wondering what people might think of me.
Oh, it still tries to whisper over me from time to time.
But, thankfully, not with the same effectiveness.
I grew less fearful because of my cancer.
And anytime you have less fear.
You have more life.
That was a huge realization for me.
3. Cancer gave me perspective.
Scripture talks about difficulty having a refining influence on our lives.
That was true for me.
Walking through and surviving cancer was empowering for me.
I learned a lot about myself.
Mostly, that I was stronger than I thought.
Because of cancer,
I became more seasoned.
Cancer gave me a healthier perspective.
4. Cancer gave me an opportunity to trust.
To depend on Him.
During those days and weeks and months after my diagnosis.
Especially when my prognosis wasn't fully known.
I sought Him.
I prayed to Him.
With everything in me.
And I found.
Not just peace.
That whatever happened.
I would be okay.
Cancer gave me a unique opportunity to see Him.
And I saw His love.
His presence with me.
My trust had a chance to grow.
In a way it never would have grown.
5. Cancer deepened my love for my husband.
It made me acutely aware of the time we have together.
And however long it is.
It will never be enough.
He's my very best friend.
I know that I'm blessed.
That cancer strengthened our friendship.
And reminded us so bluntly.
Not to have any regrets.
While I wait today.
I'm reminded of friends.
On a much more deadly road than mine.
Just starting out.
It takes time.
And some distance.
To look back and see where we've been.
And figure out what we've learned from cancer.
All of us wrestle it out.
In our own way.
I stand at today's milestone.
With much gratitude.
(I never want to waste a hard lesson.)
What cancer gave me.