Look and See

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My favorite part of this Breast Cancer Journey, is the people God has placed in my path. Friends I’ve had for years, and new ones, love on me. I salute all you Beautiful Souls that give us care in the Cancer Centers. You make a difference in peoples lives every single day.

I don’t know where you are in your journey. Mine is nearing the finish line, and God is finishing up with a bang! There is one thing He drilled home quick. “It’s not about me.” I always love hearing that. “This is not about YOU Barbara.” No God. It’s about the journey.

Try not to rush the journey lovely. One day it will be over, and you will want to look back at everything you learned. If you are pushing yourself through, you are missing all the beauty.

You might be wondering, “What beauty?” Oh love, the beauty is YOU.

When your hair starts to fall out, go ahead and shave it off. You don’t need it, and I love feeling the air touch my naked scalp.

I tried to hide it in the beginning with scarves, but living in Texas that was too hot and itchy for me. I pulled up my big girl panties, and walked outside with a bald head. At that point, I stopped worrying what other people think.

I told myself in the beginning, I was wearing the scarf for them. Didn’t want to shock them seeing a bald headed woman in public.

Well honey, if you think that will shock them, you aren’t on Goggle enough. There are a lot of things more shocking than a bald head. It’s actually an exhilarating and freeing part of the journey when your eyes aren’t hiding anymore.

This entire journey involves a lot of waiting, and a lot of the unknown. Get good with that.

It would be very stressful to face every stage of the journey, and bulldoze my way through. That would be ME making it happen as quickly as possible, and not giving God a chance to work. Running on the fear of it all, and not resting in His peace. I had to take a lot of my old behaviors, and flush them down the toilet for this. I wasn’t going to rush anyone, including me.

When people asked about my hairless head, I would tell them I didn’t have a choice. It was done for me. This usually opened a door for me to share how extraordinary this has been. This has been an amazing journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. My God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. He will do the same for you, if you look and see.

When Worry Assails

Many of my daily devotionals recently have been about trusting God. It’s not so hard to trust Him, but to lay your life at His feet, and to trust Him completely with the outcome.

I’m still working on that.

Looking back over my life some rather large mountains have been removed. Things happened that I had no control over, and I worried how to get through. Worrying about the future. It’s human nature to visualize ourselves coping badly in those situations.

It’s my nature to devise a plan, and fix it, but that is not including God. I’d rather have God lead.

He is the master fixer of my life. My life is very simple today, and I don’t stir things up like I used to. When a situation presents itself, I know it’s going to be an opportunity for God to show up, and show off. I will need to stay out of it, and respond as little as possible. The most recent being my Breast Cancer Journey.

Sitting here this morning, pondering my appointment with the Radiologist this afternoon, thinking my journey would be over by now. Having the lumpectomy a few weeks ago, and the Cancer being removed, we should be done.

Obviously not, or I wouldn’t be sitting here dreading my appointment! This is me worrying about the path ahead, and not including God.

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A dear friend sent me this earlier this week. She knew nothing of my upcoming appointment, so I’m sure it was God prompting her to send it. It brought the whole Breast Cancer Journey back into view.

‘You are living through a major expansion of your faith’, describes this journey perfectly. I’m uncomfortable, but that is okay today.

I told everyone that would listen that I didn’t want radiation. In my mind, after the surgery, I was done. It sounded good, but I must keep walking through open doors.

When I told my surgeon I didn’t want radiation, she gasped, looked at me and said, “Barbara. How can you come this far, and not finish the journey? This is the last leg of the path!”

Thanks to Chemo, I am not afraid of this path.

Chemo could have easily been the worst thing I’ve ever been through, but God was there. Chemo was a dark, and lonely path, but it could have been so much worse than it was. I wasn’t sick during it, and the only side effect I really had was the extreme fatigue. It knocked the wind out of me for three days.

I didn’t write much during those dark days, as friends tried their best to encourage me.

They would say, “You’re so brave”, and “You kicked Cancer’s butt”. Oh no darlings. My body was curled up in a fetal position in the middle of my bed, and I was gazing out the bedroom window depending on God to get me through it.

He did, and He will continue to do so. Radiation may look like an inconvenience to me, but it’s really an opportunity to be used by God. What I wanted to be complete, is obvious today, that’s it’s only a curve in the path.

After the Storm

I have a bowl of candy corn sitting on the dining room table. When I wake up, I eventually make my way to that bowl and eat a piece. I don’t buy it year round, or stock up at the end of the season. It’s one of life’s little pleasures for me that I wait for and enjoy while it’s here.

As I’m typing this, the sky is just starting to get light. I sat outside in the porch swing this morning at 5 am. It was dark, quiet, and cold to me. That is how you know a new season is coming in Texas. You put on jeans and a flannel to sit outside, instead of shorts and a tank.

Even though it was dark, I knew it was a new day. In time, the sky would turn blue, and there would be color coming over the horizon. It won’t stay quiet because all God’s creatures will begin announcing the new day. I love sitting and listening to the quiet.

How do you know there is a new season coming over the horizon in your life?

You can feel it.

Just like the change in air temperature this morning on my skin, I can feel a new season is approaching. My last Chemo was a week ago, so thank God that is over. As I sat in the porch swing this morning, my mind was showing me snippets of myself from this year. There was a time not so long ago, the pain in my breast would wake me up and I would sit outside.

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Once I went to the doctor, and received my diagnosis of Breast Cancer, the pain subsided. There has been no more pain, but to get me to the doctor, God used that pain. To get me on this path of healing, there was pain involved.

Maybe you are going through something painful right now. Let me encourage you to surrender to that pain, and trust that God has a plan.

My mind showed me pictures of sitting in the Chemo chair. Sixteen times at least, and each time took three to five hours. There was one time, my body had an allergic reaction to one of the premeds. They had to unplug me from that, and give me meds for the reaction, and start all over again.

That day I closed the place down, and sat in the Chemo chair for eight hours.

As you can imagine, the first lesson I learned was how to sit still. I’ve never been good at it. Oh, I could sit still if it was my choice, but to sit still with no choice was very hard for me.

After I came home full of Chemo, my body would just shut down. It would lay in bed for days, and not want to move. I had to tell it what to do. Drink water, and go pee. Sit up and eat something. Three days was as long as I could go without a shower. Just standing in the shower was a major feat. I had to teach my body every week what to do to stay on this path.

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So, what about the heart?

God showed me this week I have closed my heart off as to protect it. My body has been in survival mode for months, so it would seem, my heart followed suit.

Just like teaching my body that everything’s going to be okay, I had to tell my heart this morning too. I could feel the hardness melt away, and it open up again. I can feel it beating.

The storm will cause us to hit the pause button on our life, and just try to survive. I am not the same person physically, mentally, or spiritually after Chemo. I believe I am better, and will continue to grow.

We can either sit in the darkness, usually alone, or wait patiently for it to be light. Today I can feel the warmth of the light not only on my skin, but also in my heart.