May 26

How can I possibly thank you for the way you have encouraged my soul, lifted my spirits, and made me feel loved?

I am convinced that no one going through a battle with cancer has ever been more loved, more supported, or had more cheering warriors on her side.

You impress me with the perfect words of encouragement, the perfect reminders to my heart of TRUTH.

And now a major character flaw of mine has been exposed: impatience. Have you noticed when I speak of the gifts of the Holy Spirit I stop after love, joy, and peace? Though I’ve done so subconsciously, it is highly likely that that is due to the fact that He still has a lot of cultivating to do in me in order to develop this particular fruit. I am most definitely a work in progress on the patience front.

How fitting that the post that came immediately after the “grumbling” one was full of grumbling. Father, forgive me. I am a sinner and am ever thankful for your grace and mercies that are new every morning.

I met with my doctor on Tuesday. The explanation of the “mixed response” to chemo drugs was fairly complicated, but I will try to summarize:

Basically, all the cancer cells in my body are not the same. The majority of the cells it seems has responded very well to the first line of attack – the chemo combo called “FOLFIRI.” However, there were some areas, masses, that had slightlygrown because those particular cells are resistant to the FOLFIRI. This is apparently a fairly common occurrence in the practice of oncology, for many different kinds of cancers, and the doctor repeatedly said, “This is not catastrophic; this is not the wheels coming off.” He said it just seems to be the time to change drugs to see if the second line of attack – FOLFOX – might be more effective at this point, especially against those resistant cells. He also said he plans to consult with Dr. Berlin at Vanderbilt about the wisdom of this change in treatment, something which I’d planned to ask him to do but he volunteered before I even asked.

The good news is that he also wanted me to have a two week break from chemotherapy treatment. So BOY OH BOY am I planning to SAVOR these next two weeks!

My dear mom called me and told me this on Monday afternoon (before I’d talked to the doctor): “Maybe this is a merciful act of God – maybe He knew you needed a break from treatment and this is how He’s worked it out to give it to you.” WISDOM.

As we left the doctor’s office and I told Brian, “I feel much better now. Do you?”, my dear rock of a husband said this: “Well, I wasn’t worried anyway. I didn’t feel bad about yesterday’s news.” Thank you God for this rock of a man.

When I’d called him at work, in tears, on Monday, he said, “Sara, just because the cancer is not all gone now doesn’t mean it won’t be someday.” FAITH.

You see, I’d gotten complacent. I’d started looking ahead and forgetting the wise words of Jesus: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I’d started to imagine scenarios instead of being thankful for the blessing of TODAY. I’d forgotten that God is already taking care of tomorrow. I’d forgotten that I have no down side here: either I get to live with my boys (all 3 of them!) here on earth, or I go to a better place, full of family and friends who’ve gone on ahead, and with my Jesus.

Thank you for reminding me. Thank you for loving me. I think it probably sounds cheesy to say this, but my heart is so full of love for each of you that it literally feels as if it will burst. I am so blessed.

For those close friends who have seen me in person and hugged me, spoken words of hope, sent me private messages – you know who you are – I love you beyond what words can describe. I don’t even feel that I “see” your outside anymore, your physical body, but instead I see your beautiful souls, your beautiful hearts, and they are connected to mine with a seemingly tangible tight cord that is unbreakable. I am so blessed.

And I hope it goes without saying, but this little church-of-christer is equally blessed by the love and support from all you Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, and so on. For all who are in Jesus are One. God knows those who are His, and I believe God’s people worship Him in a variety of ways and a variety of buildings. What unites us is so much more central than what divides us: our Lord Jesus Christ and our need for Him. I am glad to call you family.

What I’m trying to say is thank you. And those two words seem so inadequate. I truly love you. The Holy Spirit has used you to restore my hope, my trust, my thanksgiving, my PEACE. I feel guilty for making many of you hurt with and for me because of my overreaction and impatience. I’m sorry. I’m a work in progress.

Know what I’m looking forward to about heaven today?  Getting to sit down and spend as much “time” with each of you as we want! How grand that will be!

– Your Sara

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