From here to there

My “here”.  
Today, Tuesday, January 22.  
A devotional from Christine Caine mentions how we are always talking about getting from “here” to “there”.  On August 9, 2017, I began my journey with chemotherapy working towards my “there”.  And I made it.  My “there” place is being a survivor, cancer free, and feeling amazingly well! This “there” is a time that I often wondered if it would ever come.  And slowly it did.  I remember laying in the bed wondering if my hair would ever grow back.  (It is growing like crazy and the red is slowly starting to trickle in.)  After losing all of my toenails and some finger nails, I was sad at the thought that I may not ever get a pedicure again.  (I currently have all of my fingernails and toenails and paint them weekly as they are growing as well.)  And I often thought if I’d ever hear the words “you are finished”, or “you’re done”, or “that’s all”.  (Just a few weeks ago, my doctor pretty much told me that with a smile.)  And so other than being on a pill for five years that is a hormone replacement to help keep the cancer away from my body, I am finished with all treatments and surgery.  And that’s wonderful but yet kind of scary.  Scary?  Yes.  When you go from seeing a doctor or nurse VERY regularly, having people lay their eyes on you to check on you VERY often, having routine blood work done and read, etc., and then go to seeing them every few months!  It’s hard to get used to.  It’s like you’ve lost your best friend or an apron string being cut.  Faith takes on a whole new meaning.  I now have to trust that my body is well and I have ultimate faith that my body is whole again.  And so this allows me to live each day to the fullest, never taking for granted the feeling of feeling good.  So that’s my new “here”.   I am standing in this “here” place that just 18 months ago was a “there” that I longed for.  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord.  God is so good.  I can truly say to others that are just beginning this battle, that there is hope.  Their “there” will come and one day they’ll be able to reflect on the steps they have taken, the hard, miserable times where they’ve wanted to give up, and realize what got them “there”. God.  His faithfulness during the troubled times.  
A day doesn’t go by that I don’t thank Him for His grace, His unconditional love through my journey, and for allowing me another day to be a mommy, a wife, a daughter, and a friend.  My new favorite song is Michael W. Smith’s “Surrounded by You”.  If you’ve heard it, you know how repetitive it is and oh so powerful.  Whenever I’m feeling down or having a pity party for myself, I sing the words of that song.  “For the spirit of heaviness, put on the garment of praise.  This is how we fight our battles.  This is how I fight my battle.  This is how I fight my battle.  It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you.”   I can face the day and obstacles that come with strength and courage because of His promise.  So if I’m not singing this, I’m praying and let me say that my prayer life has changed a lot.  I find myself in prayer many times throughout the day, and in tears a lot with gratefulness. 
This week I started physical therapy for some pain that I’m having at my surgery site.  My therapist was so nice and we just clicked the moment I met her. Clemson fans, same age, both moms, and more…  Honestly, I was somewhat dreading going in on such a cold morning when I could’ve stayed at home since it was a holiday.  My pain isn’t terrible and it isn’t really keeping me from doing much but I want to stay on top of it before it does get super uncomfortable.  After talking and laughing about lots of things, she told me that she was glad that I was her patient.  Yesterday was 21 years ago since her daddy died.  As she shared her story, you could see the sadness in her eyes as she misses him terribly.   And so on a sad day, she thanked me for helping bring some sunshine into the facility.  Y’all!  That should be our goal daily.  Smile, say a kind word, and help others.  We just never know what people are going through or the day they may be having.  Going into any hospital never gives me a “feel good” feeling but leaving there yesterday, I thanked Him for giving me just that.   I felt good.  I felt like I had made a new best friend and I truly know that God placed her in my path, and I in hers.  
My year mark is approaching for my surgery date.  I often think back on what was going through my mind this time last year as I was still living with cancer.  I worked so hard making plans for my students so that they wouldn’t miss a beat while I was gone.  I remember the fear that took over many days.  And now as the one year anniversary of the mastectomy is around the corner, I can smile, knowing that I am healed.  Just in the last few weeks, I have been in contact or heard about many ladies that have just been diagnosed and are in the stage of total fear and disbelief.  My heart breaks for them as I vividly remember being in their shoes.  It truly is the worst day of your life to be told that you have cancer.  And it’s the hardest thing to tell your family and friends too.  
So if you know of anyone that would benefit from a cancer support group, please let them know about our upcoming event on Thursday, February 7th at Fountain Inn First Baptist.  And guess what that day is?  The anniversary of my surgery.  God winked when that happened, I’m sure.  
Psalm 37:23 says “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.” That’s just what we’ll do each Thursday when we meet. Delight in Him, worship Him, pray to Him, all while making strides towards ultimate healing.   We hope to provide opportunities for sharing, give resources/assistance information, and encouraging prayer partnerships for those with similar situations.  
Once again, I’m thankful that God brought me from where I was to where I am now.  My here that was my there.  Healthy, thriving, and sharing Hope through our Savior.

“My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.”  Psalm 28:7


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