I remember when I was newly diagnosed and I got something in the mail from relay for life. At the time, their slogan was "Creating a world with more birthdays." I got a towel that even had that phrase on it. I remember sitting on Josh's old bed (we lived with his parents while our house was being built), and it hitting me for the first time- how many more birthdays would I have? This was scary to contemplate and very thought provoking for me. I of course was believing that I would have many, many more, but it was in that moment and time since then that I have contemplated what birthdays truly are. They are not merely a celebration or a party, but they are a marker. A milestone. Another year to live on this earth. To have your life threatened and by doctor's terms possibly not having many more birthdays...pretty overwhelming. So, needless to say, birthdays now have an entirely different meaning to me. Indeed a day where I am reminded of God's grace...giving me another year to live on this earth. There will be tons of birthdays in my future. How I celebrate my birthday, my husband's birthday, my future children's birthdays will be much different. And, for that I am thankful. Happy birthday to me! Thank you Father God!
Psalm 91:16 "With long life I will satisfy him and so him my salvation."
Yes, I am 26, as of June 9th! I had the best birthday yet, as my husband spoiled me. We also celebrated with friends and family. Last year at this time, we were living in Houston as I was receiving radiation for 6 weeks. My skin was starting to really itch and burn, and my nails and toenails were starting to grow back. I had marker written all over my chest and my hair had really started growing back. We LOVED our time in Houston. We loved spending quality time with our second family and we had so much time together. Outside of the radiation, it was a wonderful 6 weeks. I truly cannot believe it has been a year since then. I look differently; I feel differently; I am different. I pray I continue to grow and change. Closer to Christ as each year of my life passes.
Here is a picture of my nails during treatment and now. I remember them hurting so badly. It is truly the little things...
It's funny because girls my age are already discussing the dislike of getting older. Of course, it's not fun thinking about wrinkles, gray hair, and the inevitability of signs of aging, but my perspective has completely changed after all I've been through. Signs of old age are simply that- signs of old age! I want those signs...proof that I have lived many years!!! I know I may sound radical, but with every wrinkle or sign of old age, I am determined to thank God for allowing me to see those signs. Don't get me wrong, I am human and I will take care of myself, but I am not scared or fret being older. I honestly cannot wait to get there. I wish I was posting that I was 36- that would mean I was almost 12 years from my diagnosis....but I know God wants to walk with me through the "scary" times. I keep reminding myself, this is giving me character, perseverance, HOPE!
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hopedoes not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
So, I am less than 2 weeks away from my reconstructive surgery. I will also head to Houston on Tuesday, as I have my check up appointments on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Please, please, please pray that all of my tests and bloodwork come back perfectly. I will have an X-ray and an ultrasound done, and of course get anxious about these. Please lift me up. I will be meeting with my radiation doctor (Dr. Strom) to look at my skin and X-ray on Wednesday, and then will meet with my surgical oncologist (Dr. Babiera) on Thursday to go over my ultrasound and for her to look how everything is healing. I haven't seen Dr. Babiera in a year. She was the doctor who performed my mastectomy, so she will be reviewing the ultrasound to make sure everything still looks good. I pray and believe it will be in Jesus' name. Needless to say, I will have much relief after my appointments on Thursday once I know that everything is clear once again!
We have been enjoying our summer and I have been working on my dissertation. I am making progress and it looks like I will be able to propose my dissertation very soon. I am so thankful and excited to get a huge first step of the dissertation process done with! The earliest I can graduate is next May and I am determined to do just that. This depends on me finishing my dissertation requirements by then, so that is why I am working so hard. The end is in sight:)
Thank you all for continuing to pray for my back/hips. It is much better and I am so thankful. Dr. Steffins at Healthsource Chiropractic, Glenn Guilbeau and Monroe Physical Therapy, and Troy Shows at Shows Therapy has helped me immensely. It is so easy when you are in pain to get stuck in a dark tunnel, where it seems like things will never get better. Because of these men and their giftedness, God has shown me relief. Thank you Lord! I still have my bad days, but to have relief has been a huge answered prayer. Thank you for being faithful in praying for me. Please continue to pray for my pain. Thankful to share my burdens...
Galatians 6:2 "Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ."
I will make sure and update before my surgery next Friday and once I get my good test results this week. Thank you for continuing to be involved in my life and remembering me when things seem "calm." I have days where I feel normal, and then days where I feel like it is hard to breathe. Days that I remember what I've been through. Days I'm in pain. Days where I get so scared I can't move. I relate with David, a man after God's own heart. Here is what David normally did when he was desperate for God, and these are steps that I try to follow:
1.) Pray 2.) Cry aloud 3.) Pour out complaint 4.) Rehearse trust in God 5.) Long for God's presence 6.) Confess desperate need for Him.
Like David, I strive to pour out my heart to God, but through it all, I continue to confirm my trust in Him and depend on Him for every breath I take.
Thankful to be growing older,