Yesterday's post was "fluff" if you please. Today's is more serious. I guess you could call it "deadly serious".
Unless you've been following my blog for awhile, you may be unaware of the following:
1) I'm a lot older than most of my readers...except for my mom, who obviously is older than I. *waves hi to mom!*
2) I have ovarian cancer, diagnosed about 18 months ago.
3) I am well into my second series of chemo...carbo/taxol/Avastin... and hope to finish up with the heavy guns the last week in July. I'm thinking my Oncologist may have me continue on with the Avastin. He recently attended a conference in Chicago where results of a clinical trial show that continuance with Avastin has efficacy in extending "stability"...that means it extends the time of non-recurrence. It is not a cure. I'm all for extending time of non-recurrence. On the other hand every drug has it's risks...including Avastin. So I'm happy on one hand to have it available and I'm a bit apprehensive on the other hand as to whether the possible benefits outweigh possible risks.
4) My hubby, who has been bearing the brunt of being "caretaker" during this time has himself now been diagnosed with a major health problem. That means we both are looking at serious stuff in terms of treatment, well-being during and after treatment, and...if you wish to really know...in terms of the end of our lives.
Some of you, being younger, may look at us as "old" and therefore "naturally" close to the end of our lives. But from our perspective, we are still "young" relatively speaking! We have many friends and relatives who are much older than we, and who are still living stable, healthy lives...people who are happy and hale. So even though we may be "old" in your eyes, it is startling to be advised that we have suddenly shifted from "well" to having "serious health issues".
(Some of you, being younger, may be blissfully unaware that either of our two ailments can happen to people in your age bracket...the twenties, thirties, forties, etc. Please be advised that I have become acquainted with many of your age who are dealing with the same health issues with which we are dealing. Youth is not a safety net when it comes to the peculiarities of disease!)
I want to say this...during this time we have had to look at "life" and "death". We've looked at the "what-ifs" and the "whens" and the "why-fores". And I, at least, am astounded that we are moving through this with grace...a God-given grace that precludes anxiety or despair! We're certainly curious about it all, educating ourselves as to the ailments and the treatments, learning to eat in ways that enhance our daily lives, setting aside things that used to be "important", and recognizing a little more truly that "life here on earth is short".
We are almost, but not quite, surprised to be able to look back and see God's providential care (Divine Providence, if you please) through all of this. We see circumstances taken care of almost on their own...or at least in a sequence that has eased us through the past 18 months. Happenings that brought us to good health care and diagnosis at the right time. Responsibilities that were taken off our shoulders at the right moment. We have seen God's providential care for us in all of this. We rest easy in His care.
I'm not saying this past year and a half has been without concern or fret. We (at least I) have been forced to look carefully at our faith, at the promises of Scripture, at the hope we have in Christ. I've been forced to bend my knee in prayer, bowing down to God through all of this. And I have had to conclude that it is not about me. It is all about Christ. It is not about us. It is all about the good and perfect will of God.
I've been reminded of such words as Job's "Even though he slay me, yet will I trust him".
And Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you: and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you."
This past couple weeks I've begun reading through Kevin DeYoung's book on the Heidelberg Catechism. Question #1 in that catechism is "What is your only comfort in life and in death?" The answer to that question could be summed up in "I belong fully to Christ and He provides all that I need, both here and now, and in the hereafter. That is the ultimate comfort in life. And it is the ultimate comfort as we go into death.
The Heidelberg Catechism itself includes scripture references below each question/answer (DeYoung's book does not include the scriptures) and I've been reading each of those scriptures. They remind me and reassure me of the good promises of God. Scriptures such as: (You can hover your cursor over each scripture to read them.)
I Cor. 6:19-20
I John 1:7-9
I John 2:2
John 6:39-40 (I love this one!)
John 10:27-30 (and this one as well!)
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (this one!)
2 Corinthians 5:5
Ephesians 1:13-14 (and this!)
My prayer for you is that you know and understand that our salvation is found in the work of Christ...and that you understand more fully each day the promise of God's providential care for those who are His. This is where true comfort lies.