A year. 365 days strung together. Each has a name, a tag that makes it special. Some of them become very memorable- your birthday, your wedding day, the day each of your children were born, and the days that you receive news that shakes your world. Sometimes great news, and sometimes hard news.
When April 1st rolls around every year, it brings with it an avalanche of memories for me. That was the day I began my cancer journey 10 years ago. April 1st, 1999, I went to the doctor so he could tell me the lump I was feeling was really nothing to worry about. A few days later I received a call from him. I was mystified as to why in the world he would be calling me. My mind started catching on when he mentioned my mammogram results, a 2 cm cancer tumor, and telling me to go see a surgeon in the next few days. I was in shock. I was afraid of the unknown and mostly wondered what this meant for our family. I still had our kids to raise. They needed me and Greg needed me. I didn’t have time for cancer!
Well, here I am still alive 10 years later. I have learned a lot- not just about cancer. I have learned that God is deeply in love with me. -That if I have to go through hard stuff, He is right there with me in the center of it. He is real and trustworthy. I have put my life into His hands and given Him the freedom to be the author of my days. He will decide how many I will have and how the journey will progress as I live them. He has done miracles for me.
I should have known better, but during the 7th year a biopsy of what seemed to be nothing, again resulted in phone calls from doctors. By then I had learned to clue in more quickly when the doctor calls me. That time it was chemo and radiation. Another 8-9 months of dealing with all that came along with that diagnosis. I didn’t have time for cancer that time either.
I haven’t physically bounced back from that year of treatment as well as I did the first time. I have less strength and other medical problems to deal with, but I can still enjoy the ministry the Lord is giving me to teach missions to kids. Greg and I have just entered the empty nest years (or at least months, until Jenni and Jesse come home for the summer). I am looking forward to a mission trip to Ghana this summer with our church to help train children’s workers in the north part of the country in how to do effective ministry and discipleship with the kids in their spheres of influence. It’s like shooting the Missions and Christian Ed balls into the corner pocket and winning the game. It is a God thing!
So after 10 years of living with death as a possibility from cancer, I have tried to live my life so that I make my days count. I am grateful for them and don’t take them for granted. That should be true if all of us, but there is some extra dose of reality about it when the questions of whether it will come back and when, etc., frequently lurk in the back of your mind. I for one, want to say “YAHOO! and Hallelujah!” to the Lord for these10 amazing years. I have friends who are already with the Lord, perfectly healed from cancer. For now I have things to contribute this side of heaven and I pray I will be faithful to do them well. In my weakness His strength is made perfect. What an amazing God. If you don’t know Him, it is probably hard to understand my perception of Him and think of Him as loving. I have learned not to ask, “Why me?” but rather, “Why not me?” David Jerimiah’s book, A Bend In the Road put into words what my heart has learned over the years. He also has had cancer a few times.
Well, I need to get some sleep, but wanted to let you celebrate with Greg and me on this special 10 year anniversary!
Blessings- Nancy Fritz firstname.lastname@example.org 509-990-8465