Eight years ago as my mom and I waited for a shuttle, we sat next to a few fish tanks lost in the overwhelming news and reality of the moment. My cancer was gone. As relieved as we were to receive the news and be headed back home, the joy was hampered by relief and uncertainty. I was excited to be going home. Living out of a hotel while going through medical tests and surgery is not something I highly recommend. However, more surgery loomed in the future along with the possibility that the cancer could reappear.
Certain anniversaries since then have held special meaning. Three years in the clear was the first hurdle towards long term remission. Then I made it to five years and all my doctors breathed a sigh of relief. 10 years will mark the final nail in the coffin for medical insurance red tape. So what is special about eight years?
The number eight in the Bible signifies Resurrection and Regeneration. It is the number of a new beginning. Eight is 7 plus 1 and since it comes just after seven, which itself signifies an end to something, so eight is also associated with the beginning of a new era or that of a new order.
In the past eight years I have graduated college, worked a few jobs, married a pretty cool guy, got a new dog and became a mom. In the last month I made the decision to change my career path and focus on my adventurous toddler and develop my entrepreneurial skills. This is a new place for me. After nearly 7 years as someone’s assistant, I am taking a step towards a new beginning.
Pursuing opportunity is intimidating when there is more than one option, but never moving forward and embracing risk keeps us in stasis. Life is vastly out of our control, as much as we don’t want to admit or accept that fact. Living intentionally to intercept change and flourish despite of it is the goal.
Regeneration can be regrowth or reformation and both of those words seem applicable in 2017. As I celebrate remission, I look forward. Whether it was cancer or _____________________, it changes us. Let your blank be your motivation and live to the fullest with what God has given you.
For Such a Time as This,
I love how kids get right to the point, there is no beating around the bush. During one of my niece’s visits, she came through the door with great emotion and announced that she heard the story of how I almost died! Makes my life sound so epic.
This visit came to my mind as I spent time reading loving comments written about a young father who passed away unexpectedly from an infection. I didn’t know him or his family, but I can only imagine the pain. God never told us that life would be fair or easy, but that doesn’t make the unfair moments any easier.
James, Chapter 1 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It has so much truth and encouragement packed into one chapter, especially when navigating the tough times.
James 1:2-4 (HCSB) Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
As the end of the year approaches and we face stresses and challenges, remember that life is a work. We rise and we overcome – we grow. In order to grow we must face the risks, the pain and the obstacles. I have described cancer as staring death in the face and walking away. When I get to celebrate my growth and smile at the impact of my story, I am thankful for the work being done in me.
Today is the sixth year anniversary of my cancer free diagnosis. Life is always moving forward and whether we like it or not, we have to move forward too. It’s the natural rhythm of life. However, I am thankful for memories that allow us to celebrate the good and overcoming the bad in life. A memory that came to the forefront of my mind this year is a fashion I sported after my first cancer surgery. Being that I had a rather large circular wound on my head (and bald spot) I began wearing scarves over the hideous area. I do believe I owe this fashion statement to my mom, who was creatively trying to come up with a solution that made me feel somewhat normal when out in public. My love of scarves blossomed at the cancer center in Texas and has only continued to grow. I now have quite a collection that I enjoy using to spruce up outfits. Little did I know I was starting a trend. Fashion scarves now litter the stores. It must have been my influence!
I could not have survived my cancer days without my mom (thanks mom, you rock!), but I also was filled with the strength of family, friends and strangers that God continually put in my path. His love was constantly beaming in people around me. When you feel God tugging at your heart and pushing you do something, go for it. I bet you will bless someone in the process even if you never know.
After my surgeries I was self conscious about my large scars, but a good friend gave me some wonderful words of advice – the right people will love you all the more for them. He was right. I still don’t show off my bald spots, but I’m learning to be loved and show love each day. Here’s to another year of scars, scarves and love.
Photo Credit: my patient husband