Monday, September 10, 2012

A Very Meaningful Anniversary

 Five years ago today, I received my diagnosis of multiple myeloma. This is a particularly meaningful anniversary because what I was told at time of diagnosis was:
  • You have multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.
  • We can treat it to keep it down as much as we can, but we can’t cure it.
  • We have no idea how long it is going to take for this cancer to kill you, but our best guess is 5 years.
So, here I am at 5 years, their best-guess prediction for survival, and still going. I was on chemotherapy for 2½ years, and then took a break to allow my body to recover so we could fight the cancer some (I say “we” because I am not certainly in this fight alone; I have cancer, Carol has cancer-in-law). I was hoping for a 6 month break from the chemo, and the break has lasted for 2½ years as I go in for bi-monthly checkups to keep an eye on where the cancer level is. My “best guess” is that chemo will need to resume in early 2013.
Anyway, what a great 5 years this has been! During these past five years, I have been blessed to see three grandchildren born into the family and one granddaughter added by special delivery from Guatemala.  In May of 2010, I saw my youngest son marry a wonderful young lady. A few months later, three years and one day to the day from diagnosis, I walked my youngest child and only daughter down the aisle to marry the wonderful young man of her dreams. God has been good to me. I have lived to see all of my children marry godly individuals and doing well in life, and have lived to see (and enjoy) seven children of my children. 
All of this is in addition to many blessings of ministry and family both here and abroad, and I have been able to maintain more than full-time employment.
At the outset, I realized that the cancer was no random occurrence in the universe, but came to me from the hand of a heavenly Father whose love for me goes far beyond my ability to comprehend. As a result, several hymns became very meaningful to me.  There are “Children of the Heavenly Father,” and “Be Still My Soul.” Each line of the aforementioned songs is my personal testimony during this time. But the most meaningful hymn, from the start, has been “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” by Fanny Crosby.  Again, each stanza means a lot to me, but here is just the first verse:
All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whatever befalls me,
Jesus doeth all things well!

PS -during the past five years, I have become very offended by commercials that give the impression that if you have the “right, fighting attitude” and some particular hospital, you can beat cancer.  I have seen people with really good attitudes go down with this disease, and a good attitude can’t beat cancer any more than it can beat a bullet to the heart. Our lives are completely in the hands of God. There is no place I would rather it to be.