It hardly seems like it has only been 6 weeks since my surgery and my cancer diagnosis. With all of the tests and doctors appointments, not to mention the time I’ve spent researching websites on the internet, it seems as if months have gone by, not weeks. I’m exhausted from researching, talking about it, praying about it, thinking about it.
But, God knew I needed a break from it all and opened a path for me to schedule a retreat between the time my tests were completed and when my chemo would start. I was able to fit in 5 whole days for a silent, directed retreat. It was just what I needed to fill myself up with God’s love and peace before all the craziness of these coming months of Chemo gets started.
Driving down winding country roads, gazing out at rolling hills and farmland dotted with cows and horses grazing in lush green winter grasses calmed my spirit even before I got to the beautiful retreat house of Our Lady of the Pines in Catawba, Mississippi. The retreat house was built in the late 1800’s and has been refurbished and modernized. My room on the 3rd floor was very spacious and comfortable. I even had my own bath.
My days were spent in prayer, strolling down the country road through the pine forests, sitting in the gazebo overlooking the lake, or meditating as I walked the Labyrinth. It was truly a blessed time. Jesus was my constant companion as I imagined His hand in mine and heard His voice in my heart assuring me that He was “here” for me. The scriptures that my spiritual director gave me for prayer each day spoke to my heart, filled me with peace in the knowledge that God has a plan for me and that His plan is perfect. My faith assures me that no matter what the outcome of the cancer treatment is for me that God has “got me” not just for now, here on earth, but for all of eternity. And, so, I place myself in His loving arms, surrender my life, my all to my sweet Lord, place one foot in front of the other and get ready to fight this disease – powered up with Divine love and a peace that does not come from this world, but only comes from knowing Jesus.
Tomorrow is the day. I’m very excited about starting the chemo treatment and beginning the process of killing those evil little cancer cells that want to destroy me. Each day I ask the Lord to multiply my good blood cells and to start an army of killer blood cells of my own to fight the cancer “beasties.” It’s an image that makes me smile and reminds me that God is in my corner. “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Everything is prepared for my first day. I’ve got my ipad, iphone, charger, headphones, reading material, prayer material, lunch prepared, comfortable clothes, and will have my hubby in tow for support. What more could a girl ask for. I love meeting new people, so I look forward to meeting those patients at the infusion center who will be on a parallel journey with me. Hopefully, we will be able to lift one another up, or comfort one another along the way. I also look forward to meeting the health care workers who will be closely involved in my care and treatment. I hope to learn a lot from them about my cancer, the side effects of the chemo, and how to care for myself when things get rough. It’s a little crazy I know, but I am full of hopefulness and even joy, about the prospect of beginning treatment. God has given me joy of heart; I am claiming it, and prepared to spread it around as much as possible!