Five years: looking back, and looking forward

On October 17, 2013, I was an inpatient at Lake Forest Hospital. Doug had brought me to their emergency room for abdominal pain four days prior. At around 2pm on that October 17th, the young physician caring for me came into my room and broke the news to us that I had cancer.

Just now I began to write, “The rest is history,” but that is not entirely true. Me having cancer is history – that part is true. I had a followup CT scan a couple weeks ago which looked fine. I saw my surgeon in her clinic and she said everything looks good, and I will see my oncologist for my regular followup appointment next month. I have been feeling good, and it has been 3 1/2 years now since I was miraculously healed by God of Stage IV cancer. Thank you, Jesus.

I did not write about this earlier this year, because it was too hard. This past March my older sister, just a year and a half older than me, was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. It was in the earliest stages and was not an aggressive type like mine was – thanks be to God. The following month she had surgery. Because the cancer was limited to her uterus and was low-grade, she did not require any further treatment and is doing just fine now. We are doing what we can to determine whether we have some genetic predisposition to cancer. I had genetic studies done a few years ago which showed I did not have any genetic mutations known to be associated with endometrial cancer, but the field of cancer genetics is fairly new and there is still a lot that is unknown.

Naturally, when this all happened I asked God the same questions I asked him when I was diagnosed with cancer the first, second, and third times. Why? Why did you let this happen, God? Opportunities to fear and to doubt abounded. I gave God all my fear, anger, and confusion as I had done before. I asked him to heal, to help, to save.  I asked others close by to pray. And when I didn’t know how to pray, I just told God, “I need you, today and every day.”

In my last post I shared that I was writing a book about my healing. I had been writing for several months when all this happened to my dear sister. I stopped writing when she got sick; I knew I needed to press pause on it for a time. I had stuff I needed to work out with God.

My God is faithful. And my God is good. My sister is fine now by the grace of God. I’m thankful that what I went through happened first, so that when she started having symptoms we thought of cancer right away, and that lead to an early diagnosis. I’m thankful that when we were in the thick of it, we could remind ourselves and each other that my case was the worst-case scenario and God saved me from it, which gave us peace and hope in the waiting. For those of you who pray, please pray that going forward we would not fear. Fear is not from God. Pray rather that we all would focus on our good God, who is mighty to save.

Despite this unexpected event, the facts of the matter have not changed. Three and a half years ago, God Almighty did a supernatural work of healing in my body, and I have been cancer-free since, and this story is a song he has given me to sing. The rest is not history. He is not a God of only the past, but of the present and the future as well. What happened in my past, rather, informs my present and shapes my future. I do not claim to understand all that has happened, but I do know that God is faithful and he is good, and Jesus Christ his son is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

This week I am dusting off my laptop to begin the writing process again. Pray for me and for this book. I know many of you have been praying for this project and I thank you for your prayers.

This morning I pulled up my old CaringBridge site and looked back on the entry from October 18, 2013, the day after we found out I had cancer. I read through the comments many of you wrote. So many of you prayed! So on this five year anniversary, let’s celebrate with one another the goodness of God, and wait expectantly for him to show us more of himself and that goodness.

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