This is not going to be your typical Rare Faith Newsletter and it’s a little hard to know where to start, but here goes…
In July I began having abdominal pain that I attributed to probable leaky gut, menopause, and organ prolapse symptoms all converging at the same time. (Sorry, is this TMI?)
I toughed out two painful episodes (one in July, one in August) and then finally went to urgent care after a third attack in November. They didn’t run much in the way of tests but figured it might be diverticulitis and sent me home with an antibiotic that I should start if I didn’t feel better by the next day. Well, I felt better the next day so I moved on without treatment.
On January 3 I started to feel another attack, but this time it felt like everything I ate was making me sick, no matter how perfect, clean, or ideal the food was. I prepared to tough it out again and made an appointment with a specialist in March, which was the soonest they could get me in.
I thought the discomfort would pass after a few days but this time it didn’t. By January 14th I had dropped 15 pounds (probably only losing the 15 I gained over the holidays, so in my my mind that wasn’t super alarming), and got on the phone with a Teledoc. With so many different issues going on, I wasn’t sure even where to begin to address them. Which kind of doctor do I start with? Knowing they’d each likely send me out for tests and not having the energy to face all that, I figured maybe the Teledoc would at least provide me with some bite-sized advice to help me take a good next step.
The Teledoc explained that if I just went to the ER, I would have access to ALL the different kinds of doctors and ALL the different tests available, in house. So she recommended I go there and said I would also probably be admitted.
Suspecting diverticulitis, they did a CT scan and found an abscess, a perforation, and a mass in my colon, and also a suspicious spot on my liver as well. Surgery took place a few days later to remove part of my colon and I’ve been recovering since. Spent 15 days in the hospital, came home on Sunday.
Prognosis is good. Part of my treatment plan will include 6 months of chemo. I’m told that relatively speaking it shouldn’t be too bad. (BTW I want to thank all of those who have sent us various recommendations and tips for facing this in alternative ways. Believe me, my husband and I are being prayerful in our decisions and appreciate all the info and will continue to weigh out our options as we find the path that brings us the most peace of mind.)
If you want to read up on the more detailed steps of my journey, we’ve been posting updates on my personal Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/
What’s Ironic Though…
Since last year, I’ve been preparing to teach a 6-month program called Miracles Made Simple. I’ll be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with the name of the program, because I don’t want it to sound like something as sacred as a true miracle is something to be trifled with, nor something to be “conjured”. But those who know what’s going into the course have all seemed to agree that the name is truly appropriate.
The irony is in the fact that THIS January (2023) was the month I had long ago set aside to finish up the curriculum. But then I get diagnosed with cancer, which has consumed almost all my energy since January 3. It’s the 31st now… that’s pretty much been the whole month that I haven’t had the energy to finish the curriculum. Instead, I’ve been flooded with experiences and have been witnessing miracles that I can’t wait to share.
It’s one thing to study and prepare curriculum… it’s another thing to be living through some stuff that is literally shaping the curriculum.
So I’ve had to ask myself, do I cancel or postpone the program while I focus on getting well, or do I pull myself together and kick it off as planned February 8, putting the program lessons to the test myself even if I feel weak, so that our weekly meetings are even more raw and real, real time, than I ever intended?
I couldn’t make that decision while I was in the hospital undergoing all the tests and recovering from surgery, but I knew I could at least practice what the curriculum was going to teach and see what *I* at least would learn. I figured I’d decide later if I would cancel the class, or if I would push through and share the experiences and lessons learned.
I know there are no guarantees. Even with a good prognosis, I understand that the Lord has a plan for my life, so I just intend to make the most of the time He grants me however long that is. But seriously, I’m not planning on letting this take me out. I’m just going to face it a day at a time with the same kind of Rare Faith that has helped me get through so many other kinds of challenges.
It will be a grand experiment.
Practicing at the Hospital
This newsletter is already too long, but I will say this. Miracles are not so much about getting what you want. They are gifts and blessings that we can experience daily, which help us see God’s hand in our lives. They bring us a rescue when we truly need a rescue. They give us that genius spark of an idea when God sometimes needs us to solve our own problems. They give us an added measure of love, patience, strength, or wisdom when a situation calls for us to be more than we are. They provide us glimmers of hope despite impossible odds. And they ARE simple.
If I were to sum it all up in one phrase, it would be this:
That is how we qualify for the miracles we seek. When I was told in the hospital that it might be cancer, I was grateful that I already had the practice and muscle memory (so to speak) on how to turn off fear. Because I know that with faith the size of a mustard seed, mountains can move. The real determining factor is whether or not fear is present.
That’s what my work is all about – if I could just say “Fear Not” and everyone would get that and live by it, I think my work would be done. But there are so many reasons I know it’s hard to let go of fear, so that’s why I keep writing.
I also did this:
Given the various possibilities of my condition, I consciously ran through each scenario and made peace with each possibility. I’ve learned to “choose” the thing that I don’t have choice about.
With that first scan they were pretty sure they were looking at stage 4 colon cancer, so I had the gamut of possibilities to run through. I wanted to qualify for the best possible outcome, so I knew my job was to simply take it all a moment at a time without fear.
I’ll Count this as one of my Miracles:
The MRI came back showing no cancer on the liver, so the stage was downgraded to 3. The doctors were surprised to find the liver fine.
Stage 3 then because of the size of the tumor, and now it’s gone. I have about 5 laparoscopic scars and a couple longer wounds to remember it by. They did also remove a few lymph nodes with cancer so that’s why the chemo.
Choosing the Vision
As I went into surgery, my vision and prayer was not that I would be totally clean or healed before they opened my up. I didn’t feel that that was the appropriate request (another factor in the idea of Miracles Made Simple), but I did feel like it would be appropriate to envision the surgeons being pleasantly surprised at whatever they found. Let that be whatever it would be. I just wanted to wake up to some good news.
When I came to, my surgeon reported that they were happy to see that the perforation had not caused any leakage or contamination. She said it was like a cocoon had contained everything in one area and the margins were clean, even with the abscess and perforation. I asked if that was a surprise, and she replied with her eyebrows up, “We were PLEASANTLY SURPRISED.”
So maybe I still have some cancer to deal with, maybe not. But the miracles have been abundant. This is just one of the many experiences that has shown me that God is still in the details of my life, and I know He is in the details of your life, too.
I believe that the more we learn to invite and recognize His hand in our day to day challenges, and the more we learn to ask for the right kinds of miracles, the more our faith and strength grows to face each day with greater and greater success.
I’ve seen the principles sustain us in money challenges, now I’m getting the opportunity and BLESSING to see them help me out with some health challenges.
Whether or not I fully recover (as we all – including my doctors – expect that I will), I will continue to praise God for the gifts contained in every adversity, and the opportunity that I have to even more fully experience and appreciate everything this earth journey has to offer.
More to come.
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