grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day Three

on July 3, 2015

I’ve been talking about the importance of, and doing my best in practicing, the Discipline of Remembering for most of the last five years.
I’m afraid to say I’m not sure I saw much value in it prior to being diagnosed with cancer.
I was primarily focused on getting to Someday…

Someday, when the girls are older…
Someday, when I finally lose this extra weight…
Someday, when we have more money…
Someday, when my house is exactly how I want it to be…

Maybe that’s one of the pivotal, profound ways This Whole Thing has changed me.
Maybe now I get how taking time to remember makes one more informed when moving ahead.
More able to see the forest for the trees.
To read the road signs with some better level of awareness.
To not falter so much at the sight of an unknown path.
To find patience when things seem overwhelmingly slow-moving.

Don’t get me wrong.
I don’t think a person wants to get stuck there.
No matter how rosy and pleasant our memories are.
I just don’t think Stuck-In-The-Past is a great permanent address.

So how do you balance Remembering with Moving Forward?
(Which, I think, is different than Moving On…call it semantics, if you will…I tend to think Moving Forward speaks of the hope we’re to have as we face the uncertain future…Moving On to me sounds like pulling up stakes and getting the hell outta Dodge without really realizing or acknowledging all the gifts that were part of Where You Were.)
It’s all about perspective, don’t you think?

When we can Remember with a nod to grace and a heart acceptance of the fact that everything unfolds just as it’s supposed tonwhile lifting our eyes in anticipation of what tomorrow may hold when we haven’t a clue…well, I think that’s the balance.
Not that we’ll ever get it perfect.
But, sometimes, if we’re tenacious and diligent and just-stubborn-enough, we may get it close enough to right that it makes all the difference to our souls.
That’s my hope anyway.

As I read the following journal entry from my CaringBridge site, I felt a strange buzzing in my head and heart.
Some of these things – these particulars – I’d completely forgotten.
Some – like the dates – seem to have been etched deep in my conscious memory.
I think the buzzing came from remembering…
Remembering that, in what was an incredibly uncertain and stressful and almost-out-of-body stretch of time and circumstances, God was near.
Very near.
And very intimately involved in every aspect of this chapter.

It’s in Remembering that I’m able to see how the pieces fit.
Even the pieces that made absolutely no sense at the time.
That’s how Remembering helps me.
Try it some time…
See if it doesn’t do the same for you.


Sep 23, 2010
A quick update — I’ll try to encapsulate lots of info into the proverbial nutshell for you. A word of warning: I’ve never been very good at that whole Nutshell Thing! 😉

Stan and I had two very good appointments with two very qualified oncologists yesterday (feels like more than a day ago!) and received from both that a mastectomy is really the best option at this point in a case like mine. With recommendations like that, it’s hard to argue…not that I feel much like arguing right now. And, actually, I find myself wishing that we would have gone with a mastectomy originally. Then surgery would be complete. Done. Finished. Over. When I find myself getting a bit frustrated with those thoughts, I remember that God is unfolding this whole thing as He sees fit. *sigh*

The HER2/neu status came back POSITIVE!! Yahoo! That means that, despite the ER-/PR- status that makes this cancer a bit more difficult to treat, I will be able to take advantage of an amazing new drug (Herceptin) that I’m told is very effective and may reduce mortality and recurrence rate. Thank you so much for your prayers about this!! (And, thanks for continuing to pray for things that you may not be able to understand when I toss them out there! I keep hearing ‘I have no idea what you just asked me to pray for, but I can still pray for it!’ 🙂 )

Stan worked the phones again today and the mastectomy is now scheduled for Thursday, Sept 30 with the first visit with Dr Reynolds (the oncologist) set for Oct 11. I am not sure, at this point, if I will be meeting with a plastic surgeon prior to surgery to discuss reconstruction. That has become the norm, so if you’d pray that the way is paved smooth toward that end, I would be ever so grateful!

In looking at the complete pathology report the other night, Stan and I came across the info that there was one margin that was positive for the actual cancer. (There were 3 of 4 that were positive for the high grade DCIS.) That means that the lumpectomy did not successfully remove all the cancer. Please pray that its aggressive nature will have quieted during these last 2 weeks and remain so during the coming week until the mastectomy.

….keep praying for the girls. They are all dealing with this in their own individual ways and some days are better than others. I think the whole mastectomy thing is weirding them out a little…it might make it all seem a bit more real to them.

So, there you have it…a REALLY BIG NUTSHELL! 😉 I pray that as today slips away and tomorrow dawns, God will make Himself and His mercies so real in all our lives that we can’t help but marvel and give Him all the glory! After all…it is all about Him! 🙂

‘Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.’ ~Luke 1:78


2 responses to “July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day Three

  1. Kari malingen says:

    Laura, thanks for taking me on this journey of “remembering” with you. I appreciated reading your journal entries then, and I appreciate reading your blog posts now. It doesn’t seem possible that this all started 5 years ago, but I am grateful that you’re still here, and I thank God for you and your perspective and the way words flow out of you both verbally and in writing…ways that help me to keep my perspective and challenge me to be always dependent on His divine path instead of my own. You are a shining gift to me. 💥🌞💥

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