grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

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

on July 13, 2015

This post right here (from my CaringBridge journal)?
It’s the one where I stumbled on the idea of living gratefully amazed.
The one with the phrase I used to name my little space of the interwebs..

Seeing those words today?
Humbling and happy-memory inducing.
They hold proof and power and promise for me.

Proof that these last five years – and all they included – actually happened.
That they aren’t just a story someone told me.
That I’ve survived them.

Power that floods my spirit with strength that comes from realizing God knows.
That none of this has been – or will ever be – a surprise to Him.
That His objective is to restore, redeem, and rebuild.

Promise that serves to buoy my heart on heavy days and brighten even the sunniest ones.
That these scars have purpose and are part of a plan.
That joy can be multiplied when hope is magnified.


October 3, 2012
A week and a day down.
Hard to believe.
Feels like weeks ago.
And, then again, it seems like just yesterday that I was wheeled into the pre-op room for the lopping off of one breast and the insertion of expanders on both sides.

Today, I am doing pretty well. Went for my walk (been shooting for 2 walks a day, but have only made one the last three days) before the rain started. It was a milestone walk in a couple ways – I was able to tie my own right shoe for the first time since last Tuesday AND I walked alone. (Stan took some vacation time to be home with me, but today, sadly, he had to get his butt back to the office. Boo hoo!) I also made my own breakfast for the first time in a week (doesn’t food seem to taste better when someone else makes it?! I sure think so! And I’ve been super-spoiled by Stan in that area for days now!) – even got the toaster down from a high cupboard with my right arm. (My right arm/side is the one that took the biggest hit – that’s where the lopping happened – and it tends to protest loudest when I get too bold in its use.)

Today, I am so grateful. I had my post-surgery follow-up appointment yesterday and was able to talk more at length with Tosha, the fabulous nurse practitioner, about the pathology results on the tissue that was lopped off. (Sorry if that verb troubles/rankles/shocks you — I use it as a way of framing with humor what my body has been through these last two years.) Turns out that there was actually something there. Something that, had it been found on a mammogram, would have been removed, biopsied, and would have even required a trip to the oncologist for any woman who hadn’t already been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. What was found wasn’t classified as ‘pre-cancerous’ but was an area that Tosha said (a couple times) could have definitely become a cancer, given time. So…Whew!! I am so grateful that I went ahead with this surgery! So grateful that such an offending bit is super-duper far away from me now! Never to return! And, in those minutes when ‘What the heck was I thinking signing up for more surgery/recovery/pain???’ tries to take up prime real estate in my brain, I quickly kick it right out with those grateful thoughts!

Today, I am amazed. Amazed by the sweet family with which God’s blessed me. Amazed by a group of new (virtual) friends from an ecourse I began just before surgery who showered me with happy vibes, kind encouragement, and heartfelt prayers. Amazed by the difference between the stitching style of the plastic surgeon (in whose mind, obviously, appearance is everything) versus the style of the surgeon who did the original lopping. Amazed by all the work my mom did in helping me get the house ready for me to be out of commission for a while (and how happily she did it). Amazed by how much I notice other women’s chests. (Weird, right?? I wonder if that’s a natural occurrence after the type of surgery I’ve had…I remember this happening after the original surgery, too.) And, last but certainly not least, amazed by each of you who, after over two whole years, still take the time to read, to care, to sign the guestbook, to want to know what’s going on in this crazy, wonky journey.

So, today, and every day, I work to live from that place of grateful amazement.
And, some days, it truly is work.
But then, I am grateful for those days, too.
Because this journey is made up of bright and dark. Light and shadow.
All of our journeys are.
And I’m learning that grateful amazement makes the bright shinier and the dark less gloomy. The light sparklier and the shadow less scary.
How can you not be gratefully amazed by that?

I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it. ~Groucho Marx


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