grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

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

on July 17, 2015

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been intrigued by the theoretical and yet craved the practical.

Warm, fuzzy, sweet ideas grab me and get all kinds of juicy hope flowing through my veins.
Then that bubbly feeling is quickly replaced by my desire, my need, for cold, hard, facts and clear steps and irrefutable proof.

Take the CaringBridge journal update I shared here yesterday.
The one that encouraged taking a ‘Celebrate anyway’ stance…even in the face of Hard Things.
As I drifted off to sleep last night, pondering those words I wrote, I couldn’t help but think, ‘What does that even look like in real life?’

Honestly, I ask myself that question more than almost any other.
So it didn’t surprise me to find that I wrote the following CaringBridge journal update just days after the ‘Celebrate anyway’ one.
Trying to pull apart such a bold, inviting word.

Today, I’m recovering from honoring the emotions yesterday, so ‘celebrating anyway’ looks like breathing slow and deep, being gentle with myself, offering gratitude for this life, and just doing the next thing…all the while trusting that if I do the work to stay mindful and keep my heart open, ‘celebrating anyway’ can become second nature.

Maybe that’s the trick of it.
Realizing and accepting that ‘celebrating anyway’ will look different, even feel different, in whatever circumstance or situation we find ourselves.
And knowing there’s grace for that.


December 9, 2012
If you’ve had a chance to read my most recent journal update here, you’ll remember that I felt compelled to ‘celebrate anyway’ – in regards to whatever the PET scan and other assorted tests showed, as well as in each other circumstance and situation in which I find myself.

Today, and actually every day since this past Thursday when I got the results of the PET scan that showed it did NOT come back clean and clear and boring and normal, the question on the tip of my tongue is, ‘So, what does that look like anyway?’

What does it look like to ‘celebrate anyway’ when I have an ultrasound scheduled this coming Tuesday to investigate further the area that ‘lit up’ on the PET scan?

What does it look like to ‘celebrate anyway’ when wrestling my thoughts away from What If? takes more emotional energy than I care to admit?

What does it look like to ‘celebrate anyway’ when the currently unknown cause of the bright spot on the PET scan is so…well, UNKNOWN?

I am really not so sure I have what it takes to answer any of those questions – or the bajillion others that bang around my head and heart in the midst of all of this – but, in my stronger moments, I DO remember that I have on my side the One who KNOWS every unknown, who SEES inside the tissues and fibers and even the cells that ‘lit up’ on the scan, who HOLDS me firmly in His hand when I feel like I’m going to break into a thousand pieces, who GIVES me glimpses of His presence in the faces of Stan, my girls, and the dear friends who have been so steadfast, who COMFORTS me in the depths and darkness of my fears.

So, for me, at least for now, to ‘celebrate anyway’ is to lean into Him as hard and fast and deep as I can. And give Him praise for KNOWING, SEEING, HOLDING, GIVING, and COMFORTING.

There may not be confetti, balloons, streamers, fun, and games in the celebrating right now, but I trust that will come. Because I am trusting the unfolding. And I am in awe of the One whose hands are gently working out the creases.

If I come to mind in the next week, I’d covet a prayer or two for good, clear, definitive results of Tuesday’s ultrasound. Dr Reynolds and the radiologist who read the results of the PET scan are thinking that the area the lit up (my right armpit) could possibly be due to inflammation there since September’s surgery and the reaction that side of my chest has had to reconstruction. I am choosing to believe that they are spot on and that it’s inflammation and NOT CANCER that lit up. I hope to have the results of the ultrasound by the end of next week, so will be sure to keep you posted.

Until then, I’ll be celebrating anyway — in whatever way He leads me.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. ~Corrie Ten Boom


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