Sing for the joy that's found in setting up the pins and knocking them down

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sacred Schedules and Earthly Eyes

Today is surgery day--bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.  I'm up early because the blowing wind outside was keeping me awake and it also gave me opportunity to squeeze in one last cup of coffee before my 8 hour pre-op window closes.  I can honestly say that I'm not even very anxious about today.  The bag is packed, I've got the kids taken care of, my sister-in-law arrived last night to be my driver and overnight nurse at the hospital, my brother (who just happens to do mastectomies as part of his daily work) is driving to meet us at the hospital and care for me once I'm home.  Everything is in place from a practical stance.

Eric should be here.  He really should be.  He sat beside me when we put these plans into motion and he really should be here to see this through.  But he's not and as Christians we throw out phrases like God's perfect plan, perfect timing, all in His control, and on and on. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't just a little frustrated with God's timing.  The straw that is weighing heavy on the camel's back is that at this moment my father is in a hospital bed four hours away from me while my mother dozes in an uncomfortable recliner at his side.  He's fighting his own horrible battle with cancer and his prognosis is not nearly as glamorous as mine.  I want to be there, they want to be here.  We ache and pray for each other and say through tear-filled eyes, "thy will be done on earth..."

I remember a sermon on this type of topic and the pastor used this phrase repeatedly in reference to God's ways, "I wouldn't have done it that way..."  These questionable story lines have always been a part of my life.  I wouldn't have given a great man a bad heart.  I wouldn't have put a truck in the intersection when that dear girl rode her bike across the road.  I wouldn't have given that couple a sweet baby just to take it away.  I wouldn't have taken that husband while his wife battled cancer.  There are so many things I would do differently through my early point of view.  The pastor's point was not to condemn God's ways, but to show that they are higher than ours.  What we see dimly, he sees with complete clarity for all times past, present and future.  Even though I believe it enough to base my whole life on his plan for me, it doesn't make it easy some days.

There's a song that I loved when the kids were little call "Parade" by Go Fish.  I still think of the chorus and sing it in my head on mornings like this:

You see the whole parade 
From the beginning to the end
You know the route that my life will take
You know exactly where I've been
Cause while I only see what's goin' by in front of me
You see the whole parade.

So today, I'll keep walking in this parade, one step at a time, believing that someone with a better plan and a better view than me has laid out the whole route of my life for my good and the good of His people.  I know those are just nice Christian words, but I either believe them or I throw in the towel and take my place on the curb.  I'm choosing to keep walking and to believe.

Isaiah 55:8-9

New International Version (NIV)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Going Public

WCCO came out and filmed me at my work about 6 weeks ago.  The story was about how cold capping can help cancer patients keep their hair through chemo treatment.

I've attached a link to the segment, but honestly I can hardly watch it.  Of course there are the natural things--I wish I had lost 20 or 30 lbs before they filmed me, I wish I could have cut, colored and styled my hair (all forbidden when you're cold capping) and do I always shrug my shoulder like that when I'm talking???  There are plenty of things that only I see when I watch it--I see someone who wishes they spent more time in intentional prayer, not just a fall-back plan when sleep escapes you at 4:00 in the morning.  I see someone who worries about the effects of all of this on her children and wishes they were more open about how they're feeling.  I also see a woman who more than any thing would like to go back to being 10, riding her Shetland pony and getting called into the house to sit down to a warm meal surrounded by family.  It's hard to stomach that woman's life--it's hard to accept that it's the story of my life.

So why did I do it?  Primarily, I wanted to get the word out there about cold cap therapy.  I've talked to so many women who admitted that losing their hair was far more traumatic than what they had anticipated.  I'll admit something to you.  I was terrified of cold capping--far more nervous about it than the chemo itself.  I wanted people to know that it was tolerable and my result was fantastic.  I also wanted to publicly acknowledge my amazing co-workers who have been right beside me through this whole process.  My home is forever changed by Eric's absence but at work I can get lost in meetings, emails and phone calls.  All things that keep me moving forward and help me adjust to the new path my life has taken.

Marc, who was also interviewed for the story and whose wife has become a dear and admired friend, is one of two people that I mainly work for.  The other is the CEO of the company.  Our CEO was the first person I told about my cancer.  I received the call at work and I knew that this news would greatly impact my work life.  I walked straight into his office and told him.  He embraced me, I shed some tears and he said, "I know I can be pretty demanding but when the chips are down, I'm the guy you want in your corner.  You're like family to me and I've got your back."  He has never failed on those promises.  I honestly cannot say enough good about all the wonderful praying, laughing co-workers that I'm blessed with.

So here's another piece of my cancer story.  Cold capping was a choice that I feared was based in vanity, but in hind-sight gave me back the ability to at least fake a little normal in my life.  Please feel free to contact me for any additional info around this very "cool" option for keeping your lovely locks when you're fighting something ugly like cancer.