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Life is an experience

Posts: 262
Joined: Feb 2001

Hello friends:
I wanted to share something with you today. Recently I met up with an old high school friend whom I haven't seen in years. I knew through the grapevine that she had had Lupus for years, but I was not prepared for how sick she looked. This was on a good day, too. She needed a walker to get around and her face and body were all puffy from her meds. Like cancer I knew very little about Lupus. I had no idea how difficult this disease is, she spends many days in bed unable to do anything, and this has been going on for years! Yet, she was very concerned about me and what I was going through--she made me feel so humble, because right now me compared to her---I am in the best of shapes. One thing we did agree upon during our conversation was what I want to share. Any life threatening illness is a wake up call to the fact that life is not something we can possess; it is only something we can experience; the good along with the bad. We aren't afraid of storms till lightening strikes or the wind tears things apart. That is the plus side to such illnesses----it is a wake up call to life.
Too many of us were not taking life seriously enough before BC. It makes one truly stop and smell the roses we previously only might have admired briefly at a distance. It makes us let go of all the petty and insignificant little problems that seemed so worrisome before. We now literally understand the difference in what a thorn in the side feels like compared to a mere briar scratch. The bible says it better: that we are straining at gnats and swallowing camels. I never really understood that scripture before now. Before our diagnosis, we worry so much about the little things (gnats): 'bad hair days'(we wish); 'nothing to wear'; what other people think about us; children's squabbles; where to go, what to do;etc.; and then not seeing the bigger more important issues in our lives (camels)---like our health; quality time with family (looking at roses together if nothing more);and most important of all---our relationship with God.
One thing for sure, cancer does end life--life as we knew it before our dx.; and thankfully for most of us it has been the beginning of a better life; a deeper understanding of what is important, what we truly need rather than what we want; what we can change and what has to be and the wisdom to know the difference.
We must remember others who are suffering life threatening illnesses that are not cancer. I started remembering how many friends I have lost over the years from different diseases; like---diabetes; heart disease; Lou Gehrig's disease; brain disorders, kidney failure to name a few. I remember my friends who are suffering from years of battle against different autoimmune diseases--some of which is where your own body's immune system turns against you and starts destroying organs, etc. Disease is a very time consuming part of life to say the least.
If we would just put as much effort into being better Christians and obeying God's laws--then we would surely be pleasing to Jesus Christ---who felt we were cabable of serving the Lord completely---that He was willing to die to prove His love for us---to fulfill the holy scriptures; and prepare a way for our own destiny.
We should work harder to please Him rather than worry about what this disease may or may not do to us. After all, it is out of our hands---we are not going to die one minute sooner now than we were before our diagnosis. At least this way we have a chance to make life better for ourselves and our families. There is only one certainty in this life, and that is it will end one day. We cannot change that fact even if we are 94 and die in our sleep; it will happen and can happen in hundreds of ways---not just disease. No one worries when they get into their cars that they won't get back home again. I know first hand that that happens more than we want to believe. No one plans on having a wreck or falling down or drowning--it is an accident and happens in a blink of an eye----but no one worries about these things because they are too busy worrying about their disease or believing it will not happen to them. It is difficult not to but necessary if you are to live each day to its fullest possibility.
Let us not forget to pray for all the other illnesses in the world that are life or death battles and are just as devastating as cancer. Do not let the disease overpower your mind as it might your body by dwelling on it and letting it be your main focus. Then it becomes your family's main focus too; and you forget about being God's children and all your chores He wants you to do. That is where you will find your blessings.
You are all in my thoughts and prayers as we go through this unexpected new life experience. Let us try to make the best out of each new day, and not worry about tomorrow, because God is already there.
Hugs from Brenda

Posts: 40
Joined: Jun 2001

Very well-said Brenda! I would also add that we are "role-models" for the people around us in how we handle this disease, not that we or should consciously do that. I keep hearing from friends, my husband, even my 87 year old mother how "amazed" and "proud" they are of my attitude through this which they see as really positive. And I'm amazed that they're amazed because all I'm doing is being me and doing the best I can to just make it day to day, which are sometimes good and sometimes bad (and I don't hide it when I'm having a bad day). I've never been the type to give up or go to bed and pull the covers over my head. But evidently that's what people expect when one gets a cancer diagnosis! So we're busting stereotypes and giving others hope for life after cancer (and life-threatening illness) by surviving, and hopefully surviving with grace (by savoring each day of life as a gift)!
I remember the first day of chemo (I was terrified and I'm sure I had that deer-in-the-headlights look on my face!) looking across the room with an IV in her arm who looked so serene and who smiled so reassuringly at me. That moment meant so much, and I thought, "If she can do it, I can do it!" I later found out she had a much worse diagnosis than mine and she had been doing chemo for a very long time! On my last day of chemo, I met a woman who had that deer-in-the-headlights look on her face, and I stopped and talked to her and hopefully passed on that hope and reassurance I got on my first day of chemo. This illness is such an opportunity to touch others. With love to you all, and to you especially, Brenda, because you share so much! - Gay

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