This is the last post in a series on the question “Who am I when my body fails me?” Ten inspiring and very personal stories are part of this series. Thanks to all the guest bloggers who have shared their unique perspectives. If you missed any of these, go to the category list on the right edge of the homepage of this blog and check “Who am I when my body fails me?”
Having been one of those folks whose body has failed her, I resonate so with the blogs written in this series. I was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer nine years ago. That news was devastating. The statistics that came with that news were also pretty bad. If memory serves me correctly, only 28% survive beyond five years. Many die much earlier. A new chemotherapy was approved just a month before my diagnosis. I was told then that in a clinical trial this treatment was found to extend one’s life as much as 17 months. It would be very difficult and none of the clients from this office had been able to complete it. After my surgery, the doctor said I should try it.
I was able to make it through the treatments, thankfully. They were grueling. I spent much time on the sofa sleeping and wondering if I would ever be able to do any of the normal tasks that we all take for granted. Things like walking up and down the stairs seemed impossible to me. But the love of family and friends helped me through these difficult days. More than that, the love of God gave me what I needed most.
I felt strongly that I was one in whom God delighted. He loved me with His everlasting love. I had such unbelievable assurance of my salvation given from Him. He provided the power to surrender all to Him. Tears? Pain? Sadness? Of course they were there throughout my journey, and to be honest, they continued but not helplessly or hopelessly. Oh, I thought of all the things I would miss and I missed them prematurely. I worried about my husband, my kids, the grandchildren we already had and the one on the way. (We have been blessed with two more since then.) I could trust their lives to Him.
For me, that time in my life was the closest I had ever been to God. His incomprehensible peace was so tangible to me. He gave me such calm. And then He gave me my life back. I have no idea why but I am very, very thankful. Each day is a gift.
I would like to be able to tell you that I have remained as close to God as I was then. Anyone who knows me well would know that is not true. I was shocked and still am at how quickly I grabbed everything back. In less than two years as I regained my strength, I found myself upset about the same things that upset me before I was diagnosed. The same worries returned. The laundry became a chore again instead of a task I was so thankful to be able to perform.
But the memories of that precious though painful time remain strong. I liken it to the mountain-top high I experienced with the birth of both of our children. Writing this has been very good for me as I have remembered God’s faithfulness to me, His steadfast love, and His many graces.
I cling to those memories when one of the side effects hits me. I also still live with survivor’s guilt. Not every day, not all the time. I know it does not come from God. But it does plague me as I have become friends with so many who have suffered with this horrible disease and have died. I do know that every one of them lived in the unshakable kingdom of God. I praise Him for that and thank Him for bringing them into my family.
praise image by http://www.pinterest.com
Thank you, Leslie, for sharing your story. You are a gift.
Thank you Leslie for this remarkable story. I knew your story, but sharing it makes all of us see the ups and downs of our faith walk. Surrendering is not easy, but yes, that is when I too have felt God’s presence the most. We are indeed slow learners, but we can be reminded again with these stories. Coral
Leslie, Thank you for this beautiful and moving entry. You are an inspiration to so many people!
Thanks Leslie for sharing.