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Old 06-22-2018, 07:17 PM   #1
Mary Jo
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sheboygan, WI
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The Journey ~ The Lessons ~ The Blessings

Today's blog is special to me. It is an annual one for me that reminds me of the journey I am on. The lessons I have learned and the very many blessings that are mine.

Thirteen years ago I heard the words, “you have cancer.” Not exactly the words I ever wanted to hear and when I first heard them I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The thoughts running through my mind at that time were ~ ‘I’m only 45 years old, there is no way’ ~ ‘I’m healthy’ ~ ‘There is nothing wrong with me’ ~ ‘I’ve prayed and prayed that cancer would never touch me, so, why Lord.’ So many things rattled through my brain and I was in shock. Fear immediately crept in and lived with me for many years. I came to realize that I had no control and I never did. WHAT? 🙄 I realized that bad things can happen to me (even if I said they couldn’t) and there wasn’t a darn thing I could do about it. Talk about fearful. For this type A personality, it was VERY FEARFUL. So what did I do? Well, the only thing a type A personality would do...I read everything I could about my type of cancer so I could control my situation. Makes sense, right? WRONG!

God surely had some work to do in me and I wanted Him to do it ~ PRONTO!! I didn’t want to be fearful. I didn’t want to feel the need to control my situation but truly, I knew no other way. The saying goes, “let go and let God!” OK, that sounds good, doesn’t it, but how in the world do you do that.

I spent many hours on my knees in prayer. Lord, please help me! Lord, please give me peace. Lord, make me well. Lord, help me to TRUST YOU. And there it was, TRUST! I always believed in God. I always prayed to God. I always loved God but did I TRUST God. Well, I did trust Him but that was when things went the way I thought they should go. Did I trust Him when I couldn’t control my situation? I’d love to say I did, but sadly, I did not. Who of us wouldn’t say that trusting God is easy when life is good? When we are in a tough situation and have no clue where the journey will take us, well, trusting is just hard. We want some guarantee that it will all turn out well. We want to know that things will turn out the way we want them too. Don’t we?

Even before my cancer journey began, I always desired peace ~ that real “be still” kind of peace! The kind of peace the Bible speaks about. The kind of peace I knew my Heavenly Father wanted me to have but how in the world do I go about attaining that peace? Notice my wording in that last sentence? I said, “how in the world do I go about attaining that peace?” Again, it was all about ME taking charge. Me doing something. Me being the one that had to DO. Oh how I prayed and prayed and prayed. Lord, give me peace. Please Lord, give me peace! I remember that it was a deep, deep desire in me for many years before my cancer journey began. I asked God for it multiple times a day. I wasn't happy but didn't know why I wasn't. But, God knew.

Slowly, the Lord started working in me. He led me to His Word for strength. He led me to 2 particular devotion books that helped me. Ever so slowly God was filling me with what I needed. I was certainly in a "valley low" but God was working in me in that valley and slowly bringing me out. On February 10, 2008 I wrote this on the bottom page of one of my daily reads............................

“Control - Oh Lord you know me. Control is my middle name. As far as my health and my fears I try to DO whatever I can to live free of trouble. Help me Lord to let You be the God of my life. I can fight and resist all I want but you are in control of this body and life. Help me to let go.” My heart was really hurting. Fear was still within me and peace was far off. I continued praying, reading my Bible and devouring anything Godly. I would walk a lot and pray and sing praises (and cry) as I continued to put one foot in front of the other. Then one day I was reading a book called, “Grace Through The Tough Times” by Mary J. Nelson and read this.............................................. .....

“I thought I knew Him before. I went to church on Sunday and, unless there was a crisis, I kept Him conveniently tucked away in the spiritual compartment of my life until the next Sunday. I thought I understood everything He had to show me. All through those years I thought I was a Christian and I never knew Him at all. One day I landed in the fiery furnace, He tenderly reached out His hand through the flames and gave me two choices: I could face my uncertain future on my own or I could trust Him.”

There’s the word again...TRUST. God was showing me that the peace I longed for wouldn’t come until I trusted Him as the God of my life. As I would read my Bible verses were really speaking to my heart....this one in particular hit me like a ton of bricks and I focus on it often to this day. It says - “all the days ordained for you were written in His book before one came to be.” Psalm 139:16. I read it again and it slowly started sinking in. All the days I will live God knows about. He knows what today will hold and tomorrow and the next day. He knows and He’s in control. I was His before I was even born. Jeremiah 1:5 told me this, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Then there was this from Proverbs 20:24 ~ “How can we understand the road we travel? It is the Lord who directs our steps.” Newsflash: The Lord directs my steps. Not Mary Jo.

More and more each day God’s peace has become mine. Yes, I still worry at times and yes, I still want to control (at times) but nothing like I use too. When I find myself back in that way of thinking and doing, I will speak these verses and many others to myself. I remind myself that this journey is directed by God and that it is all for HIS GLORY. Throughout the journey we will encounter many trials but God is with us and has much to teach us. The lessons He teaches are the best. The journey and the lessons produce many, many blessings. From a worldly perspective we generally view blessings as something material....more money, a new car, a skinny body etc. But those are not the best blessings. The best blessings are spiritual blessings ~ peace, contentment, trust, being drawn closer to our Lord and being able to peacefully live in the knowledge that God is in control of this life and all we do is for His Glory.

God is faithful and when pain and trials come into our life, He is with us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. Romans 8:28 tells us this..."for we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and were called according to His purpose."

I am thankful for my journey and for all the Lord has taught me in the valley low. He has raised me up and has blessed me with peace, contentment, happiness and a true joy deep in my spirit. I belong to Him. He loves me and Heaven is my Home. To God be all the glory forever and ever. Amen
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Dx. 6/24/05 age 45 Right Breast IDC
ER/PR. Neg., - Her2+++
RB Mast. - 7/28/05 - 4 cm. tumor
Margins clear - 1 microscopic cell 1 sent. node
No Vasucular Invasion
4 DD A/C - 4 DD Taxol & Herceptin
1 full year of Herceptin received every 3 weeks
28 rads
prophylactic Mast. 3/2/06

12 years NED

<>< Romans 8:28
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Old 06-23-2018, 02:56 PM   #2
tricia keegan
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Ireland
Posts: 3,377
Re: The Journey ~ The Lessons ~ The Blessings

Many congratulations Mary Jo!
Dx July '05 IDC 1.9cm Triple positive 3/9 nodes positive
A/C X 4 ..Taxol/Herceptin x 12 wks then herceptin 1 yr
Rads x 36 ..oophorectomy August '06
Currently taking Arimidex..
June 2011 osteopenia/ zometa x1 yearly- stopped Zometa 2015 as Dexa show normal bone density.
Stopped Arimidex July 2014- Restarted Arimidex 2015 for a further two years on the advice of my Onc.
2014 Normal Dexa scan
2018 Mammo all clear, still NED!
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Old 06-24-2018, 07:01 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Hershey, PA. Live The Sweet Life!
Posts: 1,914
Re: The Journey ~ The Lessons ~ The Blessings

Loved it, Mary Jo! That fear-monster is awful and trying to control the uncontrollable terrifying! I can so relate! Learning to trust was also an Everest for me. Trust the young Oncologist. Trust the surgeon who looked barely out of diapers. Trust the big syringe full of chemo the color of wine not to kill me, but cure me. Trust Vitamin H to squelch the beast within my body. Trust in the goodness of God to turn all things to good for those who love Him. The journey...

I am already looking forward to next year's blog! Have a great 13th year, so many have joined that club of late! I am glad you are one of them!

Smile On!

Dx'd w/multifocal DCIS/IDS 3/08
7mm invasive component
Partial mast. 5/08
Stage 1b, ER 80%, PR 90%, HER-2 6.9 on FISH
0/5 nodes
4 AC, 4 TH finished 9/08
Herceptin every 3 weeks. Finished 7/09
Tamoxifen 10/08. Switched to Femara 8/09
Bilat SPM w/reconstruction 10/08
Clinical Trial w/Clondronate 12/08
Stopped Clondronate--too hard on my gizzard!
Switched back to Tamoxifen due to tendon pain from Femara

10 Years NED
I think I just might hang around awhile....

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