It seems as if every day there is another woman having a mastectomy. Who knows where the poisons are coming from that stimulate cancerous growths. In many countries, the regular mammogram is now a normal part of a woman’s medical check up. How well do you try to take care of your physical health?
I went for my annual mammogram one October only to be told that there were some shadows that needed to be watched and that I should have another x-ray in three months time. I made it the best Christmas I could with festive decorations, family meals, thoughtful gifts and many photographs just in case. There seemed to be no telling what these shadows meant as there were no lumps, just small grey masses which could not be verified as cysts. The doctor ordered an ultrasound, then a biopsy. How has your body seemed to betray your desire to live three score and ten and beyond? How do you cope with the idea that one day you will die?
The word biopsy has an ominous ring. “It is my turn,” I thought. “I have journeyed with so many others but now it is my time to understand how this experience feels.” I prayed, invited family and friends to pray, and went on with business as usual. When one’s future is more “in the balance” than it normally seems, there is a heightening of awareness of faces, places and decisions. The results will determine so many things like plans to travel, speaking engagements and the like. We make plans in the hope that all will be well, but nagging doubts remind us that they are tentative at best. When last did you feel that your whole world was out of control? What helped you to regain your equilibrium in the midst of it all?
Waiting for results is like being emotionally suspended between trusting for health and wholeness and gentle preparation for the possibility of the worst. Having hope means remaining optimistically realistic, knowing that some who pray are delivered and some are not. Only God knows the outcome. What is your approach to the healing ministry?
By this time, it was Lent and I felt calmly focused on my tasks at home. I put my house and office in order in the event that others had to run things for me for a while: bringing files up to date, organizing drawers and cupboards, explaining where I kept important documents. That served as a good outlet for runaway emotions that needed to be channeled into action. If there were to be chaos in my anatomy, at least there would be order in my workplace and home. How do you direct the energy of strong emotions? What needs to be put in order in your life?
I lay on the table for the minor surgical procedure to be performed, I prayed, acknowledging that whatever the future held God would hold me and help me through. More women were waiting to have their procedures done and as the doctor talked with me indicating that I was cancer-free, I knew that they too needed encouragement to be “strong and of good courage.”
My message has become: let us live more carefully so that our handling of the environment allows others to simply live; let us love more passionately so that others feel the love of God emanating from us; let us face harsh facts together allowing the truth of God’s grace to set us free from debilitating fear and agonizing anxiety. Every day is precious, use each one wisely.