Then, like a hurricane in a pond, you are told you have tongue cancer at the age of 33 even though your past medical history is as clean a 10-year-old's, you don't smoke, you don't dip, and you're not nursing the bottle. Suddenly, myth moves out and emotion moves in. Myth was a quiet, neat, and predictable roommate. Emotion is loud, messy, and has multiple personalities. Unwelcome are shock, denial, anger, sadness, loneliness, and fear. Welcome, however, are courage, determination, faith, hope, trust, and gratitude. Thank God for the welcome ones.
I'd like to share a little of my gratitude. I was diagnosed with cancer on April 18, almost 2 months ago now. Month to month, week to week, day to day, hour to hour, and sometimes even minute to minute, I am receiving encouragement from loads of people ranging from immediate family to many that I don't even know.
This is a photo of a luminary created in my honor for a relay for life vigil in Michigan by my friend Scott Moran's in-laws. Scott and I became really good friends at Vanderbilt. His wife, Kathy, is very special, too. She is now attending Vanderbilt herself - soon, they will be quite the medical team. Kathy's family, who lives in Michigan, created the luminary for me after hearing of my struggle, and I've never even met them! They still, however, took the time to make this for me and even personalized it with musical notes.
Terrah didn't forget what I said, so when the gang wondered what to get me, she had the perfect idea. She tracked down Meg who agreed to make another one just for me. Meg commented that it was nice getting to pray specifically for me as she was working. That was very touching, of course. The gang gave this to me on Friday before my second chemotherapy session, and they all signed the back.
I have never met. This was given to me by a friend of mine from my old job at Aspect Communications, Jennifer Gearhart McClure. This is a ministry of her mother's church. As they knit these shawls, they pray especially for the people who will be receiving them. It is meant to be worn while praying. The idea is that the prayers of those who made the shawl are covering you as you pray yourself. Jennifer wanted me to have this in the midst of making tough decisions about my treatment.
This gift was picked out especially for me by Terrah's little nephew Benjamin, who is about 2 years old. I've got a little Sprite in my Goofy cup right now!
Terrah gave me a book called Courage before my first chemotherapy session, and Brooke and Darren gave me Tony Dungy's autobiography.
This is a beautiful quilt made for me by Rebecca's mother Donna (who treats me like I'm one of her own), her friend Debbie (who lost her daughter to leukemia and has encouraged me like a long-time friend even though we just met), and Rebecca. The section with the heart has an inscription that tells me to wrap myself in the quilt and know that I am loved by many.
Of course, this isn't all the encouragement I have received. I couldn't begin to count the phone calls, texts, emails, cards, letters, prayer-grams, and well-wishes I have received. I have received many while typing this very post!
There's no way I could remember every kind gesture for mention in this post, but I hope all of you know the immense gratitude that I feel toward you.
I must not forget to give thanks to the Father, as well.
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Join me in being joyful over salvation, praying for healing, and giving thanks for His perfect love.