Not that I'd planned it for this date, but apparently I'm giving away my writing just in time for Christmas. I've been thinking about this blog for a long time as a way to share some ponderings about living with cancer and my faith as a Christian. The two are interrelated, of course. But I found after cancer diagnosis that I read the psalms differently. I knew something about enemies, for example, that I hadn't before—I'd spiritualized them: my temper, my pride, my ten thousand "little" faults. Now cancer cells were the enemy out to destroy my life.
I was diagnosed with Stage IIIB ovarian cancer the week before Christmas, 2006. I went through a newly approved chemotherapy following major surgery. In January of 2008, a shadow on a CTscan led to further surgery. Turned out I hit the double jackpot, with Stage I (noninvasive, lowgrade) bladder cancer as well. Both are currently in remission.
I have a friend who believes that nothing really happens to me until I've written about it. After my diagnosis, at the suggestion of a friend, I bought a four-inch stack of 4 x 6 cards (the ovarian tumor was 4 x 6 x 4) and began writing. The cards could hold thoughts I didn't want to share with friends; they incarnated my experience.
What does it mean that Jesus became incarnate, Emmanuel, God-with-us? Among other things, cancer has taught me that it means I'm not alone—not walking into the chemo room or waking up after surgery with body parts removed. Not walking through the valley of the shadow of death, which is what cancer is for me. Not death, not yet, but it's shadow is there, a shadow that deepens every time I lose a friend to this hideous disease.
If you're looking for a blog about cancer being the best thing that ever happened to the writer, that would be someone else's blog. My hope is to alternate short, honest posts (for me, that's 300-500 words) on each topic. If you've read A Week to Pray About It, my published book, the style is similar. (If you haven't read it, please buy a copy, read it, and post a positive, sincere review on Amazon!)
So, we begin, on a night of hope—one of the three cardinal virtues—dear reader. Be well and warm.