Yearly Wrap Up – Cancer Crept In

cancer word spelled on scrabble tiles

This is my last weekly wrap up and in fact will be my yearly wrap up for 2012.  I intend to take a blogging break until after Christmas.  As I look back on the year I see probably my hardest year yet.  God is good though, for He turned my weakness into a strength I didn’t know I had in me; truly ashes have become beauty.  I am writing this to mark a year passing since I first knew I had cancer.

It has been almost a year since I was given the diagnosis of an invasive malignant melanoma (I’m not a sun worshipper at all).  In the midst of the horror a diagnosis like that brings there was good news.  The doctors were fairly positive and after it was removed I was given an 85-95% chance of it not having spread systemically.  I have faced difficult, potentially life threatening problems in the past with my pregnancies, but these were all acute and resolved as soon as I gave birth.  This was different.  I can’t express how terrified I was.  My youngest wasn’t even one and I was faced with my own mortality.  I was to find that a cancer diagnosis either sinks you or makes you not just swim but fly.

I gave myself two weeks to collect all the information I could, to wallow, to cry, to basically handle it in any way I needed to.  I broke my mum’s and Gary’s heart by insisting we talked about our wishes in death, funerals and so forth.  We were very honest with the children, explaining everything, leaving out nothing.  I have always parented this way and cancer was not going to change that.  We would face this together as a family.

In fact I took three weeks.  I then stopped looking for information, stopped looking at blogs about people who were fighting melanoma and got back to the business of living.  It sounds so easy.  It wasn’t.  Even though I didn’t dwell on things, there were times I felt the fear and loneliness of the situation wash over me and almost overwhelm me.  In the early days I had felt God say to me with such clarity that the doctors only knew one part of my body, that I was intricately made by His own hands and He had given me today.  He was clear.  I was not to worry about what might be tomorrow, I was to live for today.

I was out for my evening walk when I looked up into the vast sky, scattered with stars and realised how utterly small I was.  How very little control I have over my own life.  How now is really all I have, cancer or not.  By the end of the summer I knew I had started living once more with all my might.  Every thing was that little bit brighter, the colours of life more vibrant, the people more precious.

Gary has shown me once more the caliber of man I married, his strength counteracting my weakness; his surety overshadowing my fear.  Truly my other half in every way, I couldn’t love him more.  My mum, the one constancy throughout my whole life, putting her needs behind mine to help, quietly and lovingly as ever. I couldn’t wish for a more wonderful mum.   And my two best friends.  One who lost her dad to melanoma the day after I was diagnosed.  The two of us trying our hardest to support each other in our troubles; the similar circumstances being that little bit too close to home for us both.  The other whose friendship I’ve had since I was 15.  Who prays for me and who I talk to most weeks even though there is a sea dividing us.  Both friendships I will never take for granted.  And my children, the reason I am able to face each day with enthusiasm and joy.  God knew what I  needed and He has given it and more.

Somehow we have managed to continue with our  homeschooling.  I can see more and more God’s purpose.  I am blessed to spend all day, everyday with my gorgeous family.  This year we have covered Ancient Romans, Ancient Celts, Meso Americans, Anglo – Saxons and Vikings.  We have finished Botany and begun Anatomy and Physiology.  But more than that – we have lived together, learned together, laughed together and most importantly loved together.  This year has probably been the most favourite year of my life.  It was the year I realised just how blessed I was.

Have a wonderful Christmas!