Eeyore on Steroids: “I’d Look on the Bright Side if I Could Find it!”

I gave my usual ‘I need your best person because I’m a really hard stick’ speech to the pleasant lady checking me in for bloodwork. She was unable to locate orders which was strange as I had literally JUST walked across the hall after meeting with my doctor with clear instructions to go straight to the lab. The last thing I needed was more waiting, escalating the anxiety.

I had prayed for an uneventful appointment with my Stanford doctor, and so far, my prayer was answered… other than a possible naked man leaning his backside against an apartment window on the hospital grounds. I say possible because at first glance, I would SWEAR that’s what I saw and not wanting to stare, I can’t completely confirm.

My anxiety was simply based on dreading needles, NOT on any unusual findings. Everything was fairly routine with a quick scope procedure and check-up. The biggest challenge for all my doctors is managing follow-up care for lynch syndrome. My oncologist stated she spends a chunk of time the night before she sees me analyzing where we are and what needs to be done.

High maintenance in yet another area of my life! Hah!

After 30 minutes of entertaining myself with heating pads on my uncooperative veins, it was finally my turn. The lab is set up in a circle with full view of everyone getting their blood drawn. While contemplating the reasoning for this, I was directed to take the one and only chair in the middle of the awkward circle. I guess she hadn’t picked up on what a baby I am and how this might not be the best idea to have all eyes on me.

Even though the lab tech was amazing, I still found myself fighting the usual tears as I prepared to leave. It’s my moment of feeling sorry for myself, sad I have to walk through this. I’m sure it’s just my way of releasing all the emotions of getting through another doctor visit and hoping everything is fine.

Rounding the corner to the waiting room, I saw a family friend. It was great to see her and she quickly caught me up on the details of the last few months of her life. Cancer had been found in her spinal fluid and now she was undergoing harsh treatments of radiation and chemo in hopes of prolonging her life.

As crazy as it sounds, she looked wonderful! Even in the midst of describing horrific details, she was absolutely radiating with positivity. She laughed often, joyfully declaring how God is in control no matter the interruption to how she thought her life would unfold this year.

I was convicted to say the least.

I KNOW I’ve grown in my faith, but my friend challenged me to take it to the next level with God. Just that week I had been describing a woe-is-me, negative person to a friend and used the phrase, “She’s like Eeyore on steroids.”  I now felt like the phrase could accurately describe me and how I’ve been viewing God’s ability to work in certain areas of my life, mainly having to do with my kids. I’VE been the Eyeore-on-steroids person who only sees the impossible obstacles we are facing and not the God-who-can-move-mountains-Heavenly-Father who is more than able to meet all our needs, big and small!

I’ve been reading Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able, and the description on the back starts with, “Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing.” She explores Ephesians 3:20-21, building her case that God is always up to great things.

This is my summary/narrative of the verses based on her book:

Ephesians 3:20-21. “Now (our current reality and God’s present ability) to Him (eyes on Jesus!) who is able to do (for YOU) exceeding abundantly beyond (Lord, please do this or something better) all that we ask or think (He’s got it totally covered) according to the power that works within us, (flip the switch— depend heavily and consistently on the Spirit of God— make room for HIS ability) to HIM be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. AMEN!

I began journaling prayers for my three kids; what am I believing God for in their lives? On Cory’s page (which happens to be the longest right now…TEENAGERS!!) I wrote a specific prayer for his grade in summer school math. This is actually a HUGE concern in that he missed passing the second semester by one point. ONE POINT!! High school math is HARD and it has been challenging for little mister. Under my journaled prayer, I wrote…

God Is Able!

The class is now halfway done and Cory has a 95!

GOD IS ABLE!!

It might be a small example to you, but to me… it’s miraculous! AND… as I sat down to blog, I literally could have written about each one of my kids. God has answered a specific prayer I had for each one of them THIS WEEK!

So… rather than being an Eeyore in the circumstances of life, I am looking for God in everything and believing He Is Able!

In the words of the rumbly tumbly theologian Winnie the Pooh:

“Yesterday is a history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

I’d love to hear from you and how God is working in your present situations. After all, “A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” (Pooh)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking with Friends Through Cancer

It’s my friend’s birthday today and I just keep thinking about her and all she did for me 8 years ago as I walked through scary times with a cancer diagnosis. This is one story that made me smile in the middle of facing my biggest fear.

(summer 2009)

My friend had her blinker on, ready to pull in to a prime parking spot when all of a sudden, a man jumped into the space saying, “We’ve been waiting a long time to park here.”

Where did HE come from?

It was all very odd and, frankly…a bit maddening! The beach was humming and parking spots were hard to come by.

My friend rolled down her window and took me by complete surprise as I heard her shout, “Oh FINE. I’ll just keep driving around my friend who has cancer and is going through CHEMOTHERAPY!”

Our new foe quickly answered back, “Well.  MY friend only has ONE leg!”

It was just the comic relief I needed.  I could not stop laughing at the outrageousness of the exchange I was witnessing. Two people determined to look out for their suffering friends.

It was my first week of chemo and my friend was making sure I was being taken care of.  She had gone with me to get my hair cut super short in anticipation of it all falling out in the next couple of weeks. We had gone out for lunch at a local deli and now wanted to walk on the beach.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous man will prosper. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

What a beautiful Biblical promise! As we purposefully pour our lives into others, God fills US up.

Humility is a fascinating concept. On the one hand, you have to humble yourself to accept help from others. It is very hard to admit you need this assistance. One definition says, “Acknowledging that achievement results from the investment of others in my life.”

Likewise…if you are the one helping someone, you are also showing humility in that you’re putting aside your own interests, schedules and plans for the sake of another.

It’s two sides of the same coin that Christ uses to keep us from pride.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

It was a wonderful day with my friend.  After we circled the parking lot a few times, a spot finally opened up for us RIGHT next to the man we had just encountered. We pulled in and humbly unloaded our things. And…

yes… his friend really DID have only one leg!

 

 

 

Friend

“I love you.  I miss you.”  The hour-long conversation ends, and the pain overwhelms me.  The small talk was wonderful, but the void still exists.  With the phone still in my hand mocking my futile attempts to find peace, I weep.  I miss her.  I love her.  I need her.

A chasm was created as surprising events came to light.  Decisions by another, held fall-out ramifications for us.  Our friendship was altered by circumstances we played no part in.

I text to her my anguish.  She quickly responds.  Within minutes we are back on the phone, crying, fighting to hang on to each other.  The deep feelings pour out and the heartfelt connection is instantly there.

Many have said the friendship will never be the same… move on.  But how does one move on, leaving their heart behind?  It’s an unacceptable option.

My emotions are raw with pain.  There is no easy fix.  This unanticipated journey requires a depth of faith I don’t seem to possess.

God is my only hope.    “Romans 12:12  “Be joyful in hope… faithful in prayer.”

There’s nothing I can say to alter this course.

God is my counselor.    John 14:26  “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything.”  

The path is foreign to me.  Completely unmarked.

He is my Shepherd.    Psalm 119:105  “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

I’m not even sure how this can resolve or if it is possible.

He knows my future.    Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you…”

The sadness is a tangible, physical ache – always present in my being.

His joy is my strength.    Isaiah 61:1-3  “He has sent me… to bestow on them a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

My heart yields to the head knowledge of who God is.

As His character traits are rehearsed in my mind, peace is allowed to descend upon my soul.

He is there.    He cares.    I am not alone.

I wait.

Medical Baby

“Would you like citrus, vanilla, peach, berry or banana?” asked the assistant.

“Excuse me.  What?” I confusingly remarked.  Most people would not panic at such a tasty list of flavors.  For me, it signaled a change in the expected regiment.

I was scheduling a CT scan involving an iv with contrast solution.  Just the day before I had been singing the praises of this particular facility because they utilized a tasteless, clear solution to drink before the test.  They even served it in a water bottle, making it a cinch to down the required volumes.  Now, the rules had changed and it would be back to the thick, yucky barium.

I am such a medical baby!  I admire those people that can just “get ‘er done.”  I over-think absolutely every step involved in every appointment or test.

“Ummm.  Berry.  I guess.  Oh, and one more thing.  Is it possible to schedule an iv specialist?  It’s nearly impossible to start the drip on me.”  She made the needed note, assuring me they would look into it.

As the call ended, the tears started.

I don’t like the actual process, and I definitely don’t like the what if’s.  I am a cancer survivor with the genetic make-up that could easily entertain the deadly carcinogens.  The mind games resume, right where they left off at my last medical stop.

I hide out in my not-so-pristine prayer closet, a.k.a. … the laundry room.  I press play on my ipod and the praise songs begin.  The mindless act of folding and sorting helps me talk to my closest friend.  The words of a song capture my attention.  “I lay it all down again.”  It becomes my prayer;  “Lord, I lay it ALL down… AGAIN.” My mind is being renewed as my focus turns to Him.  Another line brings such conviction.  “You’re all I want.”  I am SO far from this!  I want a lot!!  My growing list of desires and worries plays through my thoughts as I fold the pile in front of me:  I want my daughter to dance, I want my son to attend a private Christian school, I want new clothes, I want a fancy vacation.  Can I really put God at the top of the list and say, “You’re all I want?  Let the chips fall where they may?  Do I trust Him enough to put Him first??”

The song ends with one last gracious line.  “Help me know you are near.”  He is near.  I’ve got to believe it and own it.

More surrender.  More peace.

Draw me close to you

Never let me go

I lay it all down again

To hear you say that I’m your friend

You are my desire

No one else will do

Cause nothing else can take your place

To feel the warmth of your embrace

Help me find a way

Bring me back to you

You’re all I want

You’re all I’ve ever needed

You’re all I want

Help me know you are near

(Rebecca Carpenter)

Purple Folder

(more of the story…)


I thought I had covered all my bases.  I seemed to be the one making all the phone calls, confirming I had all the right information  So, as I walked into the hospital for my pre-op requirements, I was confident I was in the correct location.  The receptionist, however, was beginning to slightly panic.  She kept repeating to me, "But you don't have a purple folder.  We need a purple folder.  All of our patients have a purple folder.  You should have a purple folder." 

On the inside I was screaming back to her, "Please don't say the phrase PURPLE FOLDER one more time!"

We all took a minute to regroup and without much difficulty figured out where I needed to go.  As I began this second leg of my pre-op journey, the tears were fighting to be released.  I was wishing I had brought a friend with me, someone to help shoulder the emotional weight of it all.

There were 3 different tests to complete for my pre-op.  With two down and one to go, I was headed for the dreaded blood test.  I don't do well with blood draws at all.  It is pretty much guaranteed it will take four attempts and a spinning room to get through it.  I rounded the corner, looked up and saw a wonderful friend of mine.  This friend is someone who I don't necessarily speak to every week, but just seems to be there at all the right times in life.  I would say she is a "life-encourager" to me.

In the next few minutes I was able to bring her up-to-date on all that I was facing.  She expressed how much she cared and that she would be praying.  It's those quick moments of encouragement that can make all the difference – the "I've got your back" (in prayer) kind of moments.  

God has this way of showing up, many times in the form of His church body- just to let us know He's watching, He's there and not a detail is escaping His notice.

And, as far as the blood work went, one try- no pain- and no spinning room.  Now in my book… that's a miracle!!

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