Thursday, September 17, 2009
Crossing The Fear Line - Day 1
"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." - 3 John 2
It’s been over 5 years since I heard the news over the phone. Breast cancer – stage 3. I sat in a parking lot alone in my car trembling as I called back the radiologist. I was numb listening to the compassionate voice that later became the Mayor of Jacksonville’s wife. “I’m so sorry.” she said. I hung up the phone in disbelief. The next call was to my Mother.
Since that moment I have been to the breast cancer battlefield and back. In the summer of 2004 I went through 3 months of chemotherapy every 2 weeks. Every hair on my body disappeared. Even my eyelashes.
I rested a month before they removed my right breast and many lymph nodes with a radical modified masectomy operation. I went for physical therapy for a month to reduce my swelling and restore range of motion in my right arm.
I started 2 more months of oral chemotherapy that blistered the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet and caused unstoppable diarrhea .
They stopped the chemotherapy, and I was admitted to the hospitable for dehydration, and almost died that Christmas 2004. I was saved by a miracle. It was the best Christmas of my life. I discovered home is where the heart is. They sent me home the day of the “great sunami” that we all remember. I recuperated for another month with weekly blood tests.
Then it was another 6 weeks of radiation. My scarred right chest turned black as it burned through any last wisps of cancer hiding in the shadows. I still continue to take Arimidex for another 10 years to prevent cancer's return.
Last year my husband Johnny was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in May 2008. He died this year February 21, 2009. I do not understand why I survived and he didn’t. It doesn’t seem fair. He was my soul mate. But I take comfort knowing where he is at now, and I know who he is having supper with tonight. He is in a much happier place with a lot of good company!
So here I am Lord. I’m in need of resurrection. Out of the misty fog comes a light to my soul. You send me my answer through my most precious angel – my daughter Scarlett. She calls to tell me she has decided to do something magnificent. She wants to help find a cure for cancer by running in, and raising funds for, the 2010 National Marathon To Fight Breast Cancer here in Jacksonville, Florida, hosted by Donna Deegan to benefit Mayo Clinic - 26.2 with Donna. The race takes place on the anniversary of Johnny’s death. I beam with pride at her courage. And then I think to myself – why not me?
Then I freeze in fear. What am I thinking? I’m out of shape. My emotions are still swirling in grief. I feel helpless searching for my purpose in life. I certainly am in NO condition to take on such a huge challenge. I feel so alone. Then I stumble upon an article about a book by John Geiger called “The Third Man Factor.” It reminds me through several incredible true stories – that we are NEVER alone.
The Wasteland – T.S. Eliot
Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
But who is that on the other side of you?
I remember years ago how brave I was during my journey through breast cancer. I know how brave I was during my husband’s battle with lung cancer. Where is my courage now? Where is “the one who walked always beside me” during those moments? I read T.S. Eliot’s poem and I realize – oh yes. He is still here. My Lord has never left me. It is I who have been wandering in the valley. It is time to walk back towards the light.
I decide that if I truly believed before that nothing was impossible, and trusted God to walk with me through it all, then running an impossible marathon is no exception. Perhaps these are the first steps to the new chapter He has waiting for me in life. When we ask God to direct our paths we must be willing to take the first step.
So here I go – crossing the line of fear. I am committing myself to the impossible dream. For me it is not reaching the finish line. It is reaching the starting line. It is showing up the day of the race and proving God right.
I invite you to follow along with me as I “dash after Donna” to the race. Donna Deagan is an incredible woman who has inspired so many through her example of determination to make a difference in the world. It takes great courage to live a life in front of the public’s eyes as a newscaster, and let us have a peek into her private world and her soul. It makes courage contagious. Because Donna lives, the world is a better place. She teaches us to live for more than ourselves. As a role model – she shows us the glorious heights that are possible for each of us when we live our life on purpose.
So here I go. I am throwing my hat in the ring. I am going to run the marathon - or technically the "half marathon." I begin "training" tomorrow. I hope you'll join me each day to track my progress and hold me accountable. Perhaps you might want contribute to the cause. Maybe you will just find something in my journey that will spark your own resurrection.
I will be sharing what I learn each day as I read and research information on healthy eating, good exercise and how I am incorporating it all into my personal training program. I will also be sharing my emotional and spiritual journey I am experiencing as I make the transformation back to my "personal best." This is a journey God and I are taking together. I want to pave the way for every woman to make a comeback with the ultimate trainer - God himself.
I hope you'll join me! I dedicate this quest to my Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, through whom all things are possible.