Tag Archives: Faith

A battle and a blessing

A battle and a blessing
Mayo Clinic Jacksonville - March 28th, 2016 Hernia repair Surgery Dr. Asbun

Mayo Clinic Jacksonville – March 28th, 2016 Hernia repair Surgery Dr. Asbun

Am I battling for my life? Is the enemy surrounding me and do I have weapons that I raise to fight?

This week I read an article written by Kate Granger who has cancer who claimed cancer is not a fight. She said, in her view “the cancer seems to revolve around wartime rhetoric: battle, fight, warrior, beat.” She found these words uncomfortable and frustrating to hear.

“I would like to be remembered for the positive impact I have made on the world, for fun times and for my relationships with others, not as a loser. When I do die, I will have defied the prognosis for my type of cancer and achieved a great deal with my life. I do not want to feel a failure about something beyond my control. I refuse to believe my death will be because I didn’t battle hard enough.”, she wrote.

Please don’t think I challenge her personal opinion. In fact, I found it to be an interesting point of view. It got me to do some serious thinking about my perspective. Would I be offended if someone uttered “she lost her brave fight” once that I have passed on?

Not at all.

Another writer, Rebecca Hamilton wrote she felt “like someone who has wintered over at the South Pole and is now peeking from behind doors at the newcomers who’ve arrived with the sun….I been fighting for my life, just as surely as any gladiator in an arena, any soldier in battle. I have been, like they are, on strange soil, someone else’s territory, guarding my back as well as my front as I sought purchase on the shaky ground under my feet, as I fought to find the way out of the nightmare.”

Rebecca resented the word “survivor” at first. “After all, no one “survives” cancer, at least not with surety. It can come back at any time and when it does, chances are that it will come back meaner and more advanced than the last time we saw it.”

Now she understands the word survivor differently.”I feel like a survivor, but of a decidedly unheroic, uncertain and battered sort. I am not the heroine, striding over the top of a hill to claim my victory crown. I am rather a shipwreck victim, washed up on a beach, half conscious and too exhausted to lift her face out of the sand.”

I felt that was a perfect analogy. I could relate to that person lying weak on the sandy beach after washing ashore. Fighting to stay atop the water, treading till I feared I would give up. That is what it feels like to endure surgery, infections, drains, chemotherapy and radiation. Yet, I made it to shore. I didn’t give up. I didn’t succumb to the waves or the cold or the uncertainty of my fate.

I won that battle. I am victorious. But it is only temporary.

I lift my mug each morning and take a sip of my creamy hot joe watching the sun rise. Assessing how I am feeling, I think to myself as Rebecca thinks….”Today I feel good….Today is not the day I am going to die.” I have TODAY.

Surviving with strong faith has been my victory. Will I win the battle over cancer? Statistically not. Regardless of where the cancer moves next my death certificate will read…”Cause of Death…Pancreatic Cancer.” But, I will fight a good fight. I will battle forward.

Everyday I am blessed to live I will pray for God to grace me with time to see my children and my grandchildren thrive.

” The same cancer ordeal that has ravaged your body can put you in a place so close to God that you can feel His presence every moment….You can feel the everlasting arms around you and know that you are loved, cherished and protected there forever.” says Rebecca. (Oh is she ever right about that.) “You don’t have to do anything except trust. Just let God love you through this and you will wash up on that shore, battered and ravaged physically, but stronger than you have ever been spiritually.”

I pray people will remember how they saw Jesus thru me. He surely lives in me. I am so thankful for the faith that brings me through this battle. There are so many that do not believe and I cannot imagine how they must suffer. I might not win the battle with cancer….but I have deepened my faith and the faith of my family and those close to me. For that I am thankful.

Cancer is a battle but more importantly it has turned out to be a blessing.

Thank you for helping me make it one year cancer free

Thank you for helping me make it one year cancer free
Thank you to my daughter Lindsay. I would not be here without her protection, love and support.

Thank you to my daughter Lindsay. I would not be here without her protection, love and support.

To the countless friends and neighbors who prayed for me, sent inspiring cards and beautiful flowers and made visits to lift my spirits. To those who brought meals to feed my family during my hospital stays and when I was too weak to cook. Thank you.

To the Townsend Family for your prayers and your desire to take on the part of our
extended family. Thank you.

To Kelly Winer who stepped in and took over the job of running the JT Townsend Foundation when I didn’t have the strength. Thank you.

To my girlfriends who changed my sheets, cleaned my house, fed me, rubbed oil and cream on my feet and hands. Who sat with me as home health care gave me the twice daily four antibiotic IV’s that fought off my infection. Who talked to me every day to make sure I was ok or if I needed help. Thank you

To Robin and Les Passa who brought delicious meals, sent inspiring cards and brought me the many things I needed to be comfortable and showered me with love. Thank you.

To Lynda Masulli who brought meals she painstakingly prepared with no fat in the hospital and later at home so I would eat to regain my strength. Thank you

To Jack and Phyllis Garrity who have supported our two families with love and prayers and were always there to step in where we could not. Thank you

To Deacon Dan, Father Frank and Sister Joan, who each came to the hospital and my home for many months to administer the Eucharist to me in very tiny pieces when I couldn’t eat anything or had the strength to make it to church. To our parish family at OLSS for prayer. Thank you.

To my Sisters in Christ, Bible Study Groups, CRHP Sisters from OLSS who prayed for me during my 9½ hour surgery and continue to pray for me today. Thank you.

To the Warriors and Staff at Wounded Warrior Project who prayed for me, visited me in the hospital and sent blessings and gifts to show they were thinking of me. Also, for being such a great support to Lindsay during this time. Thank you.

To JT and my Mother in Law Peggy who are my intercessors in heaven who made sure the prayers were answered. Thank you.

To my Sister and Brother, Sisters In Laws and their children and grandchildren, my cousins for your love and support. Thank you.

To Grandpa Lugi who learned how to make coffee and drove me to chemo at Mayo and helped with the laundry, house chores and Baby Jude. Thank you

To my children and grandchildren – Scott, Blake, Taylor, Abby, Olivia and Tommy, Louis and Emily, and Evan for your daily texts, phone calls, visits, support and love. Thank you.

To my son in law Matthew who let me know he was always there and allowed Lindsay and his newborn son to spend as much time with me as possible. Thank you.

To Baby Jude without who’s inspiration I don’t think I would even be here. I love you.

To Lindsay, who was my protector and stayed at my side when I was the one who was supposed to be taking care of her after the birth of our angel Baby Jude, and continues to be by my side every minute of every day even from work. Thank you.

To the Mayo nursing, oncology and radiation staff, who helped me make it through surgery and treatment. You are truly angels here on earth all of you. Thank you.

To Doctor Horacio Asbun whom Tom and I both thank from the bottom of our hearts that you had the skill and the courage to perform the lifesaving and complicated Whipple Surgery on me. Thank you.

To Tom who is my Joseph, thank you for traveling this journey by my side. You slept in a chair next to my bed for 31 days. You helped me with things nobody should have to do and made jokes about it. You never missed an appointment or a treatment. You held me up. I love you beyond words and am so happy I took a chance on you 31 ½ years ago. I can never thank you enough.

And finally to God, for gracing me with being among the 18% who survive PC for more than 12 months. For the courage and the peace you give me every day to face this challenge. For the people you surround me with who show me YOUR love in many ways. Lord, I thank you for each and every day I am here on earth.

My "Joseph" husband Tommy who is my partner on this journey. Words could never ever describe my gratitude for what he has done for me for the last year.

My “Joseph” husband Tommy who is my partner on this journey. Words could never ever describe my gratitude for what he has done for me for the last year.

Our Expiration Date

Our Expiration Date

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We all have an expiration date.

In the back of our minds we wonder just when it is. Most of us believe it is out there somewhere around the age of 85 or so, especially if the family genes have produced a few octogenarians. 2010 life expectancy charts for Social Security claim the average person will reach 80.94 years.

Some learn that the date is sooner than we had hoped perhaps through medical diagnosis like me. Do we live our lives any differently after we get this inside information?

I believe God is in control of most expiration dates. Unless, of course free will (a stupid decision) causes us to have an accident or we attempt to take control away from God purposely.

The Bible teaches us the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20″ 2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21 the rules that we should live by to please God. And then He asks us to love one another. “Love one another as I have loved you.”
John 13:34,

It seems so simple this code of conduct. Yet, we all fall short on pretty much a daily basis.

If we have said the sinner’s prayer…..we are promised eternal life with Him in heaven. Does it matter what our expiration date is?

“In my Fathers house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” Psalm 26:3

While heaven on earth is not possible, the world would be a much better place if we lived our lives assuming our expiration date was sooner rather than later.

Our Christian faith tells us heaven is real. Maybe we really have NO expiration date. I am banking on no expiration date and an eternity with my heavenly Father. This cancer may take me from this world, but it can’t destroy my faith in a God who loves me and shows me this love at every second of every day…. but only if I look.

Put your God eyes on and feel the “peace that surpasses all understanding.” Phillippians 4:7
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