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Not my plan

It’s been a while since I have posted. If you are following my story, you know that last week I went in for a liver biopsy which was supposed to be a simple “in and out” procedure. The simple procedure turned into 2 ER visits in about 8 hours, a four-day stay at the hospital, and another round of at-home antibiotics for the next 2 - 4 weeks. It was definitely a huge ‘left turn’ for me based on what I had planned to do that week. We were supposed to have my parents visit us from out of town and then I was to start my treatment.

One thing I am learning about living with cancer is that there really isn’t anything that goes as planned. That has really challenged my nature that likes plans and to understand why things are happening or why it is going (or not going) a certain way. That’s just the way my engineering and process improvement mind works. But I am learning that with cancer, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t go as planned. God doesn’t work according to my human plans. I am learning to trust that His plans are better than what I can see or understand in my limited view.

As we were checking out of the hospital on Sunday, we got a call that our son Timothy had stepped on a pipe (while playing hide and seek) and our basement was now flooding and the water to the house had to be shut off. I wish I could say that I was ready to “go with the flow” in the moment, but honestly, that is not what I felt. I was frustrated with Timothy for not being more careful and aware of his surroundings (this is something we have been working on) and after four days in the hospital, I just wanted to get back to the comfort of home and my own bed. Instead, we left the hospital and had to go stay at a friend's house for a couple of days while the basement was cleaned up and the waterline to the house was fixed. It wasn’t the way I had planned, and definitely not what I wanted to do. And in the moment, I actually missed some of the blessings that God was giving me.

Monday was spent at the Oncology department at Emory. My blood infection has definitely thrown another wrench into my treatment “plan”. I could feel it. I was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer 6 weeks ago and still haven’t started chemo. At times, I can feel anxious about getting started with treatment.

By Monday night I was in a fog. Between the liver biopsy, rigors, the blood infection, four days in the hospital, a flooded basement, staying at a friend's house, and a full day of medical details (all of which didn’t seem too encouraging based on the blood infection) and being back on IV antibiotics at home every 8 hours, I felt really disconnected from God and kind of numb. I felt discouraged.

I had dinner scheduled that night with the Dream Team to talk about plans for the week and things we could share about the journey. Honestly, I didn’t feel inspired and I didn’t really want to go. But I went anyway. I have an incredible group of friends that listened to me share and process the past couple of days. They weren’t looking for me to be inspiring or motivational or have a vision for the week. They just listened. They supported me and they just let me be where I was at. They were just with me in the process.

One thing I have committed to is being real through this process. I don’t want to come off as this mechanical, optimistic, strong person who never has down days. That is just not reality. I am learning that God can change my perspective in the circumstances especially when I am reminded that He is in control and that all things are possible. It changes the negativity that wants to linger.

Everything changed on Tuesday morning. It is amazing what one phone call from my spiritual coach, mentor, and pastor did to change everything for me. He is in Lima right now working with the people I was with when I started to get sick. We haven’t had a chance to talk much but God gave him to call me and share a scripture with me. It was exactly what I needed at that moment. I know it was God because it changed me. It changed my outlook. It helped me. It lifted my spirits. It wasn’t a man or even the scripture, but it was God’s Spirit that came and helped me when I was struggling.

There are always good things happening. ALWAYS. For me, I am learning that sometimes I miss the good things happening because my perspective prevents me from seeing them in the moment. That’s why perspective is so important and I have really needed God to help me have a perspective of hope and possibility rather than one of discouragement and limitations. On Tuesday morning, God changed my perspective and that changed everything.

There’s a lot to share about the past week and especially that call on Tuesday. And you’ll hear more about the turnaround in the upcoming episodes of the podcast. (That’s a teaser to get you to listen to the podcast…. But seriously it is a lot to write and I feel like I express it better in the podcast).

I mostly just wanted to write and share about the week. It was a challenging week. I’ve had to hold on and really practice trusting God when things aren’t going according to my plan. I am learning to embrace each moment - including the harder ones. Especially the harder ones. It is the hard days where we get stronger.

From Left to Right - A picture journal of Sunday and Monday:

1. Back on IV antibiotics for another blood infection.

2. Timothy using the shop vac to soak up the water on the brand new carpet.

3. Our dear friends Heidi and Linds hosted us for a "retreat" while our basement was cleaned up and water was turned back on.

4. A moment that I missed in the moment. Thankfully Laura captured it - a little time at the piano to play while the boys watched.

5. Back at the hospital on Monday or a day of oncology appointments. 6. Holding on to the most important medicine of all - a cheerful heart that trusts God.

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