Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blindsided

Last Friday we went to my surgical appointment expecting to possibly hear that I needed chemo. I had settled that in my soul. We joked around in the waiting room. Tony did his best "Rocky" imitations and sang "Eye of the Tiger." (My nurse's name is Rocki.) We laughed and went into the examining room with a cautious optimism. We were not expecting to hear my left breast is full of "invisible" cancer and that a double mastectomy is warranted. We were blindsided.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm so thankful cancer is not in my lymph nodes and they found the remaining "cult" of cancer. The margins were clear on the original areas of concern, so it's really a blessing they had additional tissue to test and the results were so unmistakable. But I can't help but feel deeply disappointed. The first surgery was hard enough. I'm still swollen and sore and itchy. My incisions feel like a thousand fire ant bites. 

Lately at my lowest moments, I feel like everything I've endured up to this point has been for nothing. Useless suffering. I have to start all over. And it will be worse this time! More painful with a longer recovery. The choices for reconstruction resemble a Chinese menu and all the options look pretty godawful. But I can't stay there in that state of mind. I have to press through this and find my joy again.

A dear friend sent me a special gift not long after I was diagnosed. It's a Bottle of Tears. (And it's a medical fundraiser. Be sure to check it out.) The scripture that is placed in the bottle has comforted so much the past few days.

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book."
Psalm 56:8

You see, my suffering hasn't been useless. While I may not understand it on this side of heaven, I find the deepest comfort in knowing that my God has seen my suffering. He is keeping track of every tear, every trial, every disappointment. I was reminded of this at church on Sunday. Since my surgery I've been listening over and over to "Ever Be" by Bethel Music (video below). It's my promise to God that I will always praise Him no matter what happens in this journey -- a promise I made before my second diagnostic mammogram way back in March. The song was second in the worship set, and it felt like a warm hug. My favorite song played just for me to remind me that He remembers my promise and it pleases Him! I sang and I cried.

The challenge for you and me is to make sure our suffering does count for something. I'm already searching for ways that I can use my "useless" surgery to encourage someone else. What useless suffering have you experienced in your life? How can you make that suffering useful by helping someone else?

This Thursday I should find out more about my double mastectomy. My parents have gone back to New York and will return before the next operation. Thank you for all of your prayers and support so far. It's a comfort to know that my army still stands with me even as I go back into battle.

Prayer requests:
  • Safe travel for my parents as they drive home today and tomorrow.
  • Quick timing for my next surgery. Let's go already!
  • No chemo. Breastless and bald sounds like agony.

Love, 
Emily

And now my favorite song... "Your praise will ever be on my lips..."




Should you feel led to donate to my medical fund visit: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/join-forces-in-emily-gregory-s-battle-with-cancer/344536

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