When you're newly diagnosed, the last thing you can imagine is the other side of treatment -- when you're finished with the chemo, the radiation, the surgery. Here's another context to think about, and a story I hope you can keep in mind on tough days:
More than ten years ago three dear friends and I held what would become an annual event that's become so important in all of our lives that one of our members actually rescheduled her meeting with the chancellor of a prestigious university to meet with us. Another frets all year long until she finds EXACTLY the right gift for the EXACT amount of money -- $10.00. And it's always something we love. We even met at the same restaurant and ordered EXACTLY the same meal until the restaurant -- the landmark "Bluebonnet Cafe" in Old Town Spring, closed. We tried another famous haunt in Spring, Wunche Brothers Cafe, but that didn't work. No matter, what we eat and where is not the kicker. What has evolved over time is.
The format of the meal is always the same. Each person says what has happened over the year and ends with usually three things the group then prays for during the year until the next lunch comes around. That is the simple premise. Over the decade we have prayed for:
- a loving companion for our single friend (granted); a child (not granted, but she found joy and great happiness with her adult stepchildren!);
- continued health for a disabled sibling (he continues to hold his own);
- ORGANIZED CLOSETS (we are still working on that one, though progress continues!);
- continued health for all, but especially so as I recovered from cancer (I am now 11 years cancer free);
- emotional, spiritual and physical health: renewed commitments to fitness & faith (a beautiful thing to see each of us grapple with and take each on!).
We had our "Christmas Club" lunch this past Friday and talked about the "early days." The first time we had the lunch I was taking Tamoxifen and unfit for polite society. My first months back at work were tough. My clothes didn't fit correctly and my mind did not work. My moods traveled the scale. And I could not see the horizon, that the discomfort would pass. I couldn't see the horizon and the impact of love over time. Look what has happened, with a small group of women who meet for lunch, talk about the "good stuff" and pray for each other throughout the year. Incredible things have come to pass.
So if you are newly diagnosed, and trying to walk through and on top of your fear, I hope you can take a deep breath, and for one moment, put your eye on the horizon. Because you never know who might be praying for you.