Your Personal Story – His Invisible Hand

… those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.   (Isaiah 40:31)

Theme: God Has A Plan

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3 NIV)

Your Personal Story Meets With His Invisible Hand

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)

Thank you for your patience in that the August 2nd update just did not get done. I hope you had a great holiday weekend!

I call this my Update # 7 and plan to post future weekly updates before my Friday chemotherapy treatments, rather than afterward. Lesson well-learned!


Today I received a phone call from a former co-worker I have not seen or heard from in 15 years.  We laughed at the memories we recalled in our bank management roles and some of the funny things that happened under our watch. Though her life had not been easy over the years, the difficult times had passed. What she faithfully endured had made her a more compassionate, giving, and kinder person than she would have been without them.  Her voice was carried a sweet lightness as she shared about her family and relationships that have enriched her life so immensely. Hers is a story of renewal, hope, and joy and proved to me once again, and that difficulties and pain can work its purpose into our lives to offer us a more meaningful and purposeful life.

Are you living the life you would have planned for yourself?  Have curve-balls been thrown your way that despite your best efforts, you find yourself not living the life you imagined?  What can be done to move beyond disappointment to hope? To see that in the big picture of things the setbacks (which we may have accepted as failures) have actually been the ‘purpose’ that has enabled us to move beyond defeat and into the fullness of who we were meant to be!

The Plans We Make for Our Lives: Joys and the Pitfalls

I have always taken great pleasure in creating plans to achieve my personal and career goals and obtain the maximum benefit of my time and effort. Time is a limited commodity that deserves respect, and for me, that fact is now more certain than it has ever been.  This past June of 2019, having just turned 63, I got hit with news that was worse than my worst-case scenario in a life-time of planning ahead!

I did everything I knew to do in order to deal with the risk of Ovarian Cancer proactively, and yet, the fact remains that despite my best planning efforts, it wasn’t enough.  I could not prevent this “curveball” from altering my plans. I must now place my ultimate trust in God and His purposes so that I may deal with what is not within my control in my life.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)

Health Update:

People have asked me this question, ‘If your mom had Ovarian Cancer, why wouldn’t you go to the Doctor earlier and get it checked out – like in the years preceding your diagnosis? Isn’t there something you could have done sooner?

There are many forms of Ovarian Cancer. Two genes have been found to give an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer – BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. Mutations or mistakes in the DNA code of these genes lead to a high risk for breast or ovary cancer. There may be an increased risk for some other cancers, such as breast cancer in men, and prostate cancer.

The type of Ovarian Cancer that I have been diagnosed with has its origin in the P53 gene mutation. This type of Ovarian Cancer represents a rarer form (5% to 10% of cases) and very difficult to identify until it is in its later stages which makes the challenge to bring it into remission a lot more difficult.

In addition to being faithful to the annual exams recommended for women, my sister and I (back in 2013) both requested CA125 testing. The results of the test were very low – not anywhere close to the warning threshold. My sister followed up with a request for genetic testing to determine the risk that we were potentially subject to. The report concluded, “I have reviewed your family history with our cancer clinic adviser, Dr._____. Your family history is not suggestive of a hereditary risk for cancer.” Our concerns were comfortably alleviated after seeking genetic testing regarding our risk of contracting Ovarian Cancer.

So what were the pitfalls of my plan to deal with the risk of Ovarian Cancer?

The test results were based on the factual information presented from what is known regarding my family history associated with cancer. My grandparents immigrated to Canada, and little is known about my ancestors as they were the only immigrants in their family.  My mother was the first family member known to have had the disease. To qualify for a complete genetic testing analysis, you need two family members to have had the disease.

The percentage of women who end up with Ovarian Cancer as a result of a genetic mutation is very small indeed. That I would fall within that small percentage is a fact that that I can’t change, it falls outside my control.

But there are things I can do that are within my control, and it is up to me to implement a plan that will serve me over the next number of months as I move toward a recovery plan.  Though I have not faced this battle, I have faced many others, and I am no less confident that those same assets are available to me now!

As for me?  I plan to live as long as I possibly can, but His purposes are my most secure plan – so I will trust in His amazing grace!

Prayer Needs:

  • communication issues surrounding my primary care
  • mental fatigue – physical fatigue for 48 hours after chemotherapy treatment days – not fun!
  • specific desires to tackle projects that I am passionate about – that will require several years of my time!

(I believe these passions came from God himself and so I am holding Him to the task of either adjusting my passions or give me the time I need to get them done! That’s His job – I’ll work on mine in the meantime!)

 Praise Reports:

  • I’ve had no nausea or vomiting, and a good appetite
  • A pre-treatment drug plan was added to my regimen to prevent another allergic reaction to the chemotherapy. This was effective, and I had a ‘normal’ session on Friday – this is an excellent example of how the plan will help to mitigate the risk of another critical medical urgency
  • people both near and far that are standing with me on the side of ‘life’ – I see a beautiful cloud of faces when I feel your prayers, read your emails, follow the links to your songs, videos, messages and testimonies and I am so grateful!

My Greatest Challenge:

Though there are too many details to mention, suffice to say – the situation I have found myself in since June 20th, 2019 should have never happened to anyone. This was agreed upon in a discussion with my GP on August 1st, 2019. Add to that was that there was confusion as to who my primary care provider should be. The Cancer Society said it should be my GP, and my GP said it should be the Cancer Society.  I was in between the two and did not know it, and so that’s where the breakdown occurred.

What came to light during a hospital visit on July 30th, 2019, is that due to a lack of medical oversight, the procedure that I had on July 16, 2019, which was to have been reversed after 72 hours had not been done. It had now been two weeks. A doctor whom I had never met before, sat on my bedside and advised me that due to the fact that the procedure had not been reversed when it should have been, I was now subject to a high risk of infection that could result in a 3 week hospital stay under antibiotic care – and result in the abandonment of my chemotherapy treatment with no certain outcome. Four doctors were consulted to establish a protocol for me in the event I contracted an infection. The information I received at my bedside was very troubling to me – I felt like giving up before I even had a chance to fight! Hence I did face the onset of a mental battle. I’ll talk more about that in the next update.

Right now, I need the assurance that there is a plan in place for my primary care. I need to know who is leading it and what it looks like.  PLANS ARE IMPORTANT and sometimes CRITICAL!

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It is my greatest joy to be able to offer a listening ear, hope and prayer, for your journey. Please continue to share emails and things you are doing, pictures of you and your families – they do keep me engaged in the everydayness of the beauty of a good life. I cherish every one of you!

“Mighty God, reveal your plan to all those who are seeking answers today – to the plans you have for them! Cause them to have the faith to trust your ultimate plan – which is the only plan they can trust in.  Amen.”

 

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