Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thank You, and I Love You

When I posted an entry the other day about an upcoming breast biopsy, I prefaced it with a comment about possibly breaching the rules of etiquette. Some of you asked me why I thought that.

No, it wasn't because the story was about my breast. I was concerned that some people would think I should keep my "minor health worry" private because it would be inconsiderate to cause you worry when I didn't know yet whether there was a major health problem.

An Early Christmas Present for Me

After only one day, I got my biopsy results. When I realized it was the nurse from the radiology center and not my doctor, I knew it was good news.

There were no cancer cells. It is fibrocystic tissue, which is typical with my type of dense, lumpy breast tissue. The calcification (hardening) has increased over time, so they will do close monitoring. I go back in six months for another diagnostic mammogram.

But there is no cancer.

To quote the nurse, "Merry Christmas!"

Oh, thank you Jesus. Thank you to everyone for your love and prayers.

Monday, December 19, 2016

More Like a Screw Driver

I appreciate everyone's prayers and support in regards to my needle biopsy today. I had a bit of nerves in the morning, but by the time I got there I felt remarkably calm--and oddly detached as I took in all the details of this most bizarre experience.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A One Hundred Percent Chance

So I'm going to tell you something that I think might go against the rules of etiquette, though I don't know why that should be the case. If this is in poor taste or inconsiderate, please forgive me. I don't want to cause you concern, but I do need to share my heart with you. Here goes...

Tomorrow I go for a needle biopsy of an abnormality in my breast. When I was called back after a recent screening mammogram, I was only a little concerned. I'd been called back after my first one six years previously, and all had been well. Like many of the women on my mom's side of the family, I have very dense, lumpy breast tissue, so it's not uncommon to have problems with mammography.

Still, I was pretty nervous when I went on December 8 for my diagnostic bilateral (two-sided) mammogram. Everyone at the center was exceptionally kind, which gave me great comfort. After a very thorough, somewhat uncomfortable exam, the technician told me I needed to wait for the radiologist to review my images in case he might want more views.

As I waited, I sort of prayed with my whole being, not with my thoughts, but rather with a leaning in toward my Father. When I felt my palms getting sweaty, I thought, "Quiet me with your love. I trust you. I trust you."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Hope Not Seen

Remember how afraid I was a few weeks ago about starting to substitute teach? I'm not even sure when it happened, but recently I realized that subbing has become a delight. Once or twice a week, I step into the unknown with that familiar flip of nerves that I felt in my belly every morning as a 7th-grade Reading teacher: What challenges will I face today? But the unease is tempered by an exhilarating sense of possibility: What children and teachers will I connect with today?

Probably the best thing to come out of subbing is the opportunity to observe other teachers when I have a planning period free. When it first occurred to me to use my free time this way, I hesitated to request it, but not one teacher has turned me down. They've graciously welcomed me into the most mundane of daily routines and even into their most challenging classes, either when nothing exciting was happening, or when too much excitement was happening.

What I've learned is that other teachers struggle. Other teachers are ordinary just like me. And despite all the stress and the challenges, they love their jobs! Better still, all their hard work is making a difference, because they are loving and being loved.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Like Ten Husbands

Do you ever make yourself laugh? I mean, really laugh out loud... when you're all by yourself? I did this morning, on a solo walk with Jesus. As I walked, I thought of the revelation God had given me on my last solo walk: that I don't have to be married to enjoy the forever love I've always craved.

In the background, I must have also been thinking of the chapters I'd recently read in 1 Samuel. The book opens with Samuel's mother Hannah mourning her barrenness. I've always loved these lines, in which her husband Elkanah clumsily tries to comfort her: "Hannah, why are you crying?... Why won't you eat? Why are you troubled? Am I not better to you than 10 sons?"

Monday, September 26, 2016

Until the Day I Die

On Saturday night, I came across a very moving video on Facebook. If you have 3 minutes and 29 seconds, I hope you will watch it: Man Sings to 93-Year-Old Dying Wife. Just make sure to have some Kleenex handy.

I watched it with tears streaming down my face. The woman is blind, and her husband is nearly deaf, but they can still communicate their love beautifully.

"You're my sweetheart," she says.

"I was your best lover..." he replies.

"Oh, I know it," she agrees.

When he starts singing, she murmurs, "Behave yourself."

After their granddaughter repeats her words, he laughs heartily. "I'm always good."

As I reflected on this example of the truest romance, I thought of my own grandparents, Verna and Paul. Now if Grandpa ever serenaded Grandma, no one ever told me about it, but their love was apparent in other ways. Example: When Grandpa had to go into the nursing home for care around the clock, Grandma visited him every day. Although he could no longer speak, his face lit up each time he saw his true love, and I'm told that on those rare days when she could not come, he was downcast.

My cousin Jolinda captured these beautiful pictures a few years back:

I love that last one of their aged, tender hands, their golden rings sparkling with the promise they kept to one another for over 70 years. I know from transcribing their autobiography that their marriage took them through times for "the worse" as well as for "the better." Through it all, their commitment held strong.

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