Gratitude

Dear Cancer

*In January 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My diagnosis would begin an incredible journey I never would have known to pray for. Nine months later, I wrote this letter.

Dear Cancer,

I am a bit surprised that I didn’t think of writing this letter sooner, but I feel this is the right moment. There are so many thoughts and feelings running through me that I don’t quite know where to start.

When I was first called to go back for another test, I thought nothing of it. This has happened before, so it wasn’t a big deal. Besides, God knew how busy I was, and I simply didn’t have time to be sick. You can imagine my surprise when I found out you were in my breast and apparently not leaving on your own.

Looking back, I never once thought about death. I’m really not sure why, since I had no idea how advanced it was, if surgery was an option, or anything else for that matter. Maybe it was just the shock of those two words no woman ever wants to hear. You never pissed me off, and I’m not sure why. Maybe doing that would somehow give my power away. Maybe I just moved into action mode and haven’t stopped.

I have felt your affects in so many ways. Physically I will never be the same. My body has and continues being transformed. Any modesty I had was stripped. Every hair on my body was lost. You stripped me of the things that most made me feel like a woman sexually. You stripped me down emotionally by forcing me to depend on others because I simply couldn’t do things for myself.

I just realized something. All my focus has been on God, not you. Maybe all I saw you as was a catalyst for God’s plan for me. Since I haven’t been mad at God, why would I be made at you? WOW! Whatever I feed grows…I have been focusing on God and that relationship has grown. If I had chosen anger, well, there is no telling how different things would have gone.

For every “less than desirable moment” there were and are hours of joy filled with the creation of beautiful memories. Each hour lying in bed, unable to muster up enough energy to even walk down the stairs, strengthened my resolve to do something fun, fulfilling, or helpful with someone else when I was finally able.

In other words, each thing you seemingly took from me in fact gave me so much more. You gave me the ability to see who I truly am and what I am really capable of. You took people who were only here for a season or a reason and gave me people that were willing and able to walk with me on this journey. You took any doubt I ever had about how much my God loves me and replaced it with a level of faith I never knew I could have.

When comparing everything you gave me and everything you took away, there really isn’t anything to be angry at. The balance sheet isn’t close to being even, and it is definitely in my favor. Granted I would never have prayed for you…what a weird prayer that would be.

Maybe the reason I didn’t write you sooner was because I needed to be this far down my journey with the perspective I have at this very moment…I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter. Everything has a time and place, and this is yours.

Just as I accept my attributes I choose to accept you. You don’t define me…not even close. You do, however, help provide a perspective of myself, my life and many other things, all of which I am incredibly grateful for.

Even though I have no idea of what the future holds, thanks to you I know I can face it. It feels strange writing that, but it’s true. You aren’t my friend nor my enemy. You are the tool God believed I needed, providing the lessons I needed to make it to whatever the future holds.

You have helped me find new purpose and meaning in my life. I am going to use you to help others and to become the person I was created to be. What can I hate about that?
I am grateful God believed I was strong enough to endure all I have and that I am a stronger and better person as a result.

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