Snapshots of a Mother’s Cancer Experience — Pt 8: How Does One Prepare?

When I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2000, I came face-to-face with my own mortality—and learned some profound lessons that transformed my view of reality. I would never sign up for my cancer experience, but neither would I trade away the treasures mined from it.

Above all, I learned to live with the awareness that we all really do have an impending, inescapable appointment awaiting us. We all have an appointment with God. No matter how busy or distracted we are or how distant that appointment may seem, one telephone call can change everything.

My call came when I was a 40-year-old mother of two preschool children and a happily married wife. The following post is Part 8 in “Snapshots of a Mother’s Cancer Experience,” a series that chronicles my journey through diagnosis, surgery, and beyond. (You can find a chronological list of the previous Snapshots here.)

Twilight Zone
Friday, July 28

Roger Dean’s soon-to-be “big boy” bed is a twin mattress on the floor in the boys’ bedroom. Roger Casey and I sprawl across it now, holding each other, weeping.

Until the surgery is over and the final biopsy results are back, we won’t know how far the cancer has spread. But we both have sensed the Lord telling us to prepare—this may be it.

The boys sleep. All is quiet.

I’m amazed by the space we have to communicate with each other—the leisure we have to process the news of my cancer. It’s as if the Lord slowed time for us. I luxuriate in the awareness of how precious these moments are.

♥ ♥ ♥

cancer experience


What is important now?
Saturday, July 29

I’ve debated how to best invest this weekend. Do I prepare to live … or prepare to die?

I had hoped to finish organizing the boys’ room this weekend. Adjusting our 900 sq. ft. living space to accommodate our growing family has required time, focus, and planning. The work has progressed in stages.

While we were a childless couple, my writing desk and Roger’s music studio filled our second bedroom. Anticipating the arrival of our first baby, Roger swiftly condensed and relocated his studio to our bedroom. I waited until Roger Dean was ready to sleep alone, and then I gave away my writing desk to make room for his crib.

But more work is required.

Before my diagnosis, I had been driven to transform our sons’ room into the nearly completed playroom/sleeping quarters it has become. Now I envision their closet as a play center, but I need Roger Casey to put up shelves. Is that still important when our time together as a family may be so limited?

(Does that make it more or less important? How does one decide?)

Roger says he will do whatever I ask; his objective is to serve me. Wrestling doubts and confusion, I imagine how I would feel with the shelves finished—and I ask him to put them up.

He works hard, customizing his materials to fit the boys’ closet. Finally, at 11 p.m. he is finished. And through his labor, my vision for a special play center for our sons has become a reality.

I crawl into bed, exhausted, yet grateful and deeply satisfied.

cancer experience

♥ ♥ ♥

Have you faced (or are you facing) a serious health situation? We would be honored to pray for you. Come back next Monday to read more. And in the mean time, we would love to hear from you.

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