After every third treatment cycle, my oncologist sends me for a CT scan and echo-cardiogram to get an idea of how my body is responding to the chemotherapy. I've completed six treatment cycles so it's time for another CT and echo-cardiogram. I go again Monday this week. My previous one in June revealed that ten of the eleven initial spots on my lungs were gone. We are optimistic that we will see improvement in this one as well.
Kevin's mom wanted to gather a group of her friends and fellow prayer warriors to pray for me this past week in preparation of Monday's CT scan. She asked permission and if I felt comfortable with it. I told her that would be fine. I must admit that while I was okay with it, I was secretly very anxious and wasn't looking forward to it. While I am very friendly and outgoing, what I don't do very well with is being the center of attention or being "fussed over." Kevin and I talked about it. I prayed about it...that I would be open and accepting to the love, concern, and blessings that would be sent heavenward on my behalf. I already believed in the power of prayer. It just would have been more comfortable for me if everyone had prayed for me in their own homes. Then, I wouldn't have to deal with the attention. Note to self: Never let pride stand between you and the many blessings God wants to bestow on you.
As I've said before, cancer is humbling. If you don't believe me, just shave your head, pluck your eye lashes and brows, and take a good, long look at yourself in the mirror. Better yet, be too tired or lazy to clean your house and have a visitor drop by. Wait, have a visitor drop by to bring you a meal so that you won't have to cook while you are bald, lashless, browless, tanless, wearing your pajamas, and cooking cupcakes with your 4 year old after his bedtime because you finally found the energy to spend time with him. I know that no one who has taken time out of their busy schedule to do something nice for me or my family would judge me that way, but when you are fully aware of just how little control you have over your own life, events like this ensure that you stay humble. I digress...
Wednesday morning, Joyce's friends, a room full (Mary Jo White, Barbara Roy, Anne Campbell, Judy Bates, Susan Johnson, Addie Pasley, Julie Battaile, Jane Sullivan, Fr. Henry) and many others who were elsewhere, came together to pray for me and my family. God answered my prayer, lifted all my concerns, and opened my heart to acceptance of the many blessings being sent to him on my behalf. I felt His presence. What a beautiful thing... to see a room full of those who have truly suffered great losses on earth and who are of different religions, but believing in the same God, come together, their faith unshaken, to submit their pleas to God on your behalf.
It was all beautifully organized by Kevin's mother. Each person brought a verse of special meaning to them, one that has comforted them during troubling times, to our prayer meeting. They were each so relevant to what we've been going through. I wasn't able to write them down. So if any of you are reading this and wouldn't mind, please send them to me via email or postal mail. I would like to keep them. We prayed the "Our Father" and sang a short prayer. Each lady laid hands on us and said her own personal prayer. Fr. Henry anointed me and led us all in prayer together. We shared breakfast pastries and coffee/tea afterward. Thank you, Joyce and everyone. I'm truly grateful. The feeling I had when I left was very similar to the way I felt when I held the Bible during our mission and witnessed Fr. Gus show his adoration for God's holy word by kissing it. The prayers were said for me, but they weren't just about me. I was specially picked to be a part of this part of God's plan.
I'm reminded of what Keith Merritt wrote just after his wife, Gayle, died from pancreatic cancer. "The love and mercy of God is so unparalleled, it's hard to fathom. I can't tell you in an email how powerful, how totally consuming suffering is in finding Christ at the crossroad of self and selflessness. Suffering is joy."
Merritt, K. B. (2007). E-Mails from Heaven: A Journey to the Cross. p. 35.