Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hold the Mayo...

Yesterday I went down to Cedars for my routine cat scan, blood work and doctor appointment.  I also had to have an ultrasound for my recent kidney surgery.  It was a very long day.  So long that I didn't look forward to ending my day with my favorite exams - the lovely pelvic and rectal exams.   As I was waiting for my doctor to come in and examine me, I had mentioned to someone that I think Dr. Karlan should consider the fact that I’ve been here all day, underwent all these procedures, and that I shouldn’t have to go undergo two more exams. I was kind of kidding, but kind of not.  As Dr. Karlan walked in, she greeted me with a big smile and, “Happy Thanksgiving!  No exams today.  You’ve been through enough.”  A little birdie had told her what I had said.  She threw in a Christmas gift too - foregoing a December exam because I’m doing so well.  
With all that good news, I should have popped the champagne cork when I got home.  Such good news needs to be celebrated.  But my personality isn’t to summon all my friends and do so.  Instead, I sit before God and thank Him with tears streaming down my face.
When I got home last night, I read through some emails.   My nurse had sent me Sunday's L.A. Times article about Cedar’s recent ovarian cancer walk.  In it, it mentioned that a woman had organized the annual event in honor of her mom who was also diagnosed with my stage of cancer.  Only the mom wasn’t at the event.  I think you can figure out why.  And all of a sudden, my joy from such a great day turned to tears again, but this time, for a different reason.
When I was diagnosed last year, I felt I received an expiration date on myself.  I felt like a jar of mayonnaise.  And I get that we all are walking around with expiration dates -- some just not as faded and hard to read as others.  
But what I need to remember is that God will give me my expiration date.  Not medicine.  I know several cancer survivors who should not be here today.  I should not have seen one at my bible study this week. I should not have had lunch with one last week. And I should not have received an encouraging card from another last month.  All of their oncologists are probably scratching their heads and wondering why they beat the odds they were given.  But they’re here.  Because it’s God’s will for them to be here.  He will determine our expiration date.
My daughter’s sweet teacher (also a cancer survivor) gave me a verse of scripture before my last surgery.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”  -- Psalm 20:7.
She added, “Substitute doctors, hospitals, chemo, whatever, in place of chariots and horses.”
So true.
So from bad, comes good -- right?  After shedding some tears and then remembering that my life is in God’s hands, I was flooded with perspective.  As I walked into my family room and could hardly find the surface of my coffee table because of dirty soccer socks, shin guards, a lap top, school papers, water bottles (you get the messy picture), my old ways fell away.  
I would have barked at my kids for being kids.  For not cleaning up the mess they left behind.  Instead, I walked into the kitchen to find them making dinner for themselves.  Milk, cheese, bread, cereal, you name it, it was everywhere.  And it wasn’t pretty.  It was gorgeous.  I just stood there and stared at them with tears in my eyes.  Taking it all in.  
Messy counter, and all.


  1. Exactly. Those are the very things -- the typical, customary "annoyances" of everyday life -- that become the jewels in everyday life when one is standing in shoes like yours.

    I am SOOOO happy that they gave you a break and decided to forego some of those exams! And next month's checkup, too!! Woo Hoo!!

    Get out the eggnog -- gather the kids -- sit on the floor with pizza (well... maybe not WITH the eggnog, ick...) and make another mess. Why not?

    Ruthie -- you rock. An email is coming your way forthwith! :)


  2. Ruthie, awesome post. By the way, thank you for encouraging Mary the way you have. Also, I appreciate the comments you made about where and in whom we place our ultimate trust. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, the word of the Lord to me was that I should respect and honor the doctors for their having honored God's image in them through their excellence and their desire to heal, but not to cross over into supposing they have the authority to pronounce life or death on me. As His child and His creation, I am subject to His ultimate authority, and from that moment on, that has been a great joy and strength to me. Thanks for the reminder! - Russ

  3. I received a lovely package from you last night. You cannot imagine the timing... PERFECT. I mentioned you in my blogpost today, so if you have a moment, pop over there and read.

    I have not had time to go through your blog, but will do so tonight when I have time to soak it in. I can already tell... you are awesome and inspiring!

    Teri @