Thursday, November 10, 2011

Don't Write It. Read It...

Hi, everyone.  I know so many of you are praying for my upcoming treatment in Chicago.  But things have changed. So I need to update you a bit.

I spiked a very high fever last week that landed me in Cedars for six days.  I now know what a battery of tests mean.  I think I had them all.  I was considered a "medical mystery" because all of the specialists were scratching their heads as to why I had a fever.  It was never really determined, and on the sixth day of my hospitalization which fell on my birthday, (and I played that card for all it was worth!), they discharged me.  They even sang Happy Birthday and presented me with a slice of carrot cake.  So thoughtful.

But those six days in the hospital made Ed and I realize that I couldn't do Chicago for treatment.  First off, I realized I couldn't be away from the kids for weeks at a time.  And secondly, that fever made me visualize what it would feel like to be filled with chemo and have to be in an airport to catch a plane.  If memory serves, I remember wanting to be locked in the trunk of a car for six days following chemo.  I didn't want to eat, talk or exist.  
So we opted to stay at Cedars for chemo.

But in all honesty, this was a very difficult blog for me to write. 

The healing that I thought was coming my way, though not immediately, has yet to be seen.  In fact, my tumors have even grown a tad since originally found.  And I won't go into detail, but boy, did God have a perfect opportunity of revealing His healing while I was in the hospital.  And I mean perfect.  But He didn't.  And I'll be brutally honest, I was pretty devastated.  On a scale from 1 to 10, I was about a -17.  But as my husband reminded me during the last night in the hospital, "Let God finish the story.  Then read it.  Don't write it.  You're still trying to write God's ending to your healing."  

Wow.  So true.  A zinger of truth that hit me right between the IVs.  

And as much as I'm saying, "God, put me on your path," I clearly still have one foot on mine.  Such a very difficult lesson for me to learn.  Still!  To trust.  100%.  And I failed.  Badly.

So to add to my misery, we have a friend who has offered to take care of us during these next fun-filled months.  She's a cancer survivor who was given a 15% chance of living.  That was eight years ago.  She's thriving today.  And what does she eat, you ask?  Oh, just cold canned soup, crackers and tomatoes.  Oh, and lots of bread.   So after she arrived and I was observing her eating habits from afar for a few days, I got really mad.  Really mad.  Here, I'm busting my hump to become a vegan, juice twice a day, eat soy cheese on my pizza (if you can call it that) and choke down 50 supplements a day.  

But what it drove home for me was that the end of this journey clearly lies in God's hands, and not in bottles of tumeric and Green Monsters from Lassens.  For those of you who don't live near me, that's a nasty blended concoction of all things green and yucky.  Which I'm trying to drink.

And all of this anger that has been welling up inside of me this past week has made me tune God out.  I've just ignored Him.  Pretended He wasn't there.  I even walked by my favorite book Jesus Calling and said, "Nope, not gonna read it today. I'm gonna read Country Living right now instead."  (Picture me even sticking out my tongue and saying, "There!")

 I've acted like a brat with a capital B.  As if my plan was sooooooo much better than His.  And for the first time in my life, I'm telling him so.  I'm telling Him that I'm mad at Him.  

And then I turned a corner.  Albeit, a very small corner.  And I began asking Him for His forgiveness.  I have so many days ahead of me in which I can't say that enough. 
 "Please forgive me.  
Please forgive me."  

And even though I'm still wounded, I still feel His comfort.  And I'll be honest again, I don't have the joy-thing mastered yet, but I'm sure it will return.   It always does. 

So the lesson that I learned this month is to stop writing the end of my own story.  Being a writer (or a wanna-be writer), I can come up with 10 different, fabulous endings to my own story.  And I have.  If not more.  When I begin to close my eyes and start writing a great ending in my head, I stop.  I then visualize a large white board in front of me with all of my notes and endings all over it. And then I erase the board completely.  And I take a step backward and open my eyes.  
And I say, "Lord, it's all yours."

So I wrote this blog last night while eating at the Natural Cafe and waiting for my son to finish up basketball practice.  OK, I cheated.  I had my favorite meal there, the Gobble Burger.  Don't tell the vegan police.  

And the plan last night was to start chemo next Tuesday at Cedars.

But tonight the plan changed.  My neice, who always has her thinking cap on, reminded me that I was no longer in a clinical trial as I had been during the first diagnosis.  Brilliant memory because this means I don't have to be tied to Cedars this time around.  In checking with my nurse, she agreed that it would be fine to have my treatment near our home (instead of having to shlep down to Cedars three times a month through April) and I could continue to see my Cedars oncologist every month or so.  And wouldn't you know there's a great UCLA oncology center just three minutes from my house.  Three minutes! 

And to think I was heading for Chicago for chemo this week.  Who knew?  
God knew.

"Lean not on your own understanding, and in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight."
Proverbs 3:5

That's loosely translated by me, (not sure where my Bible is!) so I might have left off a word or two.  But a verse I will continue to lean on...
 every day of my life.


  1. I've been thinking and praying for you. I'm so glad to hear you are back home. Isn't it wonderful how God finds a way to lead us in the right direction. The book Jesus Calling has also become one of my favorites. I try to read it every morning. I hope you have a good and restful weekend. Olga

  2. Was wondering where you were!! You were in that "hotel" with a fever!

    Wow things sure have shifted for you but I'm so proud of you for going with whatever He leads, even if it means turning on a dime and risking whiplash because of the sudden turn! :)

    Keep us current on how it all goes when you begin treatment!!


  3. P.S. -- I just LOVE what your husband said about letting Him write your ending... and your imagery of the white board!


  4. Ruthie,
    Your transparent faith encourages and inspires my heart more than you will ever know. As I read your post, I was convicted on my own bratting behavior and my own disappointing, questioning, anger-ranting times with God. I think it is in the midst of the struggles, these times of wrestling that we come to know HIM even deeper...and we are forever changed because of it. Just look at Jacob...make that Israel...after a night spent wrestling with God.

    I can't wait to read God's story....

    Lifting you up daily....and rejoicing in the gift of your ministry~


  5. I am so so so guilty of writing my own stuff! I would love to have a cup of tea with you and share how God bursted my bubble last weekend. Love ya Ruthie!!!

  6. Ruthie. I am so sad by your post but then oh so encouraged to hear your faith between the lines! Your transparency is a gift to many of us. Thank you for allowing God to shine through you even in the midst (especially in the midst) of one of the most difficult ult trials in your life. Praise God you have a wonderful husband to not only stand by your side but to protect you!

    I want to help you with Jake as much as possible. I live so close to you. I can pick him up to take him to school for you anytime AND bring him home anytime. Bryce is also playing basketball so please call on me, even if it is last minute.
    My cell is 805 796-6160

    Praying for God to shine through it all!

    Your sister in Christ, Melinda Baur