Do all little girls have a heroine? Come with me, back many moons ago, to the summer I was six years old. A young lady came to our home that summer, to work as a nanny and Mother's helper.
Let me introduce you to my cousin Fern. Fern had a bubbly personality, a sort of youthful exuberance. In my little girl eyes, there was no one like Fern, or as lovely, with her dark wavy hair, and most endearing of all, a laugh that sounded like joy bells.
Fern was kind. As she went about her days duties, she had time and patience for six year old me, when
I “helped” her. I looked up to Fern. Admired her. She was my heroine.
After that summer, Fern married the man of her dreams, and moved a distance away. Later yet, my own family moved to another State, and I rarely had personal contact with Fern.
But I did not forget. One does not forget someone who had such an impact on you.
So it was that I recoiled in shock when the message arrived that Fern had died of skin cancer. I went to the viewing and funeral. There was the man of her dreams – looking wounded and broken, alone now, without Fern by his side. There were five young children, his and Fern's, who were without the presence of a loving Mother. She was gone....Fern was buried on her 33rd birthday.
Fast Forward, July 2021
On July 26, I went to see my nurse practitioner for a routine check-up to renew my prescription for Synthroid. While I was there, I asked her about some skin lesions I had, three on my face and one on my hip. She examined them briefly, then asked another practitioner to come in for a look. She also examined them briefly, then asked a Doctor to come in.
An old-time country Doctor came in almost immediately. Not bothering to introduce himself, he looked at the lesion momentarily and announced gruffly - CANCER.
I guess there really is no good way to announce something like this. Just blurt it all out, and let the chips fall where they may. No use beating around the bush, apparently.
“Doctor No-Beside-Manners” squeezed around on the largest of the lesions for awhile, and while none of the medical personnel were addressing me directly, they were discussing the situation as if I didn't have the ability to hear what was being said. The consensus was that I didn't have enough wrinkles, and there was a possibility that skin grafting would be necessary.
Whoa! First time in all my born days that I heard of wrinkles being a desirable attribute! From this conversation, I assume they were trying to determine if enough loose skin was available to close the wound after the cancer is removed.
The office made an appointment for me to see a skin cancer specialist, whom I saw three days later on July 29. If the first Doctor was a bit lacking in his patient approach, Dr. Kristy Keeney made up for it. She is the kindest, most compassionate Doctor I ever met, and believe me, I've met plenty.
Dr. Keeney removed a spot behind my ear, froze another very small area, and took a biopsy of the largest lesion. We now await the lab results, before proceeding further. They informed me that it will take three to four weeks till we hear from the lab. They also said I should be prepared to go to a larger facility, and that the procedure to remove it takes several hours. So now I wait.
But I don't wait passively. Me being me, I came home from this ordeal and started researching skin cancer. Statistically, there are about 7,000 deaths a year due to skin cancer. Better odds, then say, lung cancer. But really, who of us is promised tomorrow? Cancer or no cancer, our times are written in His book.
Still, any cancer diagnoses is sobering.
And isn't it amazing how the human mind works when news like this is dished out? At the speed of lightening, thoughts and impressions flashed across the screen of consciousness.
I thought of Fern.
I thought of my Dad, almost 91 years of age.. He also has skin cancer in the face. His started on the eyelid,
of all places.. Because of other severe health complications, it could not be removed. It is growing. Eating away at his face.
I thought of my older sister, who has skin cancer removed periodically. It keeps cropping up here and there, sprouting like mushrooms.
I thought of Doctors and Nurses and tests and pokes and prods and needles and blood and surgery and pain. Not exactly images that had me jumping with joy.
In the week since the biopsy, my emotions have been all over the place. It has been a very busy time for us.. For me especially, being hostess and having visitors staying with us for three weeks. Today was different. A very busy, but quiet forenoon. The usual Friday of doing weekly cleaning and laundry. I listened to songs and talked to God by turns. Now this evening the splendid weather has wooed me outdoors.
I strolled around, drinking from the fountain of God's beautiful creation. Birdsong fills the air with piercing sweetness. Butterflies galore sip nectar from the profusely blooming flowers. Hummingbirds buzz around the feeders. I sat entranced
among the flowers for a bit, then moved to my favorite wicker chair on the front porch.
I have heaps and gobs of tasks awaiting my attention tonight yet. Two of my nieces are here for the weekend, and I want to
prepare a special feast for breakfast in honor of daughter Brenda's 21st birthday.
But oh! I need this food for the soul and spirit first. The intense beauty of nature ministers to me in ways I can't describe. It speaks so eloquently of God Himself. There is tranquility here. Peace. Oneness with Him.
It speaks so eloquently of God Himself. There is tranquility here. Peace. Oneness with Him.
He created me, then bought me back with the highest price possible...that makes me twice His own. He lives in me... The living God of Heaven has His address inside my heart.
Cancer does not change that. Cancer does not change my divine purpose, or my calling. Because He is light, I am called to shine. For His glory.
Tonight, all is well. All will be well, and I am grateful and blessed beyond description.