The title of this post is taken from a Christmas song Bing Crosby sang called
“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,”
by, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882, – 1867)
I haven’t been around much since July with good reason. Some of you have written to inquire about me and I simply haven’t been able to answer all of those who read and have become my friends.
Xanga became too much for me. Many other things became too much in the past 6 months. I should have written a post stating I was taking a Xanga break. But at the time, I didn’t know if I would completely give up posting on Xanga forever. I didn’t want to commit to that and, so, I did nothing.
I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to write, in the future, and I haven’t been carrying my camera everywhere, so I don’t see many pictures in future posts at this time.
But, my story and explanation . . .
As I began radiation therapy in July for my hip and neck cancer “hot spots,” I became very weak again. My sister in law did almost all the cooking, unless Jesse cooked meat outside on the grill and Rissy made a side item or two.
During that time of radiation the girls began public school. It was weird for me to have them gone all day, and I also found relief in the break I had gained by being alone, with Angie (sil) for company. I finished my radiation and things (tumors) shrank back (disappeared) and lab reports for tumor markers returned to normal ranges.
November 1st, my brother in law found a great job and his family (the 5 people living with us) moved to their own place. Angie and I had become very close and it was a very emotional time for me. I didn’t want to let go of our daily chats and shared living, but I knew that was the normal thing for them – to have a place of their own. I felt so torn and missed Angie like part of my heart had been ripped out. We still haven’t seen each other that much – due to illnesses running through both families.
Jesse was finishing up his lawn cutting jobs and believed he heard from God to NOT work this winter and to take care of his family. I loved having his company to fill the void Angie had once filled. But, I had NO IDEA WHAT WAS ABOUT TO COME.
Thanksgiving came and went. I was beginning to get into a routine, getting the girls off to school and enjoying Jesse’s company.
I began to have a pain in my abdomen. I saw my regular doctor immediately who ordered an ultra sound of my gall bladder. I was sure I was about to have it taken out. The pain was sharp and was beginning to become continuous. I developed a cough from deep in my lungs that hurt my abdomen. I wondered if I had radiation pneumonia from the previous radiation done to my hip and neck. Maybe it wasn’t a gall bladder problem but a bruised diaphragm. I couldn’t figure out what could hurt so bad that a deep breath literally took my breath away with pain.
While I was having my abdomen tested (with every test possible!!) I developed an almost complete blindness in my right eye.
How people get through things like this without having a close relationship with God is beyond my comprehension. I immediately thought “brain tumor” and “this looks like the end.” But despite my “feelings” of what might come next, I was at peace with God working His will in my life.
What was actually found was a tumor IN my retina (more complicated than a tumor on the back of the eye ball) and reports were coming in (DURING the eye exam on a Friday morning) that I was to come back to the oncology office that same afternoon to begin chemo therapy for lung and liver tumors.
How do people do it without God?
I went from a morning eye appointment to an afternoon cancer treatment. Before leaving the eye doctor‘s office, he prayed with us. It was SO AWESOME!!! I’ve never had one doctor do that with me in all the different things I’ve had wrong throughout my looooong life!
When I saw my oncologist she walked in and gave us a hug and smiled at me without saying a word. She likes us a lot and I knew the news she had was difficult for her to tell. I started the conversation to break the ice – “It’s seriously, VERY bad, isn’t it?” She said shook her head and sighed, “Yesss it is.” There were tumors in the bottoms of each lung and tumors in both lobes of the liver. There is usually a 3 month life span with chemo, but she admits she’s seen some people live 2 – 3 years. She wanted to started radiation on my eye and continue the chemo therapy for 3 weeks – then re-evaluate. She told Jesse to let me eat and drink whatever I wanted. Sounded like an “end of life” RX to me. She said, “Anything that makes you happy - eat it, do it, see it . . . “
The 18th of December, I saw a partner at the eye specialist’s office who dealt with retina problems. I don’t think he was a Christian like the first doctor. He put me through a gazillion tests and finally did an ultrasound of my right eye. Why all the tests? The tumor had completely disappeared!!!! The partner didn’t know what had happened (or why it happened or how) but through pictures and imaging – he said the tumor was totally absent. He remembered that the first doctor prayed with us and joked that we were sure lucky.
Why is it hard for some people to give God the credit??? He said the previous area showed normal healing taking place. Also, my vision in that right eye was better than when I’d been tested to wear glasses 2 years ago. So my glasses were OVER correcting my right eye. (since then, I think my former near-sightedness has returned).
I had been legally blind in that one eye. You can imagine my relief. Not only was I unable to type, read, or do anything requiring depth perception (I ruined many tubes of lipstick trying to get the lid back on them!) but I had horrible headaches due to my vision being uneven.
Christmas came and went. I began gathering my personal papers and getting things in order (should I die, soon) and, of course, we prayed for another miracle. I continued to get dressed each day and fix my hair (a wig, now) and “act” like I was healed, despite the difficulty it sometimes took me.
After asking for so many miracles, and after God delivered me from so many potentially horrible things, I began to wonder if He was out of miracles or if I had used up all of my requests. Funny how we assume God will tire of us, like we tire of someone who constantly asks US for things over and over again!
We decided to proceed with our life like I was going to be healed. Jesse said we needed an economical, family car to drive (we sold my beautiful Suburban for that purpose in September) and we looked everyday at the Hondas, Kias, Toyotas, Nissans, etc. I jokingly said I needed a Lexus.
All of the economy cars had hard seats – something I simply can’t buy due to my back. They were sporty inside and I’m more of a cushy, luxurious person. I was unimpressed by all the bells and whistles the cars we look at contained. Jesse began to pray, “Lord, you can bring the car to us. I don’t want to limit you to ME finding a car on a lot.” We had looked everywhere (the week before Christmas and the week after) from an hour south of us to a half hour north of us and had found nothing that suited me. When I saw a car drive by I’d asked Jesse, “What’s that?” and he would say, “An Infiniti” or “A Lexus,“ to which I’d reply, “Of course it’s a Lexus! I must be a Lexus person!!!” and then, we’d laugh.
Sunday, December 30th, the neighbor across the street (who buys and sells used cars as a source of second income) drove a car to our house into the driveway and said, “See what Cherylyn thinks of this and let me know.“ Jesse had spoken with the neighbor about our unsuccessful searches.
I didn’t know what was wrong, but Jesse soberly looked at me and asked me to come into the garage. I felt like something was seriously wrong. You know, the look someone has before telling you the cars have been egged!
In the driveway was a silver car. It was dark outside and I asked Jesse, “What’s this?” He said, “A Lexus. Merry Christmas!” It was a used LEXUS, but who cared???!!!! I’d never sat in one but it was perfect! It had “some” bells and whistles, but not too many. The seats are softly padded and adjustable with heated seats. The inside trim is nothing sporty with simple wood trimming on the doors, dashboard, and steering wheel. PERFECT for me and $7,000 instead of $30k to $35k.
And, as we had prayed, God brought it to us, we didn’t even have to go across the street!!!!!!
Monday morning, New Year’s Eve, the onoclogist’s nurse called to say the reason my abdominal pain had subsided was because 3 different liver tests showed huge improvement AND my tumor marker count had come from over 400 down to 160 (remission would be around 30) and it suggested the tumors were shrinking in my liver and lungs. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
Our anniversary was January 2nd and we celebrated by eating at a nice restaurant and, afterward, driving around the town in our Lexus! We didn’t have plans and didn’t know what else to do. We had a babysitter and hated to come home after only an hour and a half!!!
Here’s a verse I quoted from the song, above –
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God isn’t dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
God is so good. He is still around and waiting for us to talk to Him. Over, and over, and over again. He wants to hear from us and He definitely wants to help us. The evil in the world (like cancer) will not prevail, as it is covered by the blood of Jesus and all that He did for us.
No, God isn‘t dead nor doth He sleep.
In Christ ~