What Cancer Has Cost

Cancer has cost me.

My appendix, my ascending colon and half of my transverse colon, a portion of my small intestine. My gall bladder. My entire blood volume. My hair, though not all of it, cut to make it manageable, and falling out as the cancer takes its toll on my body. My curves, my body’s reserves, every last store of fat, iron, calcium, pound after pound until I hardly recognize my skeletal frame.

Cancer has cost us.

Our home in South Africa. Our life with our family and community there.

My nursing relationships with my babies. Precious time with them.

Thousands upon thousands of dollars.

Time, energy. Focus. My job in Westville, my calling to serve the children of our community.

My husband’s job, his calling. Time, energy, focus from him. This has cost him more than I can say.

And now it may cost more.

I’m laying in a hospital bed praying that the antibiotics work. That they will penetrate the walls of the abscesses that have formed in my fallopian tubes and my ovaries. Because if they don’t, then there is a chance that this cancer will cost me those.

Infection spread through my pelvis and now there is a fight, for my fertility, for future children, for the longing of my heart to carry life in my womb and birth beautiful babies made of love into this world that needs love, to hold nurslings to my breasts and feel the love of our nurturing God, who comforts us as a mother comforts her child, who gathers us as a hen gathers her chicks, flow through me.

There is hope. For healing, for peace, for joy. There is peace and joy. But oh, tonight, there is grief, grief for what this cancer has cost me and may cost me yet.

Grief is not the same as fear. I am so grateful for Jesus’ perfect love, a love that casts out fear. I have peace and joy in that love. And one day, there will be peace and joy without grief.

But for now, peace and joy exist simultaneously with grief.

Isaiah 66:13 “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

What I’m listening to:

Praise You In This Storm by Casting Crowns

and

You’re Not Alone by Meredith Andrews

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One thought on “What Cancer Has Cost

  1. Hi Anne. I’ve been thinking a lot this last year about happiness and joy not being the same, and about how I can be happy at some level when things are not in a good place. I guess I mean some peace about my future even when my present has been really hard. What you said above made me think about this. I hope for you that the time of peace without grief may arrive very soon. I thought of you on my walk in the rain this evening.

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