Nichole’s Slices Of Life, 12

19 04 2009

Today is the beginning of Bright Week in the Orthodox Church.  Yesterday was our Easter ( Pascha).  We didn’t get to attend.  Services didn’t even start until 11:00 p.m. last evening.  I decided it wasn’t in Jim’s best interest to attend.  I understand that everyone had a wonderful time.  After the services–a family in our parish had everyone over for a lamb roast.

We did get to attend the Agape Vespers this afternoon.  Then George invited us all back to his home for leftover lamb.  So we got a mini Pascha afterall.  That was the only service we were able to attend as a family.

On Wednesday evening, someone from the parish drove the 30 miles to pick up Jim for the Holy Unction Service.  I didn’t feel like I could make the trip and get home to get in bed early enough to teach school on Thursday.  I’m glad Jim got to attend this service because he was annointed with Holy oil for healing of the mind and body.

Speaking of healing.  I’ve thought much about the topic of healing since our visit to the Veteran’s hospital on Monday.  By mistake , we saw a cardiac surgeon instead of a regular cardilogist.  He was looking through all of Jim’s papers from Vanderbilit when we walked into the room.  Jim was not feeling well at all.  His top blood pressure number had dropped to 81.  This surgeon just bluntly told us that there was nothing that he could do for Jim.  I showed him some pictures that the surgeon at Vanderbilit had drawn for me about Jim’s condition.  He told me that Jim’s surgeon was his boss at Vanderbilit.  He told us that if his boss said that nothing could be done for JIm–then that was final.( So getting back to my thoughts about healing.  I’m  sure that God can heal Jim but it is more than likely that God will not do that.  Instead, Jim and I need to just focus on enjoying each day to the fullest and also obeying everything the doctors tell us to do.)

He told us that they would make an appointment for Jim to see a regular cardiologist who would keep track of Jim’s blood pressure.  Making sure that JIm’s blood pressure is not too high or too low is the only thing that any doctor can do for Jim.  Although we both knew nothing could be done for Jim –it was still difficult hearing that said in such a blunt way.

Thus feeling stunned was how I started my work week out as a substitute teacher. Even so– I had a rich variety of experiences.  During my breaks I read a book about an Orthodox missionary in Albania who discovered she had invasive lobular carcinoma too late.  She had a 5 centimeter tumor when it was found.  I, too, had invasive lobular cancer but when my tumor was found–it measured only 4 millimeters.  Quite a stark contrast.

However, I had a history of breast cancer in my family that was so thick that I began my screenings at age 36.  Women who don’t have a history of breast cancer usually don’t start having mammograms until age 40.  Reading Lynette Hoppe’s story really has shaken me to my very core.  I guess that since I’ve done so well with my cancer that I’ve completely forgotten about how hard it must be to be given the diagnoses of stage IV breast cancer.  And I’ve realized anew how important it is for all women to do a self exam each month–regardless of whether they have breast cancer in their family or not.  If Lynette had known to examine herself each month–she probably would  still be with us.  She died about two years after her diagnosis.  Still, she was a brave , strong Christian woman who died with a tremendous testimony of her faith.  I do want to encourage all of my female readers to take a few minutes each month for a self examination of the breasts.  This might mean the difference between life and death for someone. 

Well, my week ended peacefully with a chance to give something back to my neighborhood.  I participated in cultivating an “adopt a spot” area in my neighborhood.  We planted flowers and made a beautiful little garden setting complete with a concrete bench, concrete birdbath, a bird feeder, and some other lovely things.  I’m so glad I was part of that project. 

After I finished that task–my son and his wife took Jim and I out for lunch.  We then ended our day with attending our little 5 year old grandson Alex’s birthday party.  Saturday was a great day.

Each day I worry too much about Jim.  I’m trying to work on that.  Tomorrow , the 20th– is my birthday.  I’ve already received some very nice gifts from my family.  On the eve of my birthday, I’m pondering about many things.  One of which– is  that  I’m grateful that I’ve been allowed to raise my children and enjoy another generation through my grandsons.  That is a tremendous gift from God–the greatest birthday gift I could ever imagine.

Oh, yes—Jim received word this week that he will begin receiving his Social Security Disability–starting the end of May.  It was a clear cut case and nothing was contested. 

Life holds uncertainties for each of us.  Many times the uncertainities of life turn out to become our greatest blessings.  So may each of you have a blessed week.  I’ll check in again next Sunday evening.

God Bless,





2 responses

21 04 2009

So glad you had a good week, even if it included not so good bluntness. It has a purpose. And, it may be so that all through you can appreciate each day of life.

Cancer took so much from me, but I am now able to see that it gave as well.

I don’t know just what was ahead for Dan had he lived. I don’t know if his Homegoing was a protection for him from unseen or unknown heart ache. He already had more than the average man.

Cancer gave Dan that appreciation of each morning and he was so thankful…His thankfulness has rubbed off on me in an unexplained way.

I see each day as an appointment with others that God has arranged. I don’t always know what the purpose of these appointments are. But, I know that they are filled with things that are unseen and unknown as yet.

Dan left this world a completed man. I don’t know if that would have been possible without the cancer. It drove us both to our knees and we were totally dependent on God…

Yes, I do believe in healing. But, the ultimate healing is in the Homegoing. Of that, I am sure.

Hope you have a good week, my friend.

Your friend,

26 04 2009

Dear Shadowlands,
First of all, I like your new picture. I do appreciate your wisdom. Yes, I agree that each day God has his appointments for us. There is such mystery in that but often we can’t see the picture clearly until later. I’m understanding that by what you say–you have gleaned much in these months of grieving over the loss of your husband. My prayers are still with you.

Your Friend,

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