As I begin to share more of my cancer journey with you, I want to state that this is solely to bring honor and glory to God! I began to read back through my journal and it brings back memories of some of the most difficult days in my life.
In recent days I have had conversations with some people who have shared a bit of their journey with me. I hope this will be an encouragement to those who need to be encouraged.
My family and I had already been met with some of the darkest days in the 12 months prior to my diagnosis. We had lost my brother suddenly and unexpectedly almost exactly a year before hearing I had cancer. Then six months later we lost my mother-in-law after a short, but difficult battle with cancer. And now, here we were once again with another HUGE devastation. We call this our 18 months from hell.
My journey began on April 1, 2004. April Fool’s Day! Only there wasn’t anything to laugh about that day. When the doctor called me at work and said “I’m sorry Mrs. Burt, but it is cancer,” I knew he wasn’t joking. Let’s face it, that would be a pretty bad April Fool’s joke. I couldn’t believe I received that call at work, but in retrospect, is there really a good way to say “you have cancer?”
That day was filled with much emotion. My son was a senior in high school and that night he was having senior pictures made. My daughter was a freshman in high school. I wanted the night to be special. We made the decision to tell the kids when we got home from pictures that night.
I was so excited about graduation and all the fun senior stuff associated with it. Nothing makes a parent more proud than seeing a child accomplish something.
We came home and sat down as a family to talk. There was nothing I could say except that the tests were in and I have cancer. It was difficult to share with my children!
My daughter asked, “Are you going to be okay?” My response to her was “only God knows, I hope so.” My son admitted that he already knew. He had run in to someone from our church while getting a haircut and they revealed it.
Our church had been praying for weeks and when I called my husband to tell him the news, word traveled fast. We were both such a wreck from the news that we never thought anyone would get to our kids first.
Throughout our ministry we have had the opportunity to meet some giants in the faith and we benefited from their ministries through this time. Don Miller has been one of the most powerful teachers on prayer and he began to pray for me. There were missionaries around the world that prayed faithfully for me. Samaritan’s Purse sent me cards weekly that I had been prayed for. Steve Melson, who was Samaritan’s Purse Regional Director at the time, would call and encourage me and pray for me. Our church family. My family. My friends. I was covered in prayer.
Here is an excerpt from my first journal entry:
Now, I find I have cancer – God, what are you up to?
I don’t understand. I pray that you will envelope me and
that your very presence will calm my fears. You know all of me
and there are no pretenses with You God. Lord, I need you
as never before. I ask for healing and strength and wisdom
in the days ahead. Please be with my husband and kids,
comfort them and give them peace. Thank you for your
kindness, grace and love You have for me. Thank you
for all my friends and family. I LOVE YOU LORD!
Lessons were coming on my weakness and God’s strength……