Tuesday, 17 October 2017

T To Your Health

Laugh When You Can. Cry When You Must.

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By Diana S. Furr, AfC, MBA


I won’t sugar-coat it. Breast Cancer is a tough Valley I would never wish on anyone. Yet, it is now a Valley I would never trade… even if I could. Not for any worldly wealth.

Because of how I encountered You there, Lord… in ways that were just not possible anywhere else. Ways that taught me how to not only survive that Valley, but to thrive…. despite it.

Even while I was still in the middle of it.

And not only that Valley… but any valley I (or any of us) may ever encounter. Your lessons are simple, yet profound. Like this one: “Laugh when you can. Cry when you must.”

It was the morning after my surgery. I was still groggy when my doctors came in with their update.

The tumor was gone! J Along with my breasts. L The result of Your leading, Lord, after You caused me to find the Time Bomb in my chest. I had been reading before bedtime, when the words I read were no match for the words You spoke:

“Check your left breast.”

This Divine Direction initiated the flurry of activities that soon removed the Time Bomb. A most aggressive, malignant tumor, calling for the most aggressive treatment – including the double mastectomy from which I was now awakening.

I had decided on breast reconstruction. If cancer had penetrated my chest wall, radiation would have to come first. Adding at least one more surgery to my trek back to wellness … if not, wholeness.

My cancer surgeon was upbeat. No cancer in the chest wall!  No radiation required!  So, my plastic surgeon had inserted temporary tissue-extenders under my chest muscles. Over the next few months, these would be inflated until I reached my desired breast size … then, replaced with permanent implants. 

Sounded simple enough. But this process involved stretching muscles that had never been stretched before. I had no idea at the time how painful this reconstruction would be… especially, in combination with Chemo.

Sometimes Ignorance IS Bliss… thankfully.

The extenders had already been inflated by the same amount as the breast tissue removed. My surgeon lifted my hospital gown to check the incisions. What she said next put me in stitches.

No, wait a minute … she had already done that! J And I could honestly say it didn’t only hurt when I laughed. But laughter is such Good Medicine … isn’t it, Lord?

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:13, NIV).

She took one look at my re-inflated chest and said: “I think you’re going to want more.” I laughed … until I winced. Ouch! And I had to admit: She was right! J

Why reconstruction?  Maybe, in part, for my own self-image. Maybe, in part, for my husband’s sake. For all those times when having a feminine profile would help take away some of the sting of this whole journey. Or so I hoped. It didn’t turn out quite like I had imagined. 

I’m happy with the profile part… at least with my clothes on. It is therapeutic having a bit more shape to me in the aftermath of what cancer took away. I would not have initiated this journey just for looks. But since I was on this Taken-Not-Chosen Road, I might as well grab for the gusto … right? J

It is certainly not natural, however. I had been warned I would have no feeling in most of my chest area. Too many nerves had to be severed in the process of removing so much tissue. I just didn’t know what that numbness would be like … especially in times of intimacy.  For me or my husband.  And I had no idea these implants would feel much harder than real flesh.

“Mind Over Matter” doesn’t always change the matter, but it can always reframe it. And sometimes, that’s what matters most.

I’m not exactly a Bionic Woman, but I still laugh sometimes when I realize I am now a combination of Original Issue and Parts Subject to Factory Recall. 

Sometimes, I still cry.

By Your Grace, Lord, You have given me eyes to see a silver lining in every cloud. So, I gratefully keep moving forward.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again" (Jeremiah 31:3-4, NIV).

 

"[Diana] will be like a well-watered garden and [she] will sorrow no more…. I will turn [her] mourning into gladness… I will satisfy [her] with abundance, and [she] will be filled with my bounty" (Jeremiah 31:12-14, NIV – personalization is by the author).

Fill my cup, Lord ... I lift it up, Lord ....

Admittedly, some challenges (recorded in my journal) were mundane at the time ... though significant in the end. (Pun intended!) J

April 9: Today is a new day, Lord, to celebrate Your mercies, large and small! You are not only The Great Physician.… You are also The Great Plumber! No disrespect intended.... I am just SO GRATEFUL my post-surgery plumbing is finally on the mend.... Enough said! J

Other challenges were “Rites of Passage” inherent in the landscape through which I was traveling.…

April 10: Life, for all of us, is a marathon. Yesterday, I hit what my running pals call The Wall – that level of pain I couldn't get past. Thank You, Lord, for pain meds ... which took enough of the edge off to give me some relief. By Your grace, the glass is ALWAYS at least half-full.

April 16: How could such simple movements I used to do without thinking seem like such giant challenges in so short a time??? Thank You, Lord, for how You are helping my traumatized body respond to Your loving workouts. My Great Physician, a.k.a. Personal Trainer! The journey of a thousand pull ups begins with a single "ouch"… or something like that.... J

Then, there was the Chemo… still looming ahead.

April 14: Someone just said to me: "I know you're afraid." It's so hard for people to grasp, Lord, that You offer us a Peace that is truly not of this world. By Your grace, I am not afraid. You have given me the certainty of Eternal Life with You. I’m not afraid to die, so how could I be afraid to LIVE … come what may? It would be natural to feel fear right now … but You are supernatural. Common sense would dictate anxiety… but You are uncommon.

Maybe that’s why I so love this lesson that acts like both a fast-acting and time-release medication – Laugh when you can. Cry when you must.

Sometimes our Valleys are such that crying is not just inevitable, it is altogether fitting and appropriate. To deny our Grief Tears and Anger Tears is to deny part of the very Reality we must face and embrace. Such tears can fill our tub to overflowing … inviting us to sink down into them, almost to the point of drowning. Making it seem like we will never laugh again.

Yet, remarkably – impossibly – Laughter can also come. At Your oh-so-welcome invitation, Lord! Is it not also true that we must look for Laughter? And give ourselves permission to experience it … even in the darkest of days? Gut-wrenching, fact-defying Laughter that also takes us to the point of tears? Joy Tears that bathe us in a different way altogether … encouraging and empowering us to take The Next Step? Even The Next Breath?

“… with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NIV).

My prayers as I entered Chemo were just like my prayers as I first entered the Valley of the Shadow.

Asking You to have Your way, Lord … and to “milk it” for Eternity’s sake.

Accepting the months would drag on or fly by, depending on the Laughter or Tears of the moment.

Trusting You had Purpose, beyond my immediate understanding, for those things from which You would spare me … and those You would not.

Knowing the Ultimate Outcome – whether I remained here or graduated to Heaven –  was Your call.

Declaring that either way would be WIN-WIN!


This article is sponsored by Diana S. Furr and Healthy Life Press (Denver, CO) © 2017. All rights reserved.

This article is adapted from the new book: Victory in The Valley: 7 Secrets to Overcoming Life’s Worst and Savoring Life’s Best (Denver, CO: Healthy Life Press, 2017). Its author, Diana S. Furr, AfC, MBA, is a career businesswoman, author, speaker, and leadership and life success coach. In its pages, you will find some hard-won insights, some load-relieving laughter, some poignant tears, and a mega-dose of Hope. You’ll also find seven secrets she discovered on her journey through the valley of the shadow of breast cancer. These secrets will help you through whatever Valley you may be in right now… or whatever Valley you, unknowingly, are about to enter.

Diana Furr Diana Furr survivor pin VictoryintheValley

To obtain a copy of the printed book or eBook, visit: www.championsofdestiny.com, http://bit.ly/2p2waQE), Healthy Life Press (http://bit.ly/2ttynqQ), www.amazon.com (http://amzn.to/2ugPc77), and wherever great books are sold.

Columnist: Dr. David B. Biebel

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Dr. Biebel has authored or co-authored twenty books, including one bestseller: If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad? and the Gold Medallion winner, New Light on Depression. His recent releases include Making God Visible and Away in a Manger: The Christmas Story from a Nativity Scene Lamb's Point of View.


His goal is to help people attain and retain optimal physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health (personal wholeness) so they can love the Lord with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbors as themselves. He founded Healthy Life Press (www.healthylifepress.com) to help new authors with something to contribute in this arena to get their works into print.

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        To Purchase these or any other of Dr. Biebel's titles click HERE

 

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