August 20, 2008 is a date which was burned into my memory. That was the last day of my radiation treatments and marked the end of the long road which I had traveled from January 30, 2008 (date of my surgery) to August 20,2008. I was finished with treatment.
Anyone who has not personally experienced cancer treatment cannot possibly imagine the joy of the words, "No evidence of disease". Anyone who encounters an oncologist or anyone else who says "cured" needs to run, not walk to the nearest exit. We are not talking about the common cold or a tummy ache. We are talking about cancer, a disease in which your DNA actual begins to mutate and even when the disease area is removed, cells can go renegade again at any time without warning.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the horrible dark areas which I thought I'd have to live with for the rest of my life began to flake off revealing brand-new skin. I was ecstatic! They're almost all gone as of today! I will always bear scars until God's eternity but after nearly 19 months the extensive repair job my body has been doing is nearly complete. My hair has come back. In fact, I need to go get a "real" haircut this week rather than just a snip here and there trying to re-shape everything. I am getting back to normal... a new normal.
As I contemplate last year, I am struck by how much the darkness has faded into a nightmare... a bad dream which although the memory remains, fades with the morning light. The light within the past year, on the other hand has become brighter and brighter.
It stands for me as evidence that these words are so true.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Cor. 4:16-18 (NLT) Over the past year, old friendships here were strengthened and new ones came into being. I have had the privilege of knowing that my dark journey has not been in vain. Not only did it draw me closer to God and strengthen me even as my body weakened and suffered, others have shared with me that they too have been strengthened. Oh, what joy to see what happens to the darkness when it is encountered by the Darkness-Slayer, Jesus Christ!
So today, I have a heart which is overflowing with thankfulness. It is overflowing with thankfulness that God refused to leave me stuck in the mire of sin and despair. He broke into my world with His love! He called me and pursued me. He refuses to give up on me or abandon me. He has been with me every step of the way... and He always will be! Not just for me... but for you!