Don’t Give Up

Don’t Give Up

Contributed by
Barb Linek

I remember the hot summer day I went in for my annual mammogram. I was touched by a young woman I saw in the waiting room, huddled under a blanket, shaking in fear of her upcoming test. I said to myself, a little cocky, “Thank God I’m not scared like her because I’m not worried about this. No one in my family has ever had cancer so I’ll be fine.” Twenty minutes later, I was ushered from the mammogram room to the nurse’s office to talk about next steps because they saw something unusual during my test. So much for being cocky! I was surprised to be diagnosed with breast cancer since we have no family history but I quickly learned that other things could trigger it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I know that this was the first day of a lifelong journey.

Of course, surgery was the next step. My surgeon was a wise man. He told me to bring family and friends to my second appointment with him because he wanted to answer all their questions before operating, not afterwards. This helped me form the habit of inviting someone along to every appointment and treatment. That way I never felt alone, which was important to keep my spirits up. Throughout this process, I learned that positive thoughts are essential to healing. For that important appointment before surgery, I invited my two children and a friend who is a retired nurse and knew all the right questions to ask. My children are both adults and have their distinct personalities. My son had no experience expressing his concern for my health and chose humor as his tool. One memorable conversation began, “So are you gonna die on me, Ma?” My daughter, on the other hand, is a doctor, trained to always maintain a clinical distance. She focused her questions on my treatment plan, not expressing her worries or fears for my health until months later.

The surgery went smoothly, soon followed by chemotherapy. I cleared my usually-packed calendar and waited to feel nauseous or something. It never happened. Some days I was tired and left work early to take a nap. After sitting home nights and weekends for the first month, I decided to resume my normal after-work activities. I squeezed in a nap when necessary but most days I felt fine. I was surprised and the oncologist was pleased. She attributed my energy to my strong faith and positive attitude. I also think those sweet friends who accompanied me to those four- or five-hour long chemo treatments were key. I chose them carefully for the positive thoughts they exude—and their ability to keep a conversation going that long!

After my final chemo treatment, I took a weekend trip to visit friends in St. Louis. This was a big mistake! Not allowing my body time to recuperate after that last blow caused me to develop swelling in my legs. This made it hard for me to walk, and I got very depressed. My coworkers were worried and decided to throw a surprise party for me. I noticed the preparations but I assumed the lavish party was for someone who was leaving the organization. You could have knocked me over with a feather when they said it was all for me! I was so moved by their kindness and encouragement. It took several weeks of intensive treatment to get the swelling down and, to this day, I need to be careful.

Radiation was the third step in the process. Radiation treatment took a few minutes a day, five days a week for a month. Doctor K. was as warm and kind as my surgeon and oncologist. And she was a great listener. I pushed her to finish treatment before my new grandchild was born. That way I would be able to go to Florida to visit my daughter and the new baby as soon as they got out of the hospital.

My last radiation treatment was on a cool spring morning. Doctor K. brought tears to my eyes when she congratulated me on my graduation and pinned a navy and white polka dot ribbon on my denim jacket. She reminded me to return for my next mammogram in six months. I still wear that polka dot ribbon on my jacket as a reminder of this long journey. I am grateful for my family and all the beautiful people who made breast cancer a positive experience of growth and encouraged me to never give up!

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What Comes Your Way

What Comes Your Way

By Mike & Debbie Henderson

If you have received bad news or have gone or are going through a difficult experience, you may be wondering how you are going to get through it.

The morning of September 11th 2001 was different for so many people in so many ways, but for my wife and I it was a life changer. The news of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers was dominating the news and our office calls. It is a day we will never forget.

In all of the craziness of the day and for all its meaning, I will never forget the phone call from my wife. It was around 11:00 AM on that somber morning. My wife called and said. “Mike, the doctor just called, I have breast cancer”. As the tears welled up deep inside, all we could do is cry.

There were a lot of things we didn’t know. We didn’t know how bad it was and we didn’t know if it was life threatening, so we just cried. Those moments seemed like eternity for both of us. Inside my world was crashing down.

The news around the world shook me and caused me to wonder what was going on, but the news of my wife’s cancer was more devastating than anything either of us had ever faced before. It was during our conversation on the phone that my wife and I had determined that we both wanted answers.

I sat in my office chair trying to comprehend the news of my wife and cancer. I prayed and I prayed and then I would cry some more. My wife, at home, was doing the same thing. We were stunned. We both struggled inside.

I remember feeling inside that I had to let my wife go…a very difficult thing to do. As I was contemplating releasing her over to the Lord, a sinking feeling overwhelmed me. I remember praying, “Lord I don’t understand and I don’t know why but I give my wife to you. I don’t know what you have in mind but I am going to trust you for this moment.” I opened my bible and this verse jumped off the page at me. It is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message Bible),

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”

It was comforting to me to realize that others have had to face this same problem also, and in some cases, so much more, and they came through it okay.

The days and months passed. I was at my wife’s side the whole time as she went through six months of chemotherapy and three months of radiation treatments. Admittedly, some days were harder than others.

I remember one day in particular when my wife had her third chemo treatment. She was lying in bed, hurting and unresponsive. She said, “Mike, I can’t do this anymore.” I could sense her desperation, so I laid down next to her and said, “Honey, let’s look at the clock and let’s try to make it just five minutes.” After we had made that first five minutes, we would do it all over again. We must have looked at the clock some 20 times that day. HE helped us get through a very difficult day

The 1 Corinthians 10:13 verse that jumped out at me hung on our refrigerator door for over a year. It was always there as a constant reminder to us the Lord Jesus was with us. It was so comforting to know that He promised we will never let us be pushed past our limit, even when everything inside says you are.

Today, my wife is cancer free. Praise God! I thank the Lord for her and for what HE has done in our lives and in the lives of my children. What we as a family learned during that difficult time has changed all of us.

About Mike & Debbie Henderson

Mike and Debbie have been married 41 years, have two children and four awesome grandchildren, ages 7,4,3,and 1. Mike, with the full support of Debbie, has been the Senior Pastor for the K-LOVE and Air1 radio networks for 17 years. They are listener supported ministries with 10 associate pastors on staff responding to our listeners’ needs all around the country and the world.

To learn more, visit www.Klove.comwww.air1.com and www.crisisresponse.org

Mike and Debbie Henderson

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