Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eternity Pending

I remember this time last year when I felt that odd lump in my abdomen. It became an obsession and each day I would palpate it and try to decide if it was growing. I had made an appointment with my doctor for a routine check up before I even noticed that strange growth. I certainly wasn't suspecting cancer. I just thought my uterus was doing a flip flop and that I was gaining a bit of pudge. The wait was on. It seemed an eternity.

Once I received the news confirming that it was, indeed, ovarian cancer, then my life took a few about turns.

Actually I am amazed where this year has taken me. When I consider what has happened I am equally amazed at how quickly this year has flown by.

During my cancer treatments I could hardly think of doing much else other than getting through the trial. It seemed an eternity. But with God's help, along with the love and concern of friends and family, I did it. And now as I look back it feels like it all happened in a flash.

It's funny how a year can seem like a mere moment in time. During my year long journey, I wondered if it would ever end. It seemed an eternity. Now as I look back it was fleeting.

I have learned to enjoy the moments and the fragility of the day. Instead of me now being consumed and concerned with chemotherapy, my attention is now on my Dad and getting him moved and settled as he relocates to this end of the world! With all the planning and packing and decision making and renovating and moving and deciding on what and when to buy and seems like it will go on forever. An eternity, perhaps? But I know with the help of God, friends and family, this too, will pass quickly. Before long I am sure I will be looking back and wondering where the time went.

So I've decided to climb into the front seat and enjoy the ride; rid myself of a complaining attitude, trust God for direction and peace of mind, and to consider eternity as something to be defined and appreciated a little later on in my journey. Grin!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Absence = Fondness

It's almost midnight. The week has been a long one without Gilles. I just talked to him a little while ago and he's made it over the border and is officially back on Canadian soil.

Gilles has been away for a week now on a mission trip to Kentucky. He and 149 others from our church and community headed last week for Neon, Kentucky to help demolish, clean-up, rebuild, encourage and basically be a blessing to some people in a very poor mining community.

This is his sixth trip to Kentucky and he loves it. For a northern French Canadian lad, he has a lot of southern blood flowing through his veins and he just thrills to the sound of toe-tapping, hoe-down, knee-slappin' bluegrass music. During one little chat we had today before the cell phone cut out, he told me he got to play spoons with one of the hometown bluegrass bands last night when he visited the General Store (meeting place.) I can hardly wait to hear the details of that story.

It's been a busy week at home without him. There is that lovely old adage about the heart growing fonder when your loved one is somewhere in Kentucky. :) It's true. I really have to admit that I missed Gilles. At first I scribbled a long list of 'things to do' on the dry erase board. I thought I would be distracted and not have a chance to get lonely. But I was. I missed that man that I first met 32 years ago! And I am so excited about him returning home in a few hours. Woo! Hoo! Thanks, God for blessing me with a great hubby.

I'm also praying that the other 149 'missionaries' make it home safely soon! I can't wait to hear the stories. Tomorrow promises to be a chatty day (around the Belec household, at least!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Three Cheers!

It seems these days, I find more and more to cheer about.
Today I am cheering because I am upright; I am breathing; I am of sound mind [although some may argue] and I have received good news about that dreaded colonoscopy that I had to endure a week and a half ago.

Thank goodness that the drug administered was what they call an amnesiac. That means the whole entire experience was wiped from my hard drive. For that I am thankful.

But I am even more thankful for the results uttered by the doc - 'there are no signs of cancerous growth!' Thank you God for this. I'm liking the direction you are taking me so far this year.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

When Life Gets Sour - Dip it in Chocolate!

Poor Dad. I received the distress call Saturday night. Dad was heading downstairs, gliding down his chair lift, as was his usual routine, with cup of tea in hand.

As he began his descent, what lay before his eyes was a sight reminiscent of Noah and his big boat. Flood waters. And this was no damp carpet fiasco. There had to be four to six inches of water slurping its way around Dad's downstairs finished basement and bedrooms. Hip waders were the required footwear.

After a frantic call to the insurance company, I high-tailed it to London. My sister was there consoling and trying to help Dad make sense of all the nonsense by the time I arrived, thank goodness. Apparently rain waters had filled a window well and the drain was unable to keep up with the torrential rains that bombarded this particular area of the Forest City. Dad's house is located on a considerable slope so he is often the recipient of water and run-off, but this nasty mess sure took the prize.

I laugh at life sometimes. Every year I make it a point to buy the perfect agenda so I can plan and organize and get things done. But life interferes with my good intentions. Whether it's cancer or new babies, flooded basements or unexpected surprises life plays out according to God's agenda, not ours. I often wonder if I was intended to walk down the 'cancer' road because before that I was relatively healthy and could face the day with all the enthusiasm of Spiderman and Superman combined. Now I am lucky if I can even crawl out of bed some days let alone leap small buildings in a single bound!

I find myself now being more empathetic to those who face trials and I have learned the importance of slowing down and truly listening to the heart of others instead of just the words. Stopping to smell and appreciate the dandelions and the daisies has caused me to take life less seriously and receive each breath more gratefully.

God equips us for matters beyond our control - I really believe that. He teaches us valuable lessons about life and if we choose to listen and obey, then He shows us how to cope.

So here I am, still in London, trying to sort out things and attempting to help Dad restore normalcy to his life. (It's quite a challenge as giant fans and imposing dehumidifiers drone on day and night.) But this too will pass...

Like I keep telling my Dad, I am glad that I am just here trying to sort things out from a purely material perspective. It could be worse. I could be sitting at his bedside holding his hand after he had a heart attack or something equally as devastating. We are contending with things that can be fixed! For that I am thankful. I am counting blessings once again. Thanks God for helping us through this one, too! In a few days I will return home and seek out my agenda. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt if I prayed a little before I flip to the next day. :)


And I don't know what's wrong with me...It's midnight and I am craving chocolate. But they say chocolate has a calming effect. Maybe that's the issue. Life is sour, so bring on the chocolate. Life really is good.

May your day be a sweet one tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


A writer friend of mine e-mailed me a few weeks ago. "Can I put you in touch with a friend of mine...she has ovarian cancer, too?"

My stomach knotted as I realized another sister was beginning to tread the same path I had a mere ten months ago. My compassionate friend who thought I might perhaps be a comfort because I had already put a few miles on my own cancer slippers, introduced us by the power of technology.

Being asked to speak to someone going through the same experience as I did, is an honour and I am humbled. If I am able to share something and help someone - especially to a soul embarking upon her journey - then I am there with all the bells and whistles I can muster.

As I am getting to know Rosie, I am being blessed and filled with joy as I hear the strength in her words. She believes mightily in the health care system. She has first hand knowledge of how everything works. She is aware of drugs and side effects and hair loss and how cancer can consume a body. But the most wonderful and amazing part is that Rosie recognizes (and worships) the Source of her strength. There is no fist shaking or foot stamping or cries of 'why me?' She is not happy with her diagnosis. In fact she is devastated. The woman and her sweet hubby have a 7 year old, a set of 5 year old twins and a two year old. How heart wrenching is that? Yet this brave soldier is clicking on her armour and preparing herself for battle.

Jesus will go with her tomorrow as she prepares for her first chemotherapy session. Doctors have offered thoughts on a prognosis for Rosie and some of the medical predictions might be interpreted as not the greatest news. But in my communications with my new friend, I am discovering a beautiful example of a woman surrendering to Christ (note, I did not say - giving up...) She seems to be turning to the Lord - not out of desperation, but rather out of relationship.

I love the way Rosie shared her feelings with me on the word PROGNOSIS: "...but as (a) child of God I KNOW that I have a 100% chance of living exactly as long as He wills. All the days given to me were written in His book before one of them came to be ;-). The Lord gave me a really neat definition of prognosis from His perspective when I was in the hospital. He said that prognosis is just a

Guess, with

Isn't that the best? I'm going to cling to that definition myself the next time I start thinking about my three month check up when I was given the 50/50 scenario.

Trust. Belief. Daring to defy the odds (because it's God who divvies out every breathe we take and each lub-dub beating that spectacular rhythm on our chest wall.) To Him be the glory and the honour.

If anyone thinks about Rosie today, I encourage you to pray for her and her family. Onward Christian Soldiers...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No Use Crying Over Spilled Wine?

Today was communion. The mood was somber. Pastor Kramer had just preached on being faithful in our commitment to God. He spoke about the woman who came to Simon's home and honoured Jesus by washing his feet with her tears.

The moment was reflective. I thought about my own faith walk and how God had been so forgiving of me in the past. I contemplated my situation and remembered how He had seen me through my own suffering and pain. I gazed upon the elements that were passed. I took the bread and reflected upon Christ and how he suffered so much more and how His body was broken for me. Then the wine was passed. I placed the delicate little glass on the ledge in front of my seat.

A few minutes later, Pastor Kramer invited the congregation to then share the wine together and think upon the sacrifice of Christ. As I tipped the glass to partake - as they say, I spilled the wine. A splotch appeared on my beige pants and I felt awful. I began chastising myself for being so clumsy and awkward. Why could I not be more careful? As I clucked away, I felt God's whisper. I listened. God told me not to worry about the wine that was spilled. "No use crying over spilled wine..." He told me that the spilled wine represented the spilled blood of Jesus. He assured me that there was not need for reprimand but a greater need for a reminder. I wiped at the wet mark but I stared at the spot for a moment.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;

For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;

My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,

And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;

I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,

And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;

And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,

I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;

I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now...