Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Greatest Christmas Miracle

At Christmastime, we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus - God became flesh and dwelt among His people. This event was a huge occurrence, marked by many things that only God could make happen. He was born from a virgin, who became pregnant by the intervention of the Holy Spirit; angels filled the sky and heralded His birth - announcing it to shepherds and telling them exactly how they would find Him; a star hovered over the place where He was so that kings from the East could find Him several years after His birth; not to mention all the Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled exactly as they were prophesied.
Jesus’ life went on to be full of miracles - He changed water into wine; He gave sight to a blind man; He released a man from the possession of demons; He raised the dead; He walked on water; after a hideous crucifixion, He arose from the dead and appeared to many people before He ascended bodily into Heaven.
Of course all of these things are miracles. Webster defines a miracle as “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause such as God.” Only God could have caused these things to happen. Thinking back to times before the incarnation, I marvel at other miracles of God - the parting of the Red Sea, the plagues of Egypt, the victory of Gideon’s small army. I could go on to name many, many miracles of God. He is the creator of all things. From nothing God created everything. He spoke, and the world came into being - the stars, the waters, the land and animals - everything merely spoken into existence! Nothing is impossible for God, the creator and sustainer of the universe.
As I think about the miracles of Christmas, I realize that restoring sight to eyes that He created was no great feat of difficulty for Him. Making Himself in the image of man - man that He formed from the dust - could not have been a stretch of His imagination at all. Implanting His seed into the womb of a woman pales in comparison to speaking the entire universe into being. The seas He created are still seas, the land is still land, the stars are still shining in the heavens.
What then, is the greatest miracle, the greatest purpose, of Christmas? Through Christmas, the Advent of the Holy One, God recreated sinful man and gave Him a new nature. He sent Jesus to seek and to save that which was lost, and through His blood changed our sinfulness for His righteousness. Through Christmas, this wretched sinner now has fellowship with the Almighty. That is the greatest miracle of Christmas.
May your Christmas this year be filled with the glory of God.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I have become a wonder to many...

Got my first blood test results since beginning my thyroid replacement meds. My TSH, which they want to see running right around 0, went UP from 33 to 47. It should have gone down. My T4 remains in the normal range, when it should have actually gone up. My ENT scratched his head and said that was strange. My oncologist is out of town (probably needed a vacation from all my bizarre-ness!!). So they upped my thyroid med a little, which the ENT wouldn't make much of a difference, and I have more labs scheduled for two weeks. I see the oncologist the Monday after Thanksgiving and hopefully will have more insight at that point.

Psalm 71:7 says "I have become a wonder to many..." I think I may cross-stitch that on a sampler for my wall...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Back to Work...

...but would rather be a stay at home mom. I mean, the work is good, sometimes interesting, not usually too difficult. But I'm a mom, not a career woman. I want to be home reading with my Lizzie, playing with my Lizzie, baking things for my Jeff with my Lizzie. I'm grateful for the job. So I'll keep going. At least till the next thing comes up anyway! LOL!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Haaaaayyyyy!! I feel good!!!! (ala James Brown!)

...almost! I equated being out of isolation with "all better" and have been pushing the envelope a little. I still get waves of fatigue wash over me like breakers on the shore. I definitely have more energy than I've had in months, but it's like a short life laptop battery - I can use it for a while, but I have to stay close to a power source for "just in case". Otherwise the work I've done won't be saved!! My mind seems to be coming back - I'm not quite so fuzzy these days. So I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully that light isn't the headlamp of an oncoming train!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Prodigal Mind

My mind, which has been recently lost in a hypothyroid fog, has been coming around lately. Timidly, like a puppy who'd run off and was back, hoping not to be scolded. Nudging me occasionally, tail tucked between its legs. If I make any sudden moves towards it, it runs away again. But there have been times in the past few days where it has actually curled up at my feet and stayed a while, resting its chin on my slipper. I'm told if I'm patient, my mind will come back completely and for good, none the worse for wear. I hope so...I miss that little fella!

Friday, October 15, 2010

CANCER-FREE!!

According to the oncologist, the difference between my initial scan last week and the follow up scan today was "amazing". He has used the word "bizarre" at every visit, including today's, but it was nice to hear the increase in his vocabulary to include "amazing". He showed me the 2 scans - the first one had a huge black spot that was throughout my entire neck and chest area - that was indicative of left over thyroid tissue and cancer. Today's scan showed a small black pinpoint, which will always show up - that's my thyroid bed - where my thyroid used to live - so it will always "light up". The important thing that he wanted to see was that there was no spread of cancer to any lymph nodes or to my lungs. Given the "bizarre" nature of this entire presentation, that was apparently unexpected, "amazing" news! There is a questionable spot on my CT scan in my neck area, but it was there at the original CT scan back in the spring and it hasn't changed. He thinks that is just an anatomical anomaly and not clinically significant, and plans to just watch it.

So now I get to start my thyroid meds tomorrow morning, and will take them every day for the rest of my life. Blood tests in 3 weeks and 6 weeks, and I see the oncologist again in 6 weeks. I see the ENT on the 28th of this month to just follow up from my surgery. So all in all, I'm essentially free from all things medical for a while - YIPPEE!! I will continue to have to be scanned for probably 5 years or so. Because it was so "bizarre", he wants to follow it closely because of the potential for recurrence.

There have been so many emotions throughout this whole thing. Now I'm grateful, relieved, happy...oh, and full, too. I just had dinner at Logan's steakhouse! No more low-iodine for me!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Freedom Eve

It's finally here...the last night of my isolation! The day I never thought would get here is here. Lizzie is spending the night at a friend's house. Tomorrow I go for the follow-up scan at 2:00, and then I see the oncologist right after that. Hopefully I will leave his office with a prescription for thyroid meds. Then in a week, I should be feeling more like my normal self as I climb the ladder toward hyperthyroidism! I wonder what that will be like? My ENT said that I'll like that much more than being hypo, because I'll have energy to burn. I could deal with that, after being Slug Woman for so long. I have to admit that I worry about losing my hair. Such a trivial thing compared to cancer, but I actually worry about this. I won't lose sleep over it. If it happens, it happens. At least I'll be a free woman, able to roam the halls of my home non-radioactively. I'll be able to hug and be hugged by my family. What more could I want in life?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Isolation Day 5 - Lessons Learned

Only 3 more days to go, and it honestly hasn't been that bad. My honey comes to my room every day to visit - we stay 10 feet apart, which is difficult but necessary. I'm dying for a hug and can't wait for my first backscratch! Lizzie comes to the top of the stairs so we can see each other and give long distance hugs and kisses.

I've learned a lot during this time:
1. Life is full of suffering. All kinds - illness, grief, fear, lonliness, sadness.
God is full of hope. For every kind of suffering.
2. All suffering, in light of eternity, is brief, momentary and light compared to the eternal weight of glory that awaits those who hope in God.
3. Suffering can serve purposes that are greater than any we could choose for ourselves. It can grow character, perseverance, trust - all sorts of things that don't come from days full of happiness.
4. When we let Him, God will comfort us through all our suffering, so that we have the ability, tools and desire to confort others when they're suffering.
5. And last but not least, God can be glorified in suffering, if we can emulate Christ in our attitude toward suffering. If others can see that our suffering doesn't derail us, define us or determine the cause or lack of our joy, it can point them toward God straighter than any sermon or book or inspirational message ever could. People, especially our children, are listening some of the time, but watching all of the time!

Now if only I will remember these lessons for the next time something "less than choice" comes up!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ode to the Low Iodine Diet

Low iodine, low iodine,
I’ve had it with each rule.
A juicy steak, ice cream and cake,
For these I’m prone to drool!
Now salad’s nice, don’t get me wrong ~
It’s great in moderation,
But chopping things has got me pooped;
I need a food vacation!
I need some milk, and bread and cheese,
I need some chocolate too,
Low iodine, low iodine,
Can’t wait till this is through!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fun With Limericks (or, What Ann Does When She's Really Bored!)

There once was a woman from Kent,
Who’s leg was quite a bit bent.
She wandered around
Wearing a frown
And instead of going, she went.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The dashing young man from Cancun
Wanted to go to the moon.
He got himself packed,
But the mission was sacked
And now he must wait until June.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you see a rather old duck
Driving a blue pick up truck,
Don’t give him bread
Or pat his soft head
Or else he will drive quite amok!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From Lansing a tiny girl came ~
Sophia Smith was her name.
But that poor little wisp
Spoke with quite a loud lisp
Much to her horror and shame.

The day that she first started school,
The children all thought her a fool.
She spit and she sputtered,
Her classmates all muttered;
For children are terribly cruel!

Determined to make a new friend,
She thought she’d do well to pretend
That her lisp was a game,
Which it surely became.
They all play through the week and weekend!

Now if you should visit that school,
You may see a small wading pool,
Where the children all lisp
Like that sweet little wisp.
And they spend their day covered in drool!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Radioactive ...Day Two

Headache, swollen glands added to the fatigue. Yuck!
Not feeling like reading or cross-stitching. Phooey!
Needing a day at the spa...already! Uh oh!
Only 6 more days to glow...

Radioactive...Day One

Made it through most of the day without too much trouble, just a little nausea. Slept like a baby, but woke up at at 6 this morning with a terrible headache and a swollen neck. I think the 9 straight hours of no drinking or sucking lemon drops made things back up. Hopefully it won't last, and will get better today as I'm drinking and sucking.
Now settling in for a day of whatever...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Abdication of Wife and Mother - A Fairy Tale

For long years the woman labored to keep her throne in tact. All sorts of evil enemies made their valiant attempts to dethrone her, and though the fight was sometimes a brutal one, the woman remained unmoved. The battles, though difficult, only served to strengthen her resolve - she must not give in, no matter what the cost.

The weapons of the enemies were mighty ones: doubt, insecurity, apathy, dirty floors, hairy dogs and the persistency of a tween, to name a few. Sometimes the wounds inflicted were deep and hard to recover from, and there were occasional skirmishes lost, but the woman persevered. She kept her post as wife and mother secure.

Then one day, she abdicated. For one week she would give up her post. Surrender her duties to her family. The cause: one of life's deadliest elements - radioactive iodine! (Cue scary music)

The woman would make her retreat into the turret of the castle, where she would remain for one week. Unable to clean the house, unable to make the meals, unable to hug those she loved most in the world. Essentially unable to do all the things she loved to do for her little family. She was told of others who disregarded the instructions, who allowed themselves to put others in harm's way without thought or care of the consequences. This was definitely a tempting option, but one she could not give in to.

What will go on in her little kingdom? How will her king and little princess go on without her. (She obviously thinks a lot of herself, doesn't she?). The woman is nervous, but grateful to have a loving and wonderful king, and a very resourceful princess in the castle. She knows they will take care of each other and themselves and will be stronger for the journey. And the woman? Well, maybe she'll reappear with a new perspective on what it means to hold onto the throne!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let the Glowin' Begin!

Today I went to the hospital and swallowed two capsules of low-dose radioactive iodine. No big deal. It was really disappointing, actually. I had envisioned technicians in space suits carrying a tray out from the depths of the hospital. On the tray was a vial of bubbling, steaming fluorescent green liquid. Instead, it was just a guy in a lab coat with 2 pills in a regular looking pill bottle. He had to stand behind a metal barrier as he prepared the pills, which he then dropped right onto the bare naked palm of my hand. And yes, I keep looking there to make sure it's not burning a hole into my hand!

I don't feel any different, and sadly, no one is complaining or telling me to "turn down the light!"

Tomorrow is the scan. Ninety minutes of lying in one position under a huge camera. Maybe then I'll glow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sweet Slug

Thanks to hypothyroidism, I am now a slug. I guess there have been other times in my life when I've been sluggish, but now I qualify for genuine slughood. I've been so stationary lately that I think Lizzie will add "dust mom" to her list of weekly chores!

I don't like being a slug. I've always enjoyed being busy. House work, church work, work for pay, I've worked in some way or another since I was 16 and had my first job. Now I'm not busy. And the scary thing is that on the whole I don't really care. I know that's part of the illness as well.

These days the only option I have is choosing what sort of slug to be. I can be a complaining, whining, demanding slug. That's the easy choice. I wouldn't have to think at all about doing that one - and I think I've slipped into that a few times recently.

Or...I can be a sweet slug. I can choose to reflect the words of Romans if I can, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be in constant prayer." I can use this time of slughood to be like Christ around Lizzie, and let her see what godliness can look like when things don't go her way. I can use my time of inertia to pray for the persecuted church around the world, for my husband, for my daughter, for my friends and family that don't know Christ. I can fill the bowls of Heaven with the sweet incense of prayer (Revelation 5:8).

I think I'll do my best to be a sweet slug. With the following disclaimer:
"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own." :o) (Phil 3:12)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gotcha Day!

Today is the day that we celebrate Gotcha Day. That's the day, 12 years ago today, that we "got" Lizzie. I'll never forget that day, because it changed my life forever. I went from being a wife desperately wanting to be a mom, to being a wife and mom. Difficult transition after 13 years of being a couple, but totally amazing.

We knew we had been chosen by Rose, the birthmom, and that she was expecting any time. She thought she was having a boy. I was at work when my cell phone rang, and our caseworker said, "Congratulations, Ann, you have a daughter!" And in my shock and excitement, I replied, "No, it's a boy!" Funny how we get stuck in our heads and can't get past what we think reality is when we're faced with something unexpected. Jeff knew from the beginning we'd have a girl, and he was right. So instead of being on our way to pick up Jonathan Zachary, we were headed to meet Elizabeth Joy. That was the longest car trip of my life!

Somewhere on the way down, an overwhelming fear gripped me: what if we get there, take a look at this baby and I don't love her? What if she looks like a lizard and is just one of those babies that has a face "only a mother could love"? God had taken us through this entire adoption process and met every need, and here I was questioning Him again. How could He change my heart toward a baby I'd had no relationship with till that point, and give my a mother's heart toward her?

The moment I saw her, all my fears were a distant memory. She was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. I would have died for her on the spot. That was completely and totally a God thing. I didn't have anything to worry about - He was in control of everything, and has been in control despite all my faults and shortcomings as her mom ever since that day.

So thank you, Lord, for giving me Elizabeth Joy. Thank you for knitting us together with a love that could only come from You.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Awake again...naturally

Weird dreams last night, horrible scary dreams tonight. I'm not usually a dreamer, so this is new territory. I don't mind the weird funny ones, but these scary Hannibal Lechter-type dreams have got to go. Hoping that listening to the Psalms will chase them away tonight so I can get back to sleep!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just Keep Swimming...

and call me Dori!
You'll understand that if you've seen the animated movie "Finding Nemo". She's the comical fish who can't remember anything for longer than 5 minutes. Here's a few examples...
Yesterday at lunchtime I put a potato in the miscrowave for lunch. About an hour later, I remembered it was in there and ate it.
Later on, I put beef stew in the crock pot so I could have dinner. At bedtime, Liz said, "Hey Mom, you left the crock pot on!" I couldn't even remember why it was on in the first place. I had cake for dinner.
It's definitely made life more interesting, since every day is new and different, even if I'm doing the same old thing.
Just keep swimming, and call me Dori! You'll understant that if you've seen...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Something Different for a Change

Today at work I was walking a 92 year old female patient to the check out desk. She's a delightfully sweet lady. When we got to the desk, I was facing her, giving her some final instructions. She noticed my scar. I held my breath, waiting to hear, "You've had open-heart surgery" for the millionth time. She said instead, "Is that a tattoo?" I could have kissed her!
And I laughed all the way into the next patient's room...
Thank you, Mrs. X, for changing it up a little!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Anniversary?

Happy Anniversary?
Today is the one year anniversary of my mom's death. From cancer. I think the fact that both my parents died with cancer has made this whole cancer thing just a little more scary to me.

Today marks a year full of things without my mom. That's a year full of birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, summertime, Grandparents Day, Mother's Day and lots of other special days that were marked without her. My parents would have been married 49 years this year. I ordered my usual school pictures this year, so I had a 5x7 leftover that normally would have gone to mom. I got much less mail this year, since there were no letters from mom. I would have loved to have my mom here while going through all this cancer crap, but I'm glad that she didn't have to see me in I.C.U. in so much pain and having so much trouble breathing. She was a really good worrier, and she would have had a lot to worry about.

Shortly after my mom died, Lizzie observed that now I was an orphan. She wondered if I wished that someone would adopt me. I guess I short of do wish that I wasn't an orphan, but no one could ever replace the parents I miss.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's 1 A.M...

on Wednesday night, and I'm obviously still awake. Probably won't be going to work tomorrow. Didn't go to work today. Jeff wants me to stay home till I can get on thyroid meds. When he first mentioned that a few weeks ago, I didn't like the idea, but it's looking better the later it gets tonight. Or this morning.

Insomnia is a mysterious thing to me. I go to bed when I'm dog-tired, thinking I'll fall right to sleep. But something about the horizontal positioning of my body triggers something to overtake the dog-tiredness, replacing it with exhausted wide-awakeness. Perhaps I need to rig up a way for me to sleep standing up, to avoid the horizontal position? Sleeping pills seem to be no match for whatever causes this problem. Maybe it's time to break out "all the beer, wine and alcohol I want" from the Low Iodine Diet...nah!

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY....just can't catch a Z anywhere!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pressing On

Pressing On


“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Phil 3:13-14


Pressing on toward Calvary
Just to show His love for me;
Pressing onward to the Cross
All to seek and save the lost.
Pressing on to meet the grave,
Pressing on, His sheep to save,
Pressing upward to His throne
Pressing forth to claim His own.

Pressing onward toward the goal
Pressing on to be made whole.
Straining forward toward the prize,
Jesus, ever before my eyes.
Pressing on to heed the call:
Giving Him my life, my all;
Pressing on to run this race,
Able to because of grace.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tyranny of the Mundane but Necessary

This low iodine diet (LID) has me cooking the most now that I'm feeling the worst. Since I've been back to work, cooking hasn't been high on my list of fun things to do, so I opt for quick and easy most of the time. But the LID requires endless vegetable chopping, fruit slicing, fresh meat preparing. I don't want to get out of bed most days, so I certainly don't feel like chopping, slicing and preparing!
Enter the blessing. She is beautiful. Five feet tall, curly dark hair, a smile that comes from her heart and takes over her face when it comes. She said, "I've decided on what one of my chores can be. I will chop up all your vegetables." Unasked for, unexpected. So the tears blur her profile and I nod. She wrinkles her nose, shakes her head and goes back to her TV show.
I know I'm going to get through this...

Friday, September 10, 2010

The New Normal...

...is not something I like. People have described me recently as:
Pale
Tired looking
Irritated

Yes, I am pale, tired and irritated. I don't like it. But I'm getting used to it. Hopefully others will get used to it and stop reminding me that I am those things. They are my new normal. I have to remember that it's just a temporary normal, but it is normal.

On another note, I've been amazed at how people, most generally my patients at work, seem to feel that they all deserve to know why I have this whopper of a scar down my chest. I actually had this conversation recently with a patient. I was trying to explain an eye test that I was going to do.
ME: "Ok, we're going to be doing an OCT today..."
PATIENT: (interrupting) "You had open heart surgery, didn't you?"
ME: "No. You'll put your chin on the chinrest..."
PATIENT: (interrupting, again) "Then why do you have that scar??"
ME: (pregnant pause, hard stare at patient) "You won't feel anything, you'll just see some lights occasionally..."
PATIENT: "I suppose it was rude of me to ask you that. But I have a medical book at home, and I like to look things up, so I really want to know why you have that scar!"
ME: "Excuse me just a minute..."
Enter different technician...

Honestly! But I guess that's all part of the new normal. Sigh...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Too Tired to Think...

Today I came home from work at noon. I worked about 4 hours and was exhausted. When I got home, I needed to help Lizzie with school. We're working on a new home school online curriculum, and we haven't figured out the ins and outs yet. We worked on school till 5:30. My patience was a little short to start with, and got shorter as the day progressed. Did the day actually progress? I'm not sure.

Anyway, we never did figure out the glitch that we keep slamming up against. So when Jeff got home, he dove right in, working as he ate his corn on the cob and beans, with butter and salt and...sorry. I'm easily distracted. He worked on it till about 8:30. Didn't figure out the glitch either. That made me feel a little better, since all this time I've been sure it's just because my brain is so hormonally deprived that I've turned into an idiot, and everyone knows it but me.

I finally got to take the bath that I'd been wanting to soak in since about 2:30 this afternoon. My legs are killing me - apparently another hypothyroid blessing. I soaked, and as I soaked, Lizzie came in several times for this and that. One of the thisses was asking me to tie a knot in beading string. While I was soaking wet. And of course being supermom, I tried. I finally had to beg for mercy till I was dry.

And now everyone is nestled in their beds, and I'm typing. Because although my body is screaming with exhaustion, my mind is now wide awake. I've already shed tears - I didn't outright weep, but tears came out. I don't even know why exactly, but they did. I'm going to get into bed now, and I'm not setting my alarm. Because like I told Lizzie, who currently has a cold, sometimes you just need to sleep till you wake up on your own. Her body needs rest to fight her cold. My body needs rest. That's my plan. Hopefully I'll cooperate with myself.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back in the Saddle...

..but the horse keeps throwin' me off! Went back to work this morning, two weeks after my second surgery. It was nice to be back, but my energy level just can't seem to keep up with my desire. Sooooo....worked till noon and then came home and slept for a few hours. I've never been a napper, and hate that I am now. I like to go and go and go till evening. But now as the old saying goes, my "get-up-and-go has gotten-up-and-gone"! Hope it comes back soon!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A new blog...

I've blogged before. I like to blog. My sister challenged my to blog about my thyroid cancer, so here I go.

I started having weird throat symptoms in April of this year. Let 'em go for a while, but they wouldn't go, so I got checked. Blood work normal - I thought, "good," but they didn't agree. I got the results of my ultrasound while I was at a minor league baseball game with Lizzie's class. Over the roar of the crowd, I listened to words like "large mass" and "cancer" talked about the way you'd talk about "groceries" and "laundry". I was numb.

Fast forward to the ENT visit. I listened as he explained that there was a 50/50 chance that I'd have to have my chest cracked open to remove my thyroid. Now, I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one on T.V., but I know that the thyroid is supposed to be in the neck region. Apparently mine was traveling south even though it wasn't winter. But he was certain that whatever was going on, it wasn't cancer. I liked him better than the Cancer Phonecall Person.

June 1, surgery. I woke up with the typical thyroid wound in front of my neck. And 39 staples down the middle of my chest. Like open-heart surgery without the heart surgery. That hurt. But except for some post-op breathing trouble, I was up and around, and ready to go home on June 7. Feeling like I'd dodged a bullet. Till the gunman showed up on the 6th telling me that I had thyroid cancer. "Papillary carcinoma." I listened to all the details, and his reassurance that "if you have to get cancer, this is the one to get." I didn't remember being told that I had to get cancer in the first place.

Blood tests, recuperation and an MRI later, the decision to remove the last bit of thyroid tissue was made, and on Aug. 24 I had the second surgery. A paper cut compared to the first one, since it was only through the neck wound. Recovery was easy, and my voice seems like it will be pretty normal eventually. (For those who don't know, I was a voice major in college, so I kinda like to sing a little.) I haven't tried that yet, because I'm afraid of what I might sound like.

Now I'm waiting. Waiting to see the oncologist again, for the radioactive iodine (RAI) scan, and then the RAI treatment and week of isolation. Because I'll be radioactive. Like a nuclear weapon. I'm also waiting for the exciting symptoms of hypothyroidism, which make everything thus far sound like a cake walk. While I wait, I'm on a low-iodine diet. Essentially jelly beans and beer for the next month. I'll be fat and diabetic, but so drunk I won't care!

This whole thing has been...weird. And it has made me feel very week and dependent. Dependent on Jeff and Lizzie, who have been wonderful. They've done things for me that I would have preferred to do myself, and I'm grateful to them for that. On my sister, who's been funny and concerned and there whenever I need to talk. And on friends and my church family who have brought meals, taken me places when I couldn't drive, and provided prayer and encouragement every day since April. I don't know awful how the past few months would have been without them, and I'm grateful I won't have to find out.

In the New Testament, James wrote that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights..." I know that every person that has been involved in this with me has been a gift to me from God. I know that God even brought this cancer into my life for His purpose. I once read somewhere that if it never rained, we'd never see rainbows. Without the bad, God has no opportunity to show His love and care for His people. Paul wrote about his "thorn in the flesh", that God wouldn't remove because God's "grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness." And so Paul responded that he would "boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." I'm thankful that God has brought this situation in my life, because it's allowed me to be weak and He has shown Himself strong.

I've joked about "glowing in the dark" after my RAI treatment, mostly because if I don't joke about it, it just freaks me out. But I've been thinking about that phrase in the "light" of what Paul says in Philippians, and I realized that I want to glow in the dark; I want to "shine as lights in the world" in the darkness of cancer, of fear and uncertainty. I want everyone who's watching be able to see the Light and Strength of Christ.

My sister also challenged me to get a tattoo when my RAI is done. I'm not so sure about that one!