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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another First

Last week I experienced yet another “first” in my cancer journey. A good friend of mine from high school was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called ocular melanoma. That’s eye cancer.

My first loved one to receive such a diagnosis since I’ve begun this journey. It’s different now. Hearing news of a cancer diagnosis feels different now. I have the wisdom of an insider and that makes hearing the news even more difficult. More vivid. More emotional.

Facebook seemed to carry the bad news quickly around her inner and outer circles forming a strong support group. Somehow I missed the postings coming from my friends. When my mom called to tell me, I lost my breath and orientation on the earth. I felt like the air had been sucked from where I was sitting, although I was sitting outside at the time. Even though there was plenty of fresh air, I couldn’t breathe and hot tears spilled down my cheeks.

My reaction would’ve likely contained the same emotions before my own diagnosis but this felt different. Surreal. Anger and grief surfaced as I felt what she must surely be feeling all over again.

I called our common bestie from high school and began asking questions. The crazy truth about Facebook is that although it puts you “in touch” with people you love dearly and have missed like crazy in your adult life, it still doesn’t put your in their everyday life. We all live states apart from each other now. We don’t talk on a regular basis. Details are few and far between.

The truth screamed once again, “There is nothing to do but wait. And pray. And wait. And pray.”

And so I prayed. And I sent her an email. And I prayed. And I prayed. And I still pray.

I did receive an email back from her. She is still waiting. They don’t know much.

It’s the same old cancer story. Same song. Second verse. Wait. Pray. Hope. Believe. Pray some more.

And in this pattern, I wondered. I wondered why having the privilege of praying for my friend doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything. The reality is that I have the awesome honor of taking her, her precious husband, her six sweet children and her beautiful extended family before the King of Kings. I have the ability to pray like an “insider” because I’ve stood where they’re standing. I’ve waited on an appointment with a specialist. I’ve not known the size, stage and complete pathology of a tumor in my body. I’ve wondered if a treatment plan could be formulated that would work. And I’ve agonized in prayer over my future and that of my family. I have access to the only power that can save her life. Yet, I still feel so helpless.

This feeling urges me to pray more. Pray harder. The desire to help pushes me to stand stronger and dig deeper.

Because all I know how to do is cling to Jesus when I am too far removed to cling to my friend.

My friend has been preliminarily diagnosed with ocular melanoma. She is currently waiting on an appointment with a specialist in Philadelphia. If you have any experience with this eye cancer or know anyone in Philly, please leave a comment or email me. I will forward your comments and information to her. Above all, please pray. Our God can move mountains.

Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Romans 12:12


Stacey Dawn said...

Praying for your friend and her family - for comfort and healing and God's blessings.

Debbie said...

So sorry to hear about your friend. I too know that feeling that comes over you at a cancer diagnosis and all the "waiting" involved. Soo overwhelming. Praise God she knows the ultimate Physcian and I too will go to His throne for her.

Kathy@ Gone North said...

OH I am so sorry for your friend. I too understand the "Cancer Wait" & although it was not my body, but my husbands, the terror that the wait can bring.
You want to do "something" bring a meal, offer a ride... sometimes circumstances don't allow for practical things... BUT our time is best given as a gift, in prayer.
I will lift her up also.

Leslie Pruitt said...

Hey Lisa, Just read your post. I live in a suburb of Philly, about 40 minutes West of Center City. I haven't been here very long, so I'm not sure if i could help out that much! But.. I'm here!

Sandy Cooper said...

Oh...my heart breaks for your friend. It's posts like this that bring perspective to my "funk" today.

I understand how it's different now, being an "insider." I feel the same way every time someone loses a child. It's a new grief. A new urgency. Because you know what today is like and what next week is like and what next year is like.

I will pray with you for her. Right now.

Blessings dear sister. I love you.

Denise said...

I will be praying for your friend.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. It seems like more and more people are getting cancer diagnoses these days. My husbands grandmother just died from breast cancer and my own grandmother is undergoing a round of chemo for a relapse of melanoma.