“Your life is like a morning fog-it’s here a little while then it’s gone.” James 4:14
It was on December 15th, 2014, that I was diagnosed with Stage 3, Multiple Myeloma with Plasma Cell Leukemia, both are incurable but treatable cancers. It’s important to note that with Multiple Myeloma, there are only 3 stages. I was critical if only I had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, but with also having Plasma Cell Leukemia, it would make treatment difficult. It was during one of the first visits that I got the courage to ask if this cancer was terminal. My oncologist said that the average person diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma is over the age of 65 and a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma would give a life expectancy of 5-10 years. At that moment, James 4:14 became even more real. How much time do I have to live? Life in and of itself is like fog, here for a moment, then gone and that’s without cancer?
In the coming months, it was weekly chemo treatments mixed in with transfusions, hospitalizations and trips every other month to see a MM specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In June, 2015, I underwent a stem cell transplant at Mayo Clinic. If successful, I would have required only maintenance chemo and it could have extended my life by 4-5 years. Unfortunately, the transplant failed, so it’s back to both IV and oral chemo monthly and every two weeks. Since the original diagnosis, I’ve also been diagnosed with two other blood cancers, Smouldering MDS and LGL Leukemia. The treatment for all four cancers is the same, so until God heals me, I’ll have chemo and when the one I’m currently on becomes ineffective, I’ll be moved to a different chemo treatment. With every hospitalization, change in chemo, new cancer found and especially the failed transplant, my perspective on my life and how I was using my time was repeatedly put in check.
Psalms 90:12 says, “Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly.” In this verse, the writer is asking the Lord to help him keep just how short life is in perspective, so that he would use his time wisely and not waste it away. Before the diagnosis, I can honestly say that I didn’t consider how short life was or not to such a degree. I didn’t seize opportunities to share Jesus with those whom I crossed paths. I wasn’t conscientious on how I used my time and I took so many things for granted.
Since the diagnosis, my prayer and deepest desire has been that NOTHING on this journey would be wasted. I want God to use me to shine His light and love. I want to share the hope I have in Jesus and that regardless of their circumstances, they too can have that same hope. While I’m not thankful for cancer, I’m thankful that the journey has changed my perspective on life and how short it really is. Thankful that it’s opened my eyes to the hopelessness others face without a relationship with the Lord whether they’re diagnosed with cancer or face another life crisis. Thankful that I have the opportunity to share with them how they can have the same hope in Jesus. So, I now I live each day being the hands and feet of Jesus, wherever I go and to God be all the glory.
Life, Love & Cancer Ribbons,