Actually, I wasn’t prepared for the question. And when the question came nearly every single time some one approached me last Sunday, I still was surprised.
What was the question?
“How is your health, Heather?”
John and I had just finished speaking at Community Presbyterian Church in Post Falls, Idaho. Community Presbyterian Church is one of our supporting churches that we are visiting while we are on home assignment in the States. It is common after we are finished sharing to have people approach John and me with questions, stories, or fun little antedotes that came to their minds when they heard us share.
Yet, woman after woman after woman approached to see how I am faring after having been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer three years ago.
Honestly, there are times I have almost forgotten about that cancer season of my life. It’s easy to do that right now because I don’t have my next follow-up appointment until February 2016. I am in the thick of our home assignment in the States – there are no places here that remind me of my cancer or the drive I took day after day after day after day for my treatment. My cancer was diagnosed at the beginning of September – a lumpectomy surgery, dozens of radiation treatments and scores of follow-up appointments and my scars and aches and pains from time to time would actually make one think that my cancer experience is often on my mind. But, it’s not.
I can’t say I have moved on though.
I don’t think anyone who has experienced cancer ever truly forgets.
When the women approached me last Sunday, many of them came up to me to enquire about my current health, but also to share their own cancer experience(s). As they opened up about their health situations – both past and present – I listened with humility and gratitude. I was humbled by their care and interest in me and how they all have continued to pray for me so faithfully. I stood and listened with gratitude because currently I feel great!
I feel strong, resilient, and ready for life!
I enjoy an amazingly fulfilling, secure, and loving relationship with my husband, John. John is my earthly soul mate and he blesses me. And he makes me laugh. I love the joy we share!
Micah, Jake and Caleb are growing up to be young men of character and who truly are seeking the Lord for their lives. We’re not done parenting and coaching them by any means. However, they are really a blessing to be around and to know.
I guess I don’t think much about my cancer lately because I am so grateful for the life I have and with whom I am sharing it!
Yet, the time with these women also reminded me that I do have an incredible opportunity to keep sharing the hope and life I have in Christ – as a cancer survivor!
So, I did something I have never done before since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. I bought a cancer survivor jersey (or fleece as they call them in the States). I wore it yesterday as our family participated in a fall excursion that we rarely have done in the past ten years. We took a trip to Sauvies Island and maneuvered through the corn maze, ate elephant ears, surveyed pumpkins, and walked among the flower garden. As I did so, I thanked God for this moment and the many moments He has given me the past three years.
I am not cancer secure yet. I have two more years before I receive that designation.
Yet, I am secure in the love and life I have in Jesus Christ and the joy I have in my family. I am blessed indeed. I am grateful for those who continue to check in on me and care for me. I don’t ever want to take these loves and this life I have for granted – I am not just a cancer survivor, I am a cancer thriver!