His Loving Arms

When I say I am a Breast Cancer Survivor, most people congratulate me. Hey, hey, hey……I didn’t do anything really. I mean what could I do? I suppose people imply that I was a fighter but in all honesty, it was not a battle I chose. In fact, I did very little fighting. I was in “getting by one day at a time mode” but more importantly, I was in a “trusting” mode. I completely and totally HAD to put all my trust in God. Oh yes, in fairness, I placed myself in the hands of excellent Doctors and Nurses and a hospital that was second to none. But even these professionals lose patients all the time. For surely even they know that ultimately they are not in control. They must know that there is someone with far more power than all their learned selves who draws a line in the sands of time. I know that Almighty God had a specific plan for me. Indeed I believe He does for every one of us. Whether we acknowledge it or not, well, that is another thing. But I told Jesus the day I was diagnosed, “I want you to use me to touch someone else’s life and hopefully draw them to you, Lord” I meant it from the bottom of my heart then and I meant it through all the months of treatments. I meant it when I was afire with radiation burns; I meant it through horrid chemotherapy treatments. I meant it the first time I had to be hospitalized with pneumonia and even the second time but I was close that night to saying too much. What I did say as my husband was leading my weakened and feverish body out the door was, “Someone HAD better be getting ‘saved’ by all this Lord!” He knew I was about at my limit and He guided me through that bout of suffering. When my pneumonia was starting to get under some sort of control and I awoke in that lonely hospital bed to a mouth full of wretched painful sores (from the chemotherapy) I allowed the tears to flow. That was the last straw or so I thought. Was I brave? Not really. I was surviving. When they found cancer in the second breast, I paused and with tears flowing again, I said to my husband, “Just maybe this IS my time to die…” He turned away before he cried and shook his head. He was not ready to give up. He was fighting for me. He carried my burden bravely. He was there for me every moment of every day. When he couldn’t be physically there, he made sure my daughter was there. When I couldn’t be with my youngest daughter when she began her first year of University abroad, he brought along her Godfather in support. He led the family through this battle in such a way that I feel he deserved a medal of honor. All my children pulled together and supported me and each other. My ten brothers and sisters were in constant prayer. One brother flew over 4000 miles to spend time with me. I was loved and cherished and surrounded by prayer. Friends were on their knees.

I must describe one night in particular for you. With my blood count so depleted by the ongoing chemotherapy, I had to have injections daily for ten days after each chemotherapy session. The injection itself was extremely painful and just before i plunged the needle into my stomach, I held my breath and prayed. But what was to come was far worse. The medication worked deep within the bone marrow to stimulate white blood cell growth. As a result, all my bones were excruciatingly painful. I could barely walk. I was in constant pain. I could not stand the feel of the sheets touching me. I had to keep anyone from touching me. I was to ward off my precious grandchildren. I hobbled about with a walking stick and grasping onto my husband’s arm for support. One night as I gingerly made my way into bed, I began to softly cry. The pain was close to unbearable. As I lay there trying to get comfortable and ready to try to sleep, I silently cried to the Lord, “Help me please” It was then that Ray crept closer to me and with the most gentle touch ever, he slowly and lovingly gathered me into his loving arms. He held me and loved me and cherished me and I knew it was the touch of the “Master”. I closed my eyes and knew that I was held in His loving arms.

Praise be to God.

I have been cancer free for over ten years now.

Congratulations to Ray Medeiros, my loving husband. And thank you to Jesus Christ my precious Savior!

We’re Singing Mother into Paradise

I wrote this over 16 years ago and decided to share it again in my blog….

I always remember the Twenty-Third Psalm was my parents’ favorite scripture.  Every night they would recite it together as they prayed for their eleven children and later many grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.  After Dad died, Mom continued this tradition.  We always knew we were loved and lovingly prayed for.  It gave us comfort and even encouragement over the years.  Then after Christmas a few years ago, we were called together once again when news came that Mom had another cerebral aneurysm.  Fifteen years before that she had had a successful surgery on two aneurysms and we were told then that there were several more.  She could live two weeks, the surgeon said, or twenty years before another one might burst.  So now, at the age of eighty-two, Mom lay in the hospital in Ottawa as an aneurysm began to slowly leak into her brain.

At first, she could communicate with us and indeed even talk and laugh at times, but as the leak grew worse, she became less and less coherent.  In that hospital room, we prayed with her, sang and read scriptures softly as she lay there.  I had left my husband and four children at home in Bermuda to be with her, but as the days became weeks and Mom was still with us, I had to say my goodbyes and go back home to my family.

Knowing this would probably be the last time I would see my mother, I said my private farewells to her.  By now,  her brain was damaged so much that she could barely utter a word or two.  Mom could no longer form a clear thought, let alone have any sort of conversation.  Indeed, she was slipping into a coma.

It was a cold snowy day in Ottawa, and I was alone with Mom in that hospital room.  I hugged her and thanked her for her wonderful life.  I thanked God for everything He had given us in her, and then I opened her Bible and began to read: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want….”  I finished the Psalm.  She lay there still and unresponsive.  I then felt led to read it aloud to her again, this time saying, “Mom, the Lord is your shepherd; you shall not want. He makes you to lie in green pastures, Mom; He leads you beside the still waters. He restores your soul, Mom…..” I slowly finished and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I turned and started to leave the room.  Before I reached the doorway, I heard a clear strong voice behind me, and I swung around.  Mom was speaking with the voice of a young woman, “The Lord is MY shepherd; I shall not want; He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul…” I lifted my hands to praise Almighty God as she spoke clearly every word, every phrase with love, tenderness, and strength, finishing with, ” And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

With that last word, she lapsed back into semi-consciousness and never spoke another word. Two days later, the aneurysm burst and the doctors gave her just hours to live….but that mighty woman of God lived for another twelve days as we continued our vigil of thanksgiving, song, and prayer together…..her children lovingly surrounding her.  Always having been a musical family, we “Sang our mother into Paradise…  When she did take her last breath, we were softly  singing, “She is entering His gates with thanksgiving in her heart; she is entering His courts with praise. “