Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Medical Update: Pray Without Ceasing

I have found that one of the harder things in dealing with cancer is the unknowns.  There is always the worry that this cancer will come back, or that there will be side effects of my treatment.

Every three months I have a follow up appointment with my oncologist and every six months I have a follow up with my surgical oncologist. Those are my two "cancer doctors.” I recently have had very positive appointments with both of those doctors.

My oncologist has me taking a shot to control the cysts that I was having, and so far that has helped tremendously. As a negative it has caused me to have major hot flashes and can likely cause osteoporosis, but at the present it is working and things look good. They will do blood tests every three to six months as a way to make sure there is no reoccurrence. 

My follow up with my surgical oncologist was positive as well. I was informed that when my type of breast cancer spreads it usually will spread to the lungs or bones, so if I have any really bad pain that would be something to get checked out. I have had a tear in my hip joint for about a year now, being treated with cortisone injections. Because of this I have been put on bone calcium supplements so that my bones will stay strong and not encourage bad cell production. But overall my doctor was very pleased with how I am doing!

Even with getting good reports from all my doctors there is always that "what if" in the back of my mind. As I have thought through this, I have been reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." The fact that Paul says "do not" indicates that being anxious isn’t just unhelpful – it is actually sinful. God commands us not to be anxious. This does not mean that I can’t be concerned about real and serious needs, but that I should not give into the temptation to worry or be anxious about those concerns.

And just like God commands us not to be anxious, he commands us to pray. And the fact that he puts those two commands together is no mistake. When I am tempted to worry or be anxious, the best way to remove that temptation is to go directly to God in prayer. My daughter has learned a verse in her Pre-K class that she recites all the time. It is 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." She gets so excited to recite something, and having her recite this verse so often has not only engrained it in her heart, but also in mine. When I get anxious, I need to pray. And when I get anxious again, I need to pray. That is what it means to pray without ceasing. 

I would appreciate your prayers as I continue to recover from this past surgery and decide what and if there will be a follow up surgery in the coming months. Thank you!