In my last writing on the same topic, God’s got this, I detailed how this statement of faith assisted me through the early days of a breast cancer diagnosis (you can read it here); it helped me remain sane and navigate many days of cancer treatment and keeping my head up with a disease which many regard as a death sentence.
As I pen this blog, it is exactly one year since my diagnosis – 22 February 2017. What is more interesting is that my follow-up visit with my oncologist is scheduled for today (22 February 2018). During this chat I’ll receive feedback about my recent blood tests and scans; we’ll have a conversation about the state of the disease, how to deal with the ongoing treatment side-effects and plot future visits, if so required.
It’s been a year already.
The time from then until now – the in-between – is probably the least spoken about period. It’s been bitter sweet.
Life in general is filled with in-between periods.
I’m talking about the gap between a promise and it materializing; the space from initiating a plan, dream or vision to the day when it actually stands fulfilled.
For some of us, the challenge of the in-between could even be the time from one payday to the next or from going to bed at night and waking up the next morning.
Reality is, we all have in-between periods.
My current in-between, in the context of my health, is the time from diagnosis to the day when, God-willing, I’ll receive a clean bill of health.
But what are we suppose to be doing in this often-chaotic space?
Here are some of the realities of my in-between this past year:
- I had fairly minimal, obvious consequences from both chemotherapy and radiation but truth be told, I suffered serious “burns” from radiation, so much that my skin is still healing – almost five months after treatment ended. And let’s not forget I have one less breast as a result of a mastectomy.
- My family and I were blessed to enjoy many short-left holidays, but this did not come without having to continue paying huge personal debt, which has been haunting us for more than 10 years.
- My career as a project manager had just taken off at the time of my diagnosis. In fact, I was in hospital for surgery whilst I was promoted to group project manager. It afforded me various local and international business trips, which I thoroughly enjoyed but at the end of October 2017, I was retrenched together with all my colleagues.
- The cancer-drugs I had pumped into my body this past year slowed and removed disease but this came at a cost of memory loss, extreme fatigue, loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. For any married person reading this, you’d know how much havoc the latter can cause in your mind and relationship with your spouse.
- And I can continue with a host of ups and downs…
The one thing I found useful during my in-between thus far was to keep a healthy state of mind. It is amazing how much influence one’s thinking has over your entire life. As a result, I’ve become an advocate of the concepts shared by men of old – Henry Ford said it this way: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” The biblical character, Solomon said “As a man thinks, so is he.”
The trick for me therefore continues to be keeping my mind active through learning, reading and participating in activities, which benefit others and not myself. There is tremendous benefit in giving of ones time, talent and money to others.
“Our response to the in-between will determine our victory” André Olivier.
As you and I both navigate the in-between in our respective lives, remember God has allowed this on purpose and for purpose. These periods of in-between have an ability to produce fruit and skill we need. The Israelites left Egypt enroute for Canaan (the promised land) but they also spent a long time in the desert (their in-between) and learnt invaluable lessons during this time.
As I journey through my in-between, God’s promise to me still carries me and I pray it carries you too – God’s Got This! He’s concerned about our well-being. We can trust Him!
Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I’m singing joyful praise to God.
I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I’m king of the mountain!
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (The Message)