Blessed to be going through a cancer journey

Lorelei's notes in preparation for sharing her testimony to Cherokee Hills Baptist Church youth on 5/9/2012:

"2 Corinthians 4

In a time when I thought I was most lost, the Lord was working in my life. I've come to learn that we panic when we lose a sense of control in our lives. It's human nature. But when we release control from our clenched fists we see the Lord's will play out in our every day life and we're blessed beyond measure. People think I'm crazy because I consider myself blessed to be going through a cancer journey. Give me a couple of minutes and if I do my job right, you'll see how.

Just three long months ago I was here. Actually I was downstairs at Tiffany Castell'a funeral. I had this cough that was EXTREMELY obnoxious. I had been told I had bronchitis or pneumonia four times in the previous two months so I figured it was something I'd just have to push through and eventually my body would heal.. But the cough got really bad right in the middle of the ceremony. I brought cough drops.. I brought a drink of water.. Nothing helped my cough. I had to leave in the middle of the ceremony  because i was such a distraction. I remember being so angry that I couldn't support my friend in the hardest time of her life. I was so tired of being sick. I didnt understand it. I couldn't kick this cough. I didn't know it then, but it's because I had an 11cm tumor in my chest.

I'll tell you about how I came to find this tumor. I went to a doc in a box (that's what we call them) because it was Saturday and my doctor was closed. We did a chest x-ray thinking I maybe had pneumonia but what we found wasn't pneumonia. The doctor came in pale faced and sent me immediately to the hospital to get a CT scan. At this point, the Lord had already been working. You guys have probably been to the ER before. If you're Brittany Castell, you're a regular. But you know how long it takes to do anything when you're in an Emergency Room.. Well, I didn't have to go through that. My parents were planning on having dinner with a group of friends that night, one of which was a doctor at the hospital I went to. Coincidence or God? He called up and I didn't have to go through paper work or even see an ER doctor. I just went straight up to have the CT scan. That detail may seem pretty irrelevant but I chose to share it because it shows that the Lord is concerned with every detail in our lives. He looks after us constantly.  Later that day the doctor called back and said I have a conglomeration of swollen lymph nodes and it's most likely lymphoma. Lymphoma? I don't even know what that is.. They told me its kind of like Leukemia? LEUKEMIA?! I know what that is... Wait. Does this mean I have cancer?

The next few nights were the hardest nights I've ever been through. I questioned God. I didn't want him to use me. I didn't want to trust him to heal me because I didn't want him to have to heal me because I didn't want to have cancer. I didn't want to lose my hair and have scars on my chest. I didn't want to feel nauseas and tired all the time because of chemo. No. Those nights were hard because I chose to keep my life in my own hands and I have no idea what I'm doing. I chose to deny the peace that the Lord offers.

Over the next week I had three surgeries. I had a biopsy (they went in here) and confirmed that I have hodgkin's lymphoma. I had a port put in. That's where they put the chemo through instead of running it up my arm trough an IV. Chemo is pretty corrosive and the veins in your arms are kind of weak. That's why you need a port. I also had a bone marrow biopsy to see if the cancer was in my bones too. Praise the Lord, it wasn't. We followed the Lord's guidance and I ended up with an oncologist named Brian Geister. I thought it was pretty creepy that his name is so close to Brian Meister. That got pretty confusing sometimes. Anyway, I did PET scans and more scans and more needles and blah blah until we were ready to develop a plan. The scans told me I had Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma and our plan was 12 rounds of chemotherapy and one month of radiation. Right now I have received 7 of those 12 rounds of chemo. I had a PET scan on Monday and it showed that at least 90% of my cancer is dead.

2 Corinthians 4:15-18

This is what drives me. This is what keeps me positive. *ask someone to read verse 15 for me again* Do you hear that? It says that when we go through hard times and we put our trust in God, he receives the glory. I've had the chance to meet a lot of new people and share with them how God is working in my life. This passage tells me that this is what makes my journey, my struggles worth it. God receives the glory.

What I'm going through is temporary. It's hard but it's very short in the scheme of eternity!!! Remember how I shared the detail about not having to wait in line at the emergency room? Those are small details of my life that the Lord takes care of. He takes care of the big things like healing cancer and he takes care of the small things. Just because you don't have cancer doesn't mean that you aren't facing some pretty serious stuff. You may be in an argument with your friends, you may have finals coming up that you're worried about.. Your parent may be sick. The Lord calls us to cast our cares upon him and reminds us that our earthly sorrows are temporary, and there is a beautiful eternity waiting for us. If you've never experienced the peace that I'm talking about.. The love of our Savior.. Please come find me after the service. I would love to talk with you."

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Psalm 91:14-16

New International Version (NIV)

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."