Tamoxifen, pain, fear and Jesus

This morning I sat down to read The First 15, as I do most every day, but with a little less ritual and a lot more intention. I opened the daily devotional looking for it to speak truth into the wonderings and worries of my heart, both shared and private.

Boy did it smack me between the eyes with the truth I was after!

An excerpt:

“What are the things that make me uncomfortable or uneasy? I compare my complaints with the tremendous circumstances Paul must have experienced in a Roman prison with meager food, deplorable living conditions, loneliness and fear. Paul learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Paul has found contentment and joy in something greater than circumstances. I want to learn his secret.”

A prayer:

Holy Lord God, I confess I have little experience with being in need, living in want or being hungry. I complain about the smallest things and allow circumstances to rob me of joy and strip me of contentment. Teach me the secret Paul discovered, to be content in any and every situation, looking to Jesus alone for strength. 

And supporting Scripture:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13

Holy moly. What a timely reminder not to fret about sudden, mysterious pains that send me down worrisome rabbit holes.

On the whole, I think I live in a super content, faith-centered state of mind.

Yet, I am human too.

I don’t think it’s wrong to be proactive in trying to minimize the sometimes debilitating pain that comes on suddenly and with a vengeance. Having said that, today’s devotional rightly reminded me that He who is the source of my strength should come first.

If I’m thinking of quitting Tamoxifen (I’d be lying to say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, and often here lately), I should take that to Him in prayer first.

When it hurts so badly that I yelp just to swing one leg in front of the other to take a step forward, I shouldn’t let worry or frustration come before gratitude that He is with me and goes before me.

When I’m at a crossroads about whether or not to move forward with a particular medical procedure, that’s not a decision I have to make on my own. I can pray about it and listen for His guidance.

This whole cancer journey has felt murky as all get out.

From the initial biopsy findings all the way to the Oncotype risk recurrence score, I’ve been in this intermediate risk category. That complicates my feelings about Tamoxifen even more.

I’m not low risk. I’m not high risk. I’m, like, intermediate borderline high risk. With a very young age at diagnosis further complicating matters, and no family history or genetic mutations to help clarify any of the murkiness.

In such a vast gray area where the what ifs are high stakes, I can’t think of a better time to absolutely give it to God.

And so it shall be!

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