Monday, May 26, 2008

Life Interrupted

I have often thought that the best description of my time as a Zambian missionary would be “Life Interrupted.” The title fits on many fronts. My life as a teacher in the US was interrupted when we sailed off on our adventure to Africa. My life in Africa is one interruption after another—people knocking on the door, a constant stream of visitors, chores to be done, power outages, water shortages, and endless inconveniences.

Those interruptions pale by comparison to the one I am now facing. I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The problem showed up on a routine yearly mammogram, and the initial diagnosis indicates that the cancer is in a very early stage—Stage 0 on a scale of 0 to 4. The kind of cancer I have is called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), and if I have to have cancer, I guess it’s one of the milder forms to have. It is not life-threatening; the five-year survival rate is nearly 100%, and chemotherapy is not required as part of the treatment.

This is, however, a colossal interruption in my life plans! My head is reeling with all of the things that I need and want to be doing in Africa, and my heart is aching for the people I miss over there. And as much as I love my children, family, and friends here in America, this is not where I want to be past my son’s wedding date on June 14.

I met with an oncologist Thursday and have an appointment with my surgeon on Wednesday. The treatment plan is to schedule a lumpectomy for the first week in June if the surgeon is available. Then after John and Leah’s wedding on June 14, I will have six and a half weeks of radiation therapy. My oncologist agrees that if all goes well I can return to Africa soon after I complete the radiation treatments.

For now, I ask for your prayers. My desire is to get back to Africa as soon as possible and continue my work there. More than that, however, is my desire to do God’s will, so please pray that whatever happens, God will be glorified. Pray that the surgery can be scheduled quickly and will show no additional cancer. Pray for my doctors as they interpret test results and plan treatment. Pray for David, who is, as he has always been, solid as a rock in times of trouble. Sara, John, and Leah need God’s strength to deal with this shock—especially since John and Leah are in the middle of planning a wedding. Pray for the Zambian students who will be without a teacher and sponsorship coordinator while I’m recovering. Pray that God will send someone who can fill in for me during the next few months.

And remember my recent blog about the lesson from the chickens? I wrote that during the time I was waiting for a diagnosis, and I was preaching to myself. Pray that I’ll keep looking up and recognizing the help God is sending and the blessings that are falling on me.

If you want to know more about DCIS, a good web site is www.breastcancer.org. And ladies, schedule those yearly mammograms!

I will keep my progress posted on the blog. Encouraging comments are welcome, and if you don’t want your comment posted for others to read, just let me know and I will enjoy it privately.

7 comments:

Bob said...

Even though you cannot for a time be where your heart longs to be, take comfort in knowing that you are among the most caring, loving people anywhere. Bob & Barbara

Jonathan and Amber said...

I really enjoyed the chicken story. Several times this week I have thought about your chickens and it has led me to look up to my Father. I have been blessed every time. Whether in the car or at home, chickens in Africa have led me to prayer. You were the link God used to bless me. Thank you.

I was saddened to hear of your recent diagnosis and “interruption”. You and your family are in my prayers. I am convinced that God will use you to continue blessing others. If God can use chickens to help you lead others to Him, just think what God can do with your journey through breast cancer.

Love,

Amber Weed

Josh & Denise Cummings said...

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thes. 1: 2-3

We will continue to pray for you and your family.

God Bless,

Josh & Denise Cummings

Anonymous said...

Words escape me right now. My heart is full of prayer for you and your journey ahead. Just know that you are loved and the ultimate physician is in charge. Love, Jamie Smith

Anonymous said...

Linda,
My family and I are praying for you. All of us HIZ students love you so much, and I really hope that next year's students get to meet you.God bless!

Kerri Coffey

Connie Rackley said...

Linda- So sorry to hear about your new diagnosis. I know that is a scary thing to go through, but I also know God will take you safely through & you will be blessed as you have blessed so many people. How wonderful to know that they caught it early & treatment is readily available! I will continue to pray for you & for nothing short of full healing.
Connie Rackley

waffy said...

mam,
i am praying for you. get well soon, godbless and takecare. -waffy