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The Lesson I’m Learning from Cancer. Again.

I woke up this morning to a brain seething with activity.

In the last month I have registered for seven different intensive online courses that range from Photoshop artistry to video blogging.

It’s exciting! And overwhelming. Plus, these courses need to be paid for.

So, the brain goes on overdrive.

Maybe I should offer a week of mini consultations at the end of June to help cover the cost?

Wait, what about strawberries? Are there any left out there? I wanted to make jam and freeze sliced strawberries with vanilla bean.

I should bake this morning. Bread, some kind of coffee cake and maybe Henry’s favorite peanut butter cookies.

What am I making for supper? I have leftover ham. It should be something interesting though. I can’t serve ham and potatoes for the third time. Better google some recipes.

Hang on, I’ve got all these courses to work on today, I don’t have time for all that! An intense twinge in my leg stopped me cold.

It was time to take a deep breath.

I’ve been getting rather painful twinging more often in the last little while. I had thought they were signs of feeling returning to my leg. Until late one evening, while getting a small ice pack ready to rest my feet on, (Yes, I still get the odd hot flash in my feet.) I realized that I couldn’t feel the cold on my leg even though the ice pack was right against my skin. I found that kind of intriguing (and a little weird) and thought I would use this to test just how much of my leg was numb. Because I can feel pressure (in my leg) as well as sensation (in my hand) when I run my hand over my leg, I can’t get an accurate idea that way.

The test shocked me. I thought I had feeling in my knee and most of the back of my leg. It turns out that I have no feeling in my knee and only in a small strip right in the middle of the back of my leg.

I’ve started to realized that I may never get that feeling back and that the twinges may be permanent.

The past week has been a difficult one as I struggled with how to accept this. I know in my heart that everything comes from the Lord and is all a part of His perfect plan for me but that doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with accepting his will with a glad heart.

That twinge this morning brought me up short.

The intensity with which I pursue the many things that interest me is both my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. I become so focused on those things that need to be learned or done right now, that I stop living each day with joy, looking for ways to show my family and friends how much I love and cherish them. I instead become consumed with trying to make every moment of the day count. I start to resent taking time out of my day to run for groceries, visit someone for tea, snuggle Henry, or take more than 15 minutes getting dinner ready if I can’t get away with saying “Help yourself.”

I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my experience with cancer has been that the things that matter most in life are the people and how we love and cherish them. The other is that we are valuable for who we are, not what we do. You have no idea how hard that last one is for me. I no problem valuing others for who they are rather than what they do but when it comes to showing myself that same grace?

Not so much.

Obviously the two things that go first when I start hyper focusing on something are those two lessons.

As I was lying in bed, praying about all the difficulties my leg has been giving me, it suddenly occurred to me . . .

I could look at my leg pain as a terrible burden or a blessed gift. A gift that would continue to remind me of those hard earned lessons that I seem to so easily forget.

Instead of heading straight to the computer after breakfast I ran downstairs, woke up Holly and the two of us went on a spur of the moment adventure to Fort Edmonton before she had to work later that afternoon.

We had the loveliest time. We strolled around, stopping here and there, ending up at the Selkirk Hotel for lunch. She and I shared a brushcetta and balsamic vinegar glazed, grilled cheese sandwich on swirled rye bread. It was so good, I asked our waitress to find out what brand of balsamic vinegar they used so I could try to recreate it at home.

And I am going to make to time to actually do it.


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