This Far

11 Jan

Allow me to indulge in some wallowing. This has been a rough day.

It started out with a visit to the doctor’s office. Just a regular doctor. No big, scary oncologists were involved.

Truth is, it actually felt kind of good to see a doctor regarding something that had nothing to do with cancer. It felt so normal to have a medical concern that could not be blamed on Tamoxifen. Of course, I was wrong…

For the past few months, I have been experiencing pain and stiffness in my neck, back and shoulder. All very minor, and I hoped it would go away. It didn’t. The pain spread to my arms, and then my hands went numb. They aren’t constantly numb. They just go numb whenever I’m doing something important. Like driving.

Even though I had never before visited a chiropractor, I felt sure that a visit to one could solve my problem.

The visit started out well enough. Looking around, I was pleased to see that the exam room was not furnished with equipment that looked like it belonged in a torture chamber. And I was pleased that nobody in a white lab coat approached me with needles. I didn’t even have to take off my shirt. I was starting to like this place already.

As the kind chiropractor gently massaged my back and shoulders, I felt myself relaxing — until he informed me that my current medical concern was most likely due to my past experience with cancer.

Cancer? Really? I couldn’t believe it. He went on to explain that my surgeries to get rid of the cancer a few years back had taken a significant toll on my muscles, nerves and bones. Other parts of my body had apparently stepped in to compensate. But they couldn’t keep it up long-term. Consequently, the numb hands.

Soon after I left the chiropractor’s office, a deep, dull pain set in from the treatment. I hurt from the top of my head down to my heels. Throughout the day, tears kept filling my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. No way would I cry even just one more tear over cancer.

One of my favorite movies is Star Trek First Contact. I love the powerful scene when Lily tries to convince Captain Picard to give up his ship and retreat from the invasion of their seemingly undefeatable and evil enemy, the Borg. But Captain Picard insists that too many compromises and sacrifices have already been made. At the climax of that scene, Captain Picard shouts, “The line must be drawn here. This far, no farther!”

Seems to me the Borg are a lot like cancer. I feel that I’ve made way too many compromises and sacrifices since cancer invaded my life. Like Captain Picard, I want to shout, “This far, no farther!” But this morning, cancer had the audacity to cross that line again.

I’ve never been a fan of the book of Job. It always seems like such an unhappy book to me with all that fuss over human suffering. But today it was as if the hand of God moved my numb hands to open the Bible directly to the book of Job chapter 38. In this chapter, God is basically comparing His divine awesomeness to Job’s puny understanding of pretty much everything. By the time I got to verse 11 – in which God asks Job “Who said (to the ocean), ‘This far you may come and no farther?’” – I realized there was a message here for me.

I’m not the one who gets to draw the line in the sand. God does. Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes I need to be reminded that He is in control. Even of cancer.

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5 Responses to “This Far”

  1. Brian Fitch January 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Jill,

    That is just an excellent article. God is working through you and this terrible experience with cancer. God is helping you to have a good perspective on this. Can’t imagine how difficult your journey has been.

    My former D.S.’s wife, who attend our church, has to have a mastecomy later this month. I’m going to recommend your blog to her.

    Thank your husband so much for helping with Jackie’s car, he’s a lifesaver!!!

  2. writergirldreams January 11, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about what you’ve said, it sure does resonate with me Sister. I was thinking, even though you feel as if cancer has crossed another line, maybe you’ve forgotten how big and beautiful that beach is, the one that is your life. It’s huge, as far as the eye can see and beyond, and the small amount of sand that cancer has taken from you is a drop in the bucket, so to speak, compared to all that is, all that will never be touched by cancer, never dimished by cancer. Jill, I don’t think God is drawing the line in the sand, I think for every teaspoon cancer takes, God graces you with a cup. For every cup cancer takes, God graces you with a bucket. For every bucket cancer takes, God arrives with trucks full. For every act of war cancer initiates, God arrives with legions of soldiers and angels. Lift your head up Jill. Look how far and wide that beach goes. See me? I’m waving to you, digging my toes in, here on your beach, and every time cancer draws a new line, we’ll step over it together. hug. hugs Sister. wgd

  3. Kamela January 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    He is in control! Sorry the journey has been so rough, but you are so strong, and an inspiration. You commend me because I changed my headlight, but that is nothing to what you have overcome!

  4. Shannon January 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    As always, Jill, your heart’s cry is heard clearly. GOD has given you such a beautiful gift of expression. You have the ability to take the sting out of our hard knocks and gently remind us of our purpose. Thank you. – Shannon

  5. Janet Lea January 20, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    My dear friend, God is using you as you minister to others. I am praying for you and I know you & Mom are very close but remember I’m available also. Love you!

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