Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The next passageway

Last week was glorious.

It was a return to life before cancer.... feeling like myself again. A week without doctor's appointments, (except for one Vit. C infusion), without tiredness overshadowing my day, without breast cancer determining my steps and schedule. Without constantly talking about this disease.

A week of homeschooling, football (of course!), making dinner again and doing laundry, running errands, being fully present with the children: All the little things that I had taken for granted before cancer entered my world and that of my family. We went to football games on Saturday and Sunday sitting on the sidelines cheering as Seth ran the ball within one foot of scoring a touchdown and Luke knocked down any opponent that dared crossed his path. We went out to dinner as a family (and I actually was able to eat). And we went to a wedding yesterday, children included, celebrating two lives that God has joined together. Truly a beautiful ending to a glorious week of normalcy, joy and togetherness as a family.

And all was good.....

........except for the looming hair loss that hung before me. The next passageway on this journey.

The calendar that would count down the days to the next chemo treatment and the talked about "Day 14" which would mark hair coming out upon my pillow in the morning. A day I didn't want to see or think about. As my oncologist told me, "You can expect your hair to come out by your next chemo treatment.

That treatment is this Thursday.

And as I blew dry my hair Monday morning, styling it for the wedding, trying to make it look pretty for my husband who loves my long hair.....wearing it down (with dark roots and all), melancholy flowed over me. It will be a long time before I do this again.

Will I be able to embrace the new reflection starring back at me in the mirror after my hair is gone?

And all I can do is embrace God even tighter.

Tomorrow my day begins early with lab work, then onto my plastic surgeon for yet another "filling" and then to my oncologist in preparation for round 2 of chemo Thursday morning.

At 2:00, I will sit in the hair salon chair as my long hair is shaved and falls to the ground. As my head will return to the day that I left my mother's womb and entered this world.....bald. As breast cancer now is not something that can be hidden under my shirt, but now worn for everyone to see.

I don't know what these next steps look like. But yet I walk. I'm a little scared. I'm a lot weak. And I'm fighting to focus on the little step in the big picture. This is temporary. Hair will grow back. (probably darker and curlier, so I'm told). And my beauty is not in my hair or my eyebrows or my eyelashes. They adorn my head, but yet are not what defines who I am. And more than anything, I struggle with what is displayed to the eyes of the beholders. Will you see a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind and strength? Or will you see a woman who is bald with cancer? Will you see beauty or just disease?

And as I even write these questions, my heart is pricked because the very root of my fear is my own insecurity and pride. Sin that entangles my heart and draws me into a self-reflective posture that cares too much about how I'm seen by the world.

Losing your hair is no small step. But what is so much more important is not what my hair looks like, but what my heart looks like before the Lord. What dwells there that is causing Him to look upon me with sadness? The fear, the pride, the insecurity.....they need to fall as the hair upon my head is shaved.

And as they do, as I confess each one of these sins which lay deep inside my heart to God, my Father, may I be adorned with the grace of God, the love of Christ and the redemption that I have in Him knowing that I am not a workmanship of cancer, but of Christ Jesus.

As the stylist tomorrow fits me for my wig and styles it making me appear as before....may I not be the same woman.

May I be changed.

May I embrace that image in the mirror reflecting back at me knowing that God is doing a bigger work in my heart and life. The old must go and the new must come. May I rejoice at this passageway and thank God for the privilege of walking so closely with my Savior. May my heart be filled with thanksgiving that He loves me enough that He allowed this cancer into my life for His purposes.

The image of one set of footprints in the sand. He is carrying me.

He is filling me with His Spirit, searching my heart and He knows me. Purify me Lord. And He desires to transform me into the image of Jesus Christ. And as I want to turn and run from "Day 14" in every part of my weak flesh, may I instead turn and run into the arms of my loving Father who only needs one hand to uphold me.......His righteous right hand.

Tomorrow, I walk through that next passageway and bend in the long hallway from the door called chemo. I walk hand in hand with my Savior....my husband and a few precious friends who will cheer me on.

"Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold or putting on fine apparel-rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." 1 Peter 3:3,4



Much love,
Stacy





19 comments:

MICHELE CERVONE SCOTT said...

Stacy, I haven't walked in your shoes. Yet from the outside looking in, I can remind you that your beauty will remain, not because of hair and such but because of who you are inside. And I have to wonder... if God knows every hair on our heads, how much He's already considered this loss. Sometimes just knowing He sees, He knows, and He hears comforts me. I'm sorry you have to go through this. Thanks for being so transparent. I'm praying.

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Oh Sweet friend, lifting you up in prayer this morning and will cover you all day tomorrow!

what makes you beautiful and will remain to has nothing to do with the outside. As hard as that is for us as women to remember - God lives in the most precious place of all your heart! That is what shines forth in your smile, your eyes that tell me you love Him!


So blessed to call you friend and walk this journey beside you.

Trusting God to bless you through this loss - you might not understand it now but I am sure when this is all over you will be able to see ever detail of His love for you and how He used it for His glory and your good!

Look up and forward with great expectation, God is leading the way!

Love you!
Jill

Lynn said...

Beauty truly is in all the 'invisible things with eternal value...thanks for being transparent and keeping it real, Stacy. Staying 'cross-eyed' (Heb. 12:2) Love, hugs and prayers, Lynn

Emily said...

What a beautiful picture of you and precious Faith! Praying for you today. I heard this song by Avalon this morning on the radio. It is one of my favorites!

"In Christ alone my hope is found

He is my light, my strength, my song

This Cornerstone, this solid ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand"

Stand in the love of Christ today!

Love,
Emily

Birdie said...

Stacy, what a blessing you are. Another beautiful, heartfelt post that encourages me, and others I'm sure, to draw closer to the Lord. I am still praying for you. And no doubt, you will still be beautiful inside & out. It's wonderful to see how the Lord draws you close to Him and gives you strength and peace. He is so faithful. And what a beautiful testimony you have of His faithfulness.

And who knows? After all this, certain parts of your body will look like an 18 year old again, and you may have long beautiful naturally curly hair that your husband is just crazy about!! ;)

Debbie said...

Good Morning....Again, what an amazing attitude you have. No doubt a tribute to a heart so totally belonging to Him. I am sooo glad you had a week of "normal" I was thinking the same thing as your friend Michelle. The Lord has everyone of those hairs counted, and knows just how you are feeling, and loves you more than you could ever really begin to imagine. My young dil had to work a wig 3 times and so I am quite familiar with the process. She and I would often joke about how "easy" her hair was to do. How quickly she popped it on and was ready to go. And it was BEAUTIFUL truly. Just gorgeous actually. By the third time she had 3 of them in different colors. She'd laugh and say, "I'm feeling like a blonde today"...haha She was such a beautiful girl (as you are) that seriously the hair just never really mattered. I am praying for you everyday, and I will lift this next step of the journery especially to Him. He knows our women's heart on this subject, and will see you through. Much love, Debbie

Sara said...

Stacy... we will be cheering you on from across the miles:) Thanks for letting us in on the details. It is nice to be able to know specifically to be praying for.

You know what I see from here... a beautiful woman, I have NEVER seen in person, but only see her heart. Christ is shining through so clearly. Keep pressing on friend through each step and just like you said, He will carry you.

Praying friend!
Sara

Kelly said...

Stacy,

So many of your other bloggin-buddies already said what was on my heart as I read through your post.

I truly wish all of us could fly there to be with you, to rally around you, to embrace your hands and pray with you.

Prayers will continue to fly from the Texas sky!! Love and many, many hugs my friend.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I've only been reading a few months. I hope losing your hair is nowhere near as traumatic for you as you fear. Bald heads are beautiful - and I bet you'll be super surprised at how positively people - especially children - respond. And I also think that a bald head will allow you the invitation to talk to alot more people and share with them what and WHO is on your heart. All the best.

A momma in TX

Alison said...

Praying for you today Stacy! May God give you HIS strength!

Deb said...

You are already beautiful, beauty radiates from within! I will be thinking about you tomorrow as your "new" normal changes yet again. What won't change is God's love for you...embrace it! I'll be in prayer for you and the doctor's and nurse's involved in your care. Prayer changes things, it changes US.

He & Me + 3 said...

You are so beautiful on the outside but still deeper & more beautiful on the inside. I have been thinking about you and praying for you daily. You are on my mind friend.
So glad you had a blessed week.

Ginny Marie said...

I'm here to tell you that being bald is...well, it's awful! I hated losing my hair, and I would dream about the day my hair grew back and brushed against my face again. I think being bald was worse than my mastectomy to my self esteem!

Remember being pregnant? When I was pregnant, those nine months seemed to drag on forever, and I just couldn't wait to meet my new baby. Now that my babies are 3 and 5, my pregnancies seem so short, and I wish I could go back to being pregnant again!

Well, losing your hair will be like that. While you are bald, you will long for hair again, curse your wig, and hate the cold drafts in winter. But when your hair grows back, it won't seem like it has been such a long time after all. Unlike pregnancy, you will never wish to become bald again!

God bless you!

JeffnKimStarr said...

Stacy,
Your inner beauty is what makes you so beautiful outside too. Barclay won't care about the hair. He'll love you all the more. I've been following your blog even though I don't always comment, I am praying for you constantly. Look at the big picture... and believe that this is temporary (because you know it is). He is sharpening you, and I can't help but think of the treasure you are storing up for eternity! Oh, how Jesus loves you!

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Oh He is filling you with His spirit and it's a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing that beauty with us. Thank you for sharing your heart in the midst of uncertainty. Thank you for constantly pointing us back to the Father. May His light shine upon you this week and may His hope fill your soul.

The Montgomerys said...

So glad you have had a great week Stacy! Yay! You are simply beautiful! That will never, ever change! I am praying for you!
Love,
MON <3

babyrndeb said...

I think you are going to be beautiful even without hair because your spirit shines through and I think you have great facial features :) And just think of all of the cute hats and stuff you can wear.
I must say I did worry most about this over the summer when we were looking at possible care for Erika and what could have happened with her. When I mentioned loosing her hair she said, "I always wanted it super short and to start it over...maybe it will be cuter in the end" How brave and smart she was (thankfully we didn't have to go down that road but I can only imagine what you must be feeling since our hair does define so much of who we are)

Keeping you in my prayers - think of you so often!!
Debbie

Susie Grove said...

Stacy,
You humble me with your strength as you meet each stage of this trial with such faith, dignity and honesty. Yes, losing your hair is going to be tough but you have always been the type of person to make lemonade out of life's lemons and I know this won't be any different! You are an amazing woman, mother & wife both inside & out. I love you and I am thinking about you everyday.
Susie

stephannee said...

With every word Stacy and every picture the desire to be strong and to walk my out my journey with courage grows and grows.

I am amazed by you…

As I was reading (knowing your pics would soon come into view) I wondered what I would see and what I would feel...and then... there you were and all I saw was beauty; that... and the family resemblance to our Father(our heavenly one).

You don’t need the wig, girl but it looks good ya!!

Hugs & prayers...always!
Steph :)