Janet P. and her husband ‘both’ have cancer…. she was actually diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in July of this year, but he husband is fighting this right along-side her, as if he has it as well.
Her first thoughts and concerns when she heard the diagnosis, weren’t of herself, cancer, treatment or side-effects, but “I won’t be able to start school.” A first grade teacher, she LOVES her job and her students, and she immediately was concerned for them, not herself. She was able to attend the schoo’s Open House to kick off the year, but was heartbroken that she wouldn’t be there to teach this year. As she held one little girl and explained to the students about her illness and what would happen, the little girl spoke into Janet’s heart, “It’s OK Mrs. P., your hair will grow back.” Obviously, a very successful teacher in her area, she’s been receiving letters of support and encouragement from some of her previous students who are now in middle school.
Married couples share most things… but Janet and her husband are emotionally sharing her cancer. It’s something you can sense between them and something that’s brought them closer, emotionally, physically and spiritually. “This is happening to both of us…. we’ve been so blessed in our lives, and we’ll get through this. It’s just a matter of what we do next.”
She has a huge support system within her family, church, co-workers and the small community she lives in and finds great comfort in this tightly knit group. “Laugh and smile alot! I’m looking for opportunities to share about this journey… God won’t waste this time.”
Her words of encouragement to other women… “Allow others to minister to you, accept help and allow God to have His way in your life.”
Her husband says, “I appreciate her so much more and we don’t take anything for granted.”
The day before her surgery to remove the cancer, she went to her classroom, one last time and found this quote hanging near her calendar.
“The grace of God means something like: ‘Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.’
There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.”
Exerpt from the devotional Beyond Words (day 127), by Frederick Buechner.