Sunday, August 3, 2014

Seeing Cancer from 10,000 Feet

Perspective is a topic that I often write about, but this blog post is very unique seeing as my perspective right now is looking out a 767 aircraft at 10,000 feet.  I remember my first flight when I was in the eigth grade and how scared I was.  I was terrified at the beginning for the flight.  Lifting off was such a new feeling and experience.  I was traveling with my National Junior Honor Society classmates to visit Washington D.C.  It was such a memorable trip and I will never forget rising above the clouds and seeing the view of Mississippi falling away below as we rose into the air.  I think back to my senior trip flying to Seattle, Washington and soaring above the Rocky Mountains.  What a unique way to look at the peaks and valleys.  I remember flying to Hong Kong during college and how I could not even look outside because I was stuck inbetween a fellow college traveler and a small asian man, who helped me with my Sudoku puzzle as we flew overnight.  Now I am flying with my wife to California for a trip of a lifetime and it is such a unique perspective because cancer is behind us.

Looking back at the individual tasks of cancer is tough.  It feels like a decade ago that the doctors poked and proded to diagnose me.  I still remember the call about my swollen lymph nodes.  I remember the chemo treatments that dragged on for ages.  I remember the outcry of support from friends and family.  I remember the moments where I just broke down from the overwhelming weight of it all.  I remember from the not so distant past, the daily trip to the cancer clinic for raidation treatments.  I can still feel the pain in my esophagus from the torn tissue of radiation therapy.  However, with all the memories, I can see the hope of the future.  

The fact that cancer is behind me has not truly sunk in yet.  Yes, I know it has been over two months since being pronounced in remission, but radiation treatments have been ongoing during the summer daily.  Yesterday I entered the cancer clinic twice to ensure I was done for our California trip.  Upon leaving the clinic after the second treatment, I just sat in my car and stared at the wheel.  I didn't know what to do.  Well in truth I had lots of things to do to prepare for our trip, but for a moment I just thought, "wow, it's over."  What a surreal event.  Yes  I will still have follow up appointments.  In fact my next Pet Scan is in 6 weeks.  I still have scars from the trip.  My port is still in, the radiation markings are gradually washing away, and my sore throat will last a few weeks.  But all those things are relative to being alive.  Alive and doing quite well.  Gaining weight, gaining color, growing hair, feeling energy again.  It is amazing to be feeling normal again.  It's also great when people tell me I look good all the time.  That is something I don't think I will ever get used to.  But it is also a good reminder that yeah at a time not too long ago, I was not looking good at all.

Being at the end of one journey means the begining of a new one.  Sitting here looking at the flight tracker show the jounry of our plane traveling across the country, you start to think about the big picture.  What was the point of me having cancer?  Why did that happen to me?  A better question is why did I survive?  Why me, when so many others deserve to live?  I have to rest assured that God holds those answers and will guide me to them.  Because even though I sit in a small town in a small part of the country that many do not know or care about, God sees the bigger picture.  He is always watching from 10,000 feet.  He sees the flight path: the beginning and the destination.  I rest in that.  Looking back at my journey through the dark days, I can see the lead of love from Christ.  He has given me a hope and a future.  I hope to honor him with all I do.  And I will fail at that everyday, yet God loves me anyway.

So no matter where you are in your latest journey, beginning, middle, or end, remember who holds the view from 10,000 feet.  He is watching, waiting, encouraging, and offering something way better than Biscoff cookies (and that is saying something).

And speaking of Biscoff cookies, I need to get back to them and the in flight entertainment.  

Journey Strong


Factoid:  This blog was written in the air over North Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

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