Saturday, January 14, 2017

3 years post-op update

Three years ago, I had some pre-cancerous areas on my tongue removed. Going into the surgery we didn't know what we would find. I am thankful that it was not yet cancer, but the abnormal cells had spread more than we originally thought. Ever since then, part of my tongue has a slight burning feeling in the area of the surgery and some numbness, but my speech has recovered. After a long day of parenting and teaching, my tongue often is very tired and a little sluggish. I am learning to live with the constant minor pain which reminds me of my human frailty.

On Friday, I went for a dental appointment. Here in Uganda, my dentist has been assisting with my follow up care. He has watched the area and examined my tongue several times since the surgery. Every time I have an appointment, my blood pressure goes up a bit. On Friday he said that everything still looks the same. There is no area of concern! I thank God for the good news! 

While the anxiety leading up to these appointments is not my favorite, regular check-ups are important and a good reminder to me. When we got the results saying that the original biopsy of my tongue was abnormal and I needed to see a specialist in tongue cancer, that rocked my world. I was not sure what that meant for our future plans. We were preparing to move to Uganda in order to do the work that we were confident God was calling us to do here. It was hard moving to a developing country not knowing what would happen with my health. 

I have learned much about trusting God with our future during this struggle. When I say I have learned about trusting God, that does not mean that now I have it all down. I still struggle. Often.  But God is helping me to trust him more each day. It also does not mean that the process is easy. It has included many sleepless nights, many panic attacks and many times of needing to remind myself of the truths of God's Word. I just re-read the post I wrote the night before my surgery a little over 3 years ago. Those truths are still what I need to cling to every day. 

Many of us go through life just assuming that we will wake up tomorrow and do what we are planning to do. The burning in my tongue is a constant grace reminding me that God holds my tomorrows. (Proverbs 27:1, James 4:13-14) I want to make the most of each day God gives me on this earth to do the work that He has prepared for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Honestly, I can say that I can now view this trial as a grace. It is easier for me to remember my dependence on the Lord because of the pain I feel. It is hard to "consider it all joy when you face trials of many kinds" but I have seen how those trials are helping me to grow. I am thankful that I can look back and see how God has worked over these last 3 years, helping me to depend on him more each day. As I look forward to the year ahead, I have many hopes and plans about what I want to do and what I hope God will accomplish. But I want to always put my hope in Him!
"Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in You." Psalm 33:20-22

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