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(Photo credit: Allison Vastine)

 

My Silver Linings Playbook

My Simply Gathering Blog is getting a make over and so am I. I have decided to go bald. Well, not exactly decided, it’s kind of a forced decision, but I’m going with it. And I want to kick and scream and say it’s not fair and why me and I just can’t do this, but the silver linings keep shining brighter than the darkness and I know that this journey is not about fear and helplessness, but rather hope and courage and love and an abundance of silver linings in my life.

I have never really thought about it before, but my faith tells me that life is really just one big silver lining. Implicit in a silver lining is hardship and struggle. If there were no struggle there would be no need for a silver lining. God knew this life would be hard and so he sent his son to walk among us and sacrifice for us and walk the hard path so that we could live our lives out with hope and peace and restoration. God gave us the ultimate silver lining in His son Jesus and because of that I can find peace in the hard and beauty in the ashes.

So here goes the hard. My cancer is back. Well, it’s not really back. Doctors say this is a completely new cancer. What are the odds you might ask? Slim, but per usual, I don’t play by the odds. I found a lump. I found another lump. After imaging this week they suspected I had cancer. I went for a triple needle biopsy on Wednesday and by Friday the worst was confirmed. Unfortunately the cancer did not want to just hang out in my breast and decided to go visit my lymph node too. Grrrr. After meeting with my surgeon yesterday the war plan was devised. The first line of attack is 4 months of chemo. Since the cancer was not there in a scan from February, we know that it is growing quickly. If we can attack it immediately with chemo we can halt it from spreading to other areas of my body. After chemo, which should end in January, I will have a double mastectomy with reconstruction. Whew, there, I said it! The war plan is in place and I’m ready!

Even as I write this all out it sounds simple. We have a plan of action, we have next steps. I think I’m still in a bit of shock. I won’t lie, I’m terrified. The thought of losing my hair and my eyebrows and my eyelashes. The thought of how sick I will be from the poison running through my veins. The thought of my sweet children seeing their strong mom stripped bare and helpless. It’s almost too much to take. When I focus on these things a panic rises up in me. My heart flutters and my stomach goes into knots and I just want to cry.

But a voice is whispering to me over and over again to just look for the silver linings. And I can see them, though blurry from tears, I can see them. They are the meals that keep showing up on my doorstep. They are the calls from friends I rarely speak to. They are the doctors who move schedules around to fit me in. They are the prayers rising up and comforting me. They are the texts, the emails, the flowers. Friends, you are my silver lining. Every single one of you has such beauty and power because you are what makes the dark bearable. You are what gives me joy in the midst of my pain. You are what holds me up when I just want to collapse. You and me, and us, WE ARE THE SILVER LINING.

So, back to the makeover. Its official, my Blog is now called My Silver Lining Playbook and it is a story of hope and love and finding the beautiful in the inevitable hard. My Silver Lining Playbook is the only way I can get through this next year because with all my heart and soul I believe that the good outweighs the bad, that we are stronger than our biggest fear, that God is always good, and that just the tiniest bit of light scares away the darkness.

Thank you for continuing to show up for me and my family at every turn and u-turn and detour. I swear my people are just the best people in the whole wide world and I feel so loved and cared for by you. If you know me well, you know how much I love the musical Les Miserables. I know every word to every song. I play the sound track in my car. I embarrass my kids when I act out the musical in my kitchen. It speaks to my soul. It’s about life being hard, even miserable, and still finding hope. It’s about going to war and fighting hard for what you believe in. It’s about loving someone so much you would die for them. It’s about finding your purpose in loving others. It’s full of redemption, and hope and grace. It’s messy and hard and oh so beautiful . And the ultimate message, my favorite quote, the core to who I am “TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD.” That my friends is the silver lining.

 

Love,

 

Heather

 

Les Miserables Finale!

 

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