Monday, September 3, 2012

Choosing Joy

"I don't have any good news for you today." My oncologist came - all slumped,

He explained the PET/CT results - metastasis to my lungs and multiple lymph nodes. We talked about treatment options and he printed out the information on the standard set of chemo therapy. Lots of questions.

"So with this level of metastasis how much time do you think I have?"

"6-12 months. . . it's hard to say." There were tears in his eyes.

The past couple of weeks have been a blur. I have been praying for wisdom for many complex decisions. Doing the research. Spending time with family.

The EBUS procedure to biopsy on one of the nodules in my lung was positive for cancer (The same type as last year).
The Echo was normal and showed a strong heart.
Sifting the research on clinical trials - made easier by amazing spreadsheets put together by friends.
A second opinion visit at Vanderbilt offered little new information
A trip to National Institute of Health for further insight into clinical trials.

After much prayer and thorough investigation into many options, I have decided not to pursue traditional medical treatment and have chosen instead an alternative therapy approach. Including lots of juicing and a mostly raw diet, charcoal and clay treatments, hydrotherapy, daily jogging, and lots of sun. So far energy is increasing and I feel more energetic than I have this entire year so far.

Each day God has been hugging my heart with the most beautiful blessings. Each day a journey of choosing joy.

So what is one to do when the doctor says you only have 6 months? Some would consider it a death sentence. How do you live with a deadline? If my days are numbered how shall my life count?

Some people have bucket lists to be filled up with souvenirs of experiences. But while life experiences are gifts, to make a gift a goal seems a narrow purpose. Should our focus be on pouring out rather than gathering in? Giving to others gifts of the heart. . . of eternal value?

As my friend Ann wrote;

"Because not only have we been given the most fantastic story of Grace to share, but the only thing worth gaining is the memory of the giving of yourself — and that will outlast time."

On August 6, 2012 I remember that I wrote in my journal, "God, please teach me how to live like this. Poured out in free flowing gratitude to You."

Truly, the most ancient man has only lived a brief breath of history. And what takes our breath away  - they are the moments worth counting. Moments measured in quality - not quantity.

Wealth is measured in joy. And I am the richest person on earth!

"Blessed is the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!" Psalm 68:19

20 comments:

shama said...

Hugs!

Jackie Torres said...

Caitlin, the faith God has given you brings me joy. I am praying for you!

Sean Nebblett said...

so moving... prayers from our corner too.

Kelsey said...

Praying for you! Love you lots.

Petals of praise said...

For some reason, every time I pull up my blog, yours appears in the mix. Guessing its because somewhere in your archives you may also have used the term "Petals of praise". Tonight I decided to see who you were. I am moved by your faith , tenacity and joyful spirit inspite of your apparent illness. Reason for writing? just simply to say you have touched my heart and I
want you to know....I am praying for you. Maybe, just maybe, God will give you miracle. God Bless!!!! <3

Caitlin said...

Thank you! Each of you for sharing your love and prayers.
And petals of praise, thank you for taking the time to comment - it encouraged my heart.

Joel said...

"The only thing worth gaining is the memory of the giving of yourself"

That is completely antithetical to what the vast majority of our planet is striving for. I want to be in the minority with you Caitlin!

Laurel said...

Caitlin, I pray that God will continue to surround you with His grace and love. Know you are a blessing. :)

Thomson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomson said...

My Dear Fellow birder, very sad to hear of this. I love this quote from Corrie Ten Boom that I heard on Focus on the Family Radio Theater's website, which you may already know is awesome, but if you don't check it out. "“Often I have heard people say, ‘How good God is! We prayed that it would not rain for our church picnic, and look at the lovely weather!’ Yes, God is good when He sends good weather. But God was also good when He allowed my sister, Betsie, to starve to death before my eyes in a German concentration camp. I remember one occasion when I was very discouraged there. Everything around us was dark, and there was darkness in my heart. I remember telling Betsie that I thought God had forgotten us. ‘No, Corrie,’ said Betsie, ‘He has not forgotten us. Remember His Word: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him.” ” Corrie concludes, “There is an ocean of God’s love available—there is plenty for everyone. May God grant you never to doubt that victorious love—whatever the circumstances.” God Bless you, Thomson

The original blog of the Invincible Giant Peach said...

Kristin and I are praying for you Caitlin. You're optimism is refreshing (: If you need anything we're just down the street.
Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save;
Neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear ~Isaiah 59:1

krn said...

Caitlin,

I haven't seen you for several years, but I want you to know that I am praying for you. We don't know why you have been called to this journey in life, but I want you to know your faith, spirit, and the very music of your soul has been an inspiration for me and so many others.

Christen said...

You are a jewel, my friend. I am keeping you in my prayers. You have lived that kind of life with me, and I appreciate it ever so much. Love you! :)

joelle said...

Been keeping up through your mom. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Where there are many things in life simply out of our control, you exemplify so well, Caitlin, the power of choice that so many people give away.

You know my door is always open. Hammock is still up on the deck (or bring your own again), new porch swing, hummingbirds bountiful along with many other birds in the forest (I have archaic binoculars- you may prefer to bring your own), the mountains have been clear and beautiful lately, fall colors fast approaching...please come enjoy anytime.

DJ and Jodi said...

You remind me of sunflowers, always turning their shining faces to the One who makes them shine. You're a wonderful encouragement to me, Caitlin!
-jodi

Beth-Anne said...

Your faith is incredible. Prayers and love.

Lorrie Rietman said...

Oh, I had not heard this update- I am so sorry to hear this Caitlin!! But I do praise the Lord for your faith and witness of how we are to go through suffering. You are in my prayers and in the prayers of so many people who I am sure you do not know. Jesus is so much stronger than anything we could ever experience....I ran across this verse recently,

"It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8

Heather said...

My dearest friend Caitlin ~ truly God is hugging your heart. The url for my blog is "poured out living", but you exemplify it more than I could possibly hope to! Bless you for giving to us from your abundance of joy and eternal riches. It's like God has opened to you a world and perspective most of us struggle to grasp. Continue living poured out and grateful and it will be an eternal life. Its God's promise to all His children so its for certain! Thank you for showing me what it truly means to live. <3

Brian said...

"Wealth is measured in joy. And I am the richest person on earth!"

You inspire us to have that kind of wealth. Thank you.

4Hisgloryforever said...

I am so very blessed by reading this. I am sorry for your diagnosis of course but I am struggling to live the way you do and so very encouraged by reading of your journey. You have been in our prayers. Mark and mine as well as our church's. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.