Wednesday, November 2, 2011

FEAR

Fear is a powerful thing. It has the power to control you, distract you, steal your thoughts, take away your joy, and warp your picture of Christ. Anxiety is the same. Oh and worry, let's not forget worry. It is yet another emotion that Satan uses to destroy us. It's a slow attack, but steady and unwavering. Like digging a hole in the yard with a spoon, it's slow, VERY SLOW, but eventually the job will get done.

I am a control freak. I like knowing what is coming. I'm a planner and a list maker. I like things my way, because let's be honest "my way is just better." I like to think I'm the "fun" girl, but many times I find myself missing fun because I'm off planning or rethinking my plan. I miss sweet moments with my kids because I don't have "time." I stress over the cleanliness of my house even when no one is coming over to see it. I worry about money and feel anxious when I spend it. I lie in bed at night and go over things in my head, over and over and OVER again. Any other controllers feel me?

But, now I have cancer, and it changes A LOT of things. I have a disease now that is trying to kill me. It is slowly trying to destroy everything I love. And one day it just might do that. (I pray that it is a long way away). But, the truth is that I'm going to have to fight for life, and that is not going to change anytime soon. Melanoma (stage 3 and beyond) is not medically curable. You are considered in remission or NED (no evidence of disease) when the cancer is removed and they can't find anymore and you are done with treatments. You are cured of melanoma when you die from something else. (Totally morbid, right?) At least, that is what the smart cancer people say.

I'm not a person who likes stats and numbers but could you ignore these?

Stage IIIC Melanoma: I have a 27% chance to live 5 years after my diagnosis and an 18% chance to live 10 years. (American Cancer Society) My doctors and the treatments I am currently on are working VERY hard to make those numbers better.

Would those numbers make you worry? Would they give you anxiety? Honestly, what would you do if you heard stats like that about YOU? Would you be AFRAID?

Trust me, I have felt every emotion you can feel after hearing that cancer is trying to kill you. But the truth is this: I have Jesus.

And Jesus said this:

Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

I'm not going to let FEAR or WORRY or ANXIETY rob me of any more minutes. Our time on this earth is just like a breath. It is short whether I die tomorrow or in 70 years. Life is nothing but a vapor. I will NOT live this life tortured with fear, doubt, worry, and anger. I will not let Satan take the life I have left on this earth and plague it with this disease. Because the truth is, while I fight to live, fear, anxiety, and worry are the real killers that if I let win will take away everything I treasure.

On Tuesday, I go in for another surgery (just an outpatient). This might be a shock to some of you, but it happened quickly. I found another spot/lump on my hip and had it looked at. It had been removed before, but it has come back so the surgeon wants to "dig it out" and have it tested. We will know more about the results late next week. If it is cancer, we have some big decisions to make. If it is not cancer then I have another surgery on Nov 30th to get my port removed. (That's good news! I am very excited about that surgery)

This is going to be a new way of life for me. I will have a battle with cancer forever, but I will also spend the rest of my life in a fight with fear. Fear will be there forever, knocking on the door, whispering into my heart, and trying to get into my mind. Pray with me friends. Pray that fear does not win today.

This is what my prayer will be this week and next. Because of the Gospel I don't have to be afraid. Because of Jesus I have HOPE in my heart not FEAR!

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”

I know that some of you battle with fear, anxiety, and worry. Friends don't let Satan win this fight over your thoughts, dreams, and feelings. The truth is we have nothing to be anxious about, but instead we have the peace of Jesus Christ.

7 comments:

Beth said...

Jen,

I am keeping you in my prayers! You are such a strong woman! It doesn't surprise me one bit that you are so brave. Whenever I think of you in high school all I see is your BIG beautiful smile.

I think about you just about everyday because my uncle was diagnosed with Merkel Cell Carcinoma a couple months ago in his leg. He's had the surgery, gone through radiation and then got a major infection in his whole thigh. He had to have a 2nd surgery to remove the infection. It's a waiting game now as he heals.

Skin cancer is not something to take lightly and too many people think "it can't happen to me". I am so proud of you for sharing your journey with cancer. It shows people that it can happen to anyone AND you can fight through it.

God will help you through this and keep you strong.

Beth

Stephen and Kelly said...

I don't know you, but your post greatly encouraged me today! I am struggling so much with fear and anxiety lately - and for no good reason! I know I need to obey Jesus' command not to be afraid, so thanks for helping me do that.

Jen McManus said...

Thanks girls. I can feel everyone's prayers.

Debbie McCormick said...

Found your blog through another friend on facebook. I really needed to read this. Thank you for being so open and honest! Just when my Mom's hair had grown back and we were about to schedule her port removal surgery, we found out that her cancer is back. We both have a strong faith and my Mommy has been so tough and amazing! It's all the trips all over town for blood tests and MRI's and stuff that she really hates! I suffer with depression and have been having a really hard time lately, so this helped me in two ways tonight. Thank you so much! You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I pray you have that beautiful smile for many more happy, healthy years to come!
God Bless,
Debbie

Amy said...

Dear Jen,
I just wanted to say that I got to spend 30 minutes with you today and that was a blessing for me! Your strength and beauty shine through as you fight this cancer. You must believe YOU will BEAT the odds. I can tell how amazing your faith is and I believe that is your strongest weapon as you fight this, along with your beautiful children and encouraging husband. Thanks for sharing your blog and your husband's letters with me. If you ever need anything or have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
AM

TheNewMe said...

Jennifer -
You don't know me (my husband and kid do karate at your gym also), but I did want to reach out to you to let you know that even though there are people who are not directly in your life, we are all praying that you win this battle with ease, style and grace. It has not always been easy for you, but stay strong. You can do this, but it is ok to take a breath every now and again.

Kelsey said...

Wow...tears!! Thank you so much for sharing all this with us...allowing us to pray with you and lend an ear...or an eye...or two eyes actually! lol You are right about the fear and anxiety thing and that rang so true with me! It can't add to our life...only subtract precious moments!! Stay safe friend!

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