It’s been easy over the past few months to think about all that cancer has taken from me. Sometimes I am crushed to think there is no way I will ever have children after the hysterectomy. With all of the scars from surgeries and tubes and ports, and the effects of hair loss and weight changes from chemotherapy, I often feel ugly, deformed. Without the energy and strength to take care of things on my own, my independence seems stripped away. And then there’s the sense of security, the plans for the future, the possibility of marriage, the feeling of “normal.” Cancer certainly seems to have taken a lot away.

Yet.

There are some things cancer can never take away. And in a sense, despite it’s best efforts to destroy me, cancer has really given me so much. Or, to say it better, Jesus has used cancer beyond my wildest dreams.

Saturday, my house was full to the brim of dear friends from church who were helping me with housework and yardwork. And after the hour and a half of work, we sat around for two hours just enjoying each others’ company. Cancer has reminded me that I am part of community that loves deeply and serves generously.

This week, I have used what energy I have to go to work. A year ago, I was dreaming about what it would be like to not have to work. Thoughts were even crossing my mind that maybe I should find a new job. Cancer has renewed my understanding of the divine calling of work and has helped me see the kindness and commitment of my employer for me.

I receive or make about 8-10 phone calls a day to family and friends, not to mention the time I spend regularly with people I love. Like last night, when four dear friends joined me for dinner and helped with the dishes. Or like tomorrow night, when I will spend the evening with a friend and her sons playing in the backyard. Cancer has caused me to treasure every encounter I have with the people I love.

Today, when I got home from work and had a little energy left over, I spent about an hour brushing my dog, pulling weeds in my flower beds, watering my garden. These chores used to seem tedious, just items on a “to-do” list. Cancer makes me grateful for the mundane. It helps me take advantage of the time spent in the quiet of my back yard for meditating and praying.

I hate cancer. But I love the grace that God has shown me through this experience of cancer. I love this story of my life that Jesus is writing that oozes with mystery and mercy. I hate cancer, but I love Jesus. And I’m glad, in the grand scheme of things, that Jesus wins. Even over cancer.

Overall, I am recovering very well from the surgery. One small issue I am having is some pain down my left leg. It’s tolerable most of the time, but it has been waking me up and keeping me awake at night sometimes. Most likely, this was the result of a bruised or nicked nerve during the surgery. However, just to rule out the potential of a blood clot, the doctor has ordered a doppler ultrasound Wednesday morning.