Puzzled by the title? Wondering how a wedding dress, a rainbow, a rose garden and finally chemo should be linked all together? Well, it’s been an interesting few days for me and it started with wedding dress shopping with my youngest child, Carmen, Francesca her sister-in-law-to-be, and Lizzy, Carmen’s BFF. Carmen is to be married July 18, 2020 and we had planned to go dress shopping in September but then all my health issues came up. Carmen decided, quite spur of the moment, to book a few appointments at dress shops before my first round of chemo so I could immerse myself in the day without my health interfering with the enjoyment. Also she knew that I’d be a bit self-conscious to shop AFTER chemo with no hair. (She knows me too well.) So on Saturday I accompanied her to a boutique in Calgary for her to try on a few gowns.
It was the first dress she tried on, and it just so happened to be the dress I had picked out for her that made us all gasp in unison. I knew just by looking at her radiant face that this was THE dress. Of course, she tried on about a half a dozen more gowns for comparison sake but her expression was not the same in those dresses. Her comments were not as enthusiastic. “It’s a nice dress but…” she would say. I could see that she was conflicted wondering how she could have fallen in love so quickly with the very first dress she had ever tried on. I pointed out that her older sister had done the same thing, said, “Yes!” to the very first dress she tried on, and Francesca said she chose the first dress she tried on too. (She will be married in August.) I told Carmen to put on the first gown again and asked the consultant to put a veil on her. We ALL knew the moment the veil was put on that this was THE dress. My child stood regally in front of the mirror and I just stepped back with my mother’s heart bursting at the sight of her. Floods of memories rained down on me, remembering her as a pixie child, constantly getting into scrapes, my free-spirited child with the sunshiny personality; wide smiles, a tender heart, and now a young woman standing there in the most perfect of wedding gowns, that seemed like it was made just for her!
What a perfect day! I was so thankful I could be included and honoured she chose the dress I had picked out. I will have those memories for a lifetime! I spent the weekend pouring over the pictures we had snapped of Carmen in her wedding gown. We will keep them secretly stored away so her handsome groom, Jack will only see her in the dress on their wedding day. Still, going through the pictures kept me distracted from thinking about what awaited me on Monday.
I woke up early and before I got out of bed I prayed, “LORD, I’m not ready for this. Would you just let me know You’re with me? I can’t do this without You.” I came downstairs and looked out the window and beheld the most glorious rainbow and sky I had ever seen! Immediately Genesis 9:16 came to mind: “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
I burst into tears at the sight. I ran out and snapped these pictures and just knew in my heart that God put that rainbow in the sky to encourage me when I most needed it. I praised Him and thanked Him for this visual reminder that He is ever present, He will never leave me or forsake me!
I purposefully dressed in chamo (or is it spelled camo?), anyway, I figured I should be in battle colours as I prepared myself for my battle with cancer once again. I sent my kids the picture and my daughter, Laurelle responded by finding this image and posted it on her Facebook page.
I felt the prayers of so many as my husband and I drove to the Tom Baker Cancer Clinic for my six hour appointment. Once again, it all came back to me. The sights, the sounds, the smell. I was even led to the same chair I had sat in so many years previous. I had asked people to pray specifically that the nurse would find a vein easily for my IV because that was the one thing I dreaded the most on chemo day. (I have actually made nurses cry trying to take blood from me or finding veins for IV’s. My veins just don’t want to cooperate!) God heard and answered our prayers and with one poke of the needle, which I didn’t even feel, the IV was in! Then the chemical treatment began.
Six hours is a long time to sit in a chair, hooked up to an IV with life-changing drugs being pumped into my body but I felt at complete peace and with my husband by my side, we passed the time quite pleasantly. My kids texted me throughout the process and it was during one of those texting conversations I discovered that a close friend at the seminary had decided to dedicate her peach-coloured Olds College roses in her newly-planted rose garden to me and to our family to support us through this new journey with cancer. Peach is the symbolic colour that represents uterine cancer. I was so overwhelmed by this loving gesture. (Elaine, I know you read this, so plan on my coming up soon so we can get a picture together by the roses!)
In 2001, I was so blessed to have a great team of nurses minister to me throughout my treatments and I discovered quickly that this new team of caring nurses would be equally to the task of making these chemo treatments as pleasant as possible this go-round. As Jill checked on my IV, I had a distinct feeling I recognized her. I asked her if she had worked in the unit in 2001 and she said she had and then she said, “You know, you look familiar to me too!” How cool is that? That God would have us cross paths again!
After the chemo treatment, as we did in 2001, my husband took me for dinner to a seafood restaurant so I could fill up on a good meal before the effects of chemo prevents me from wanting to eat much. We know what’s to come. We pray the side-effects are minimal, all my prayer warriors are praying to that end.
Today, as I blog, I am feeling no ill effects. Praise the Lord!
I read this Scripture verse this morning: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.” (Psalm 143:8-12)
I know when David penned those words he was facing many men who wanted him dead. His enemies were men, my enemies are invading cancer cells in my body. Just as David cried out to God to save him from his enemies, I cry out to God to preserve my life, to bring me out of trouble and destroy my cancer foes. I look forward to the end of this cancer treatment, to declare I’m cancer-free AGAIN and to see my beautiful daughter radiant in her perfect dress on her wedding day. I continue to covet your prayers and your encouragement dear readers. The battle has just started!