I started writing this a
few days couple years ago with the intent to share an update about my friend Wendy McLean (aka aussieseeker71) who discovered she had cancer. But things have changed so much since I started – I think I need to back up a little bit. Below are a series of emails telling her story, if only in part.
June 26, 2008
I could really do with much prayer, which is why I am writing to let you know that I had an ultra sound and mammogram done yesterday to check out a lump, and I have just found out today that it’s a nasty type and will have to be removed. I know God is sovereign and good, but I am still feeling a little scared. Please pray that God will give me calmness and peace before and after the operation. And please in prayer for the doctors, that God would give them wisdom in their diagnosis. Also, please prayer that it will be a positive diagnosis. But most of all, pray that God will be glorified in the midst of my fear and uncertainty.
I must admit that last prayer request was the most difficult for me to ask for, because it is about God’s glory. And yet I also don’t want to hear those words “You have cancer”. And so while I want to allow God to have His glory, whatever the outcome may be, I must admit that there is a part of me that is feeling selfish. There is that part of me that wants to say, ‘This is not about you, God. This is about me. And I don’t want to hear any bad news, so I am praying and asking you to make everything alright.’
So, am I being selfish? Is it normal for me to feel or react in this way?
Your Sister In Christ,
What followed was several months of tests, x-rays and six rounds of chemo
March 2, 2009 – The good news is that I’ve finished radiolology (although not nearly as bad as the chemo). The bad is that my hair has started falling out again (although I can live with that), but even worse, is that I’ve lost my taste again (and that bothers me more than anything else).
I thank you for your continued prayers
March 30, 2009 – Just wanted to let you know that I’m not coping very well at the moment, and could use your prayers.
I’ve been going through a stage where I wish God would just take this cancer from me, or just take me home. Some of the side effects I’ve been going through are really getting me down (especially the lost of taste) has been really getting me down. Also it has become difficult for me to watch others in good health, and doing everyday normal things. I don’t feel any bitterness towards them. But my heart aches for those times when I had that kind of health.
Julia responded to the above email – “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Psalm 50:15
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
I can only imagine how hard it would be to be in your shoes right now especially knowing that God has the ability to heal you, but chooses to have you go through this trial longer than you anticipated. Asking “Why?” isn’t crazy and understandable. We are living, breathing, and feeling people and it’s difficult when our comforts are taken from us. I pray that you can find joy in the little things like a flower in bloom, watching the sunset, a hug from your parents and friends, a call or email to wish you well, and time spent with God…those will keep you warm, joyful, and thankful during the times when your taste is gone and your health is poor.
I am reminded of Job and the discussions he has with his friends. Job really struggles with his situation because he’s in awful pain and alone and through his discussions with his friends, he wrestles with God. Poor Job even says his wife detests his breath. He is tempted so many times by the lies his friends feed him, but he rests on Gods truth. I love where he says “I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food.” I hope one day to feel in my heart and mind that Gods Word satisfies me more than any food or comfort here on earth will ever do.
Job 23:10-17 Hebrews 3:7-19 Phillipians 2:12-18 Romans 12:9-21
April 11, 2009 – Firstly, I want to wish you all a Happy Easter, and may your day be blessed as we remember our risen Christ.
I have been in hospital during these last several days with severe back pain and nausea. I am feeling a little bit better then I was a few days ago. But I’m still having a bit of trouble with the nausea, and the back is still giving me some trouble. I would really appreciate prayer concerning those ailments.
Also, I have been having dreams about my death and funeral, because I have been thinking about how I want to prepare for those. Well this morning I was thinking about all those I would be saying goodbye too, and I just broke down in tears. It’s the first time I’ve cried since I was told I had cancer. Everything that has been happening has fallen on me like one emotional heap, and I don’t know how much longer I can put on the brave face.
April 16, 2009 – This is the worse and most difficult e-mail I’ve had to send, and I’m not even sure how I’m going to put the words together.
I saw the radiologist yesterday, as well as the oncologist to see what was causing the nausea and throwing up, and basically the cancer has increased in the liver. I could have further chemo, and more chemo, but it’s highly likely the chemo will have any affect on the liver. So I am now just basically waiting for God to take me home.
In many ways this is also good news, as I will soon be free from pain. But there is also a part of me that is grieving those whom I will leave behind. And whenever my passing may be, please pray that it will be peaceful.
If it’s not too much, I would like to as of another small favor; I was wonderful if you send me a head scarf with your American State (or just a head scarf in general? Also could you put your name on it, because we want to sew or the scarfs together as a reminder of al my friends in America who have been praying for me.
I grieve having to say goodbye as the time draws near. But I also rejoice in knowing that one day I will see you all face to face with Jesus.
Then we received this email from her pastor and I wanted to share it with anyone who may be interested.
April 30, 2009 – I am Wendy McLans Pastor = Geoff Pegler
Wendy has asked me to check her Gmail & I have taken then liberty to share her latest condition with some who are not able to be in regular contact.
As of last Monday April 27 Wendy went back to hospital.
She is gravely ill and the medical folk only give her days /week to live.
She is in constant pain and lots of discomfort that the staff are trying hard to alleviate.
She is really desiring to go to be with her heavenly Father.
She is still in amazing spirit and I know wants to send you all her love.
Wendy is an amazing person and it saddens us to no end to think of losing her, but we also know that she loves the Lord dearly and He has prepared a place for her.
May 3, 2009 – Just a quick note to let you know Wendy
passed away Sunday 3pm
She was unconscious and comfortable for the last 12 hours
John & June are coping ok
We never got to send her the head scarf she asked for. I think its sitting in a box somewhere with the pen we were going to sign it with. Wendy was an amazing person and I still fight back the grief two years later whenever I come across a reminder like an old post or comment or email from her. One of the hardest things is not being able to read her old posts as she started and deleted three blogs while I knew her and her last one only has a small sample of the wonderful things she used to write.