My Journey/The End

Breast cancer radiation treatment is complete and I am officially cancer-free. I am thankful this journey is over. Now I move on to the process of healing and recovering from the damage radiation has caused to my skin.

Radiation treatment has left my skin red, irritated, and itchy. At times my left armpit feels as though it is literally on fire. Even though the treatments are over the radiation is still at work. Therefore my skin will get progressively worse for about a week.

Some of the radiation damage may be permanent. My skin, at the treatment site, may always be darkened. Also, some tightening of the skin and muscle may remain. I’m willing to live with that as long as the cancer is gone.

To me, the marks and scars left behind by radiation and the lumpectomy are a symbol of victory over cancer and a reminder of all the Lord has brought me through and taught me during a very difficult time in my life.

Some symbols of victory and remembrance are not pretty.

Jesus was beaten and scourged beyond recognition. He carried His own cross up a hill with a crown of thorns shoved onto His head. Once He reached the top of that hill, for all to see, He was stripped of His clothing and nailed through His hands and feet to the cross.

Jesus’ scars are a symbol of victory; victory over sin. Not only are they a symbol of victory but they are a reminder of what He did for us; paying our sin debt; a debt we could never pay.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.

Our scars may be ugly but they can be a beautiful reminder of what God has done for us, in us, and through us. It all depends on our perspective.

It’s easy to be angry with God when we go through a life-disfiguring crisis. However, what if instead of being angry with God we allow Him to use the crisis to change us and make a difference in someone else’s life.

What if we look at our scars as a symbol of victory over that which was trying to destroy us? What if we looked at them as a reminder of what God brought us through and taught us along the way?

Maybe by looking at our scars from God’s perspective, we can change our world and those in our sphere of influence.

Changing our perspective can change our attitude. When we look at our crisis and the scars that it left behind we can go from being angry with God for allowing the crisis, to being thankful for what the crisis has done in us and through us. And we can do it with a good attitude.

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Sure, life would have been much easier and more pleasant had I never experienced breast cancer but because of cancer, I have gained a greater knowledge of God, His sovereignty, mercy, and provision. I have experienced a deeper more intimate relationship with Him. I have been able to reach out to others that are suffering and able to do so with empathy that I never had before. I’m changed inside and out.

I’m so changed that I can’t say that I wish I would have never had cancer or that I didn’t have these scars. What the enemy intended for evil, God used for my good and the good of others and He was glorified in the process.

What scars do you bear due to a life-disfiguring crisis? Do you despise those scars? Do they remind you of a time in your life you would rather forget?

Would you consider looking at your scars from God’s perspective? Would you look at them as a reminder of how God changed you or someone else during that difficult time? Would you choose to see them as a victory instead of a defeat? Would you choose to see them as a reminder of God’s greater purpose for your pain?

God is good! He is always good! No matter what you are going through or have been through He can turn it around for your good, the good of others, and His glory.

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

I would like to thank all of my friends and family for all of their prayers, encouragement, and support during this health crisis. It means more to me than you will ever know. You have all made a difference in my life. God bless you.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 9

As of right now, starting this blog, all I know about breast cancer treatment is what I read or what other people that have “been there done that” tell me.

I’ve read books on traditional breast cancer treatment and books on alternative breast cancer treatment. I’ve listened to other people’s experiences with breast cancer. I’ve listened to what people think I should do and what they would do if they were in my shoes. I can wrap all of that up into one word, confusion.

At the end of last week, I was so confused that I nearly canceled my radiation treatments. The confusion led to the fear that I was making a mistake. Fear of making a mistake led to anxiety and panic. At that point, all of my peace was gone.

Confusion, fear, and anxiety are not God’s attributes. God is not in the midst of confusion and all that confusion brings.

I had to get back to peace; back to where God is. He hadn’t gone anywhere. I had wandered off away from Him.

So, what did I do? First I realized what was happening. I realized that the state I was in was not where I wanted to be or needed to be. I realized my peace was gone and I needed to get it back.

The first step to solving any problem is realizing you have a problem. Step one was complete; I realized I had a problem.

Next, I had to retrace my steps to discover where I lost my peace. This is how we find anything we lose, right? I retraced my steps all the way back to all of the confusing, contradicting information.

I’m all for knowledge, learning, and science but when it puts you into a state of confusion, it’s time to take a break.

Next, I went to the one true source of peace, God. I just got alone with Him in a quiet place and asked Him to help me. And He did.

He helped me by reminding me of who He is. Not just who He is in general but who He is to me. He reminded me of all the things He has been revealing to me during this difficult time about His love for me and that He is my shelter and my shield of protection.

1 John 4:18a There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

Psalm 91:1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Once I shut out every voice except God’s voice, my peace returned.

Information, knowledge, and science are necessary and useful. However, it is most important to know who God is and what He is capable of.

God is in control and knows what’s best for us. No matter what doctors, professionals, or anyone else says; God is the final authority in every situation. And that alone gives me great peace!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:7-8 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Have you lost your peace? Do you want it back? Retrace your steps to find out where you lost it.

Maybe you’re like me, losing your peace over confusing, contradicting voices. Maybe fear of making a mistake or fear of the consequences of making a mistake have caused you to lose your peace. The loss of peace could even be due to a job, health, or family crisis.

Our peace can be lost easily and quickly when we wander away from God.

Only the Lord can give us peace in the midst of every difficult situation. Will you go to Him with your confusion, fear, and anxiety? Will you ask Him to help you? Will you go to His word and ask Him to reveal to you who He is and what He is capable of.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.

Even when things don’t seem to be working out the way we would like them to, it’s comforting to know that God is in control, He knows what’s best, and He always has the last word. Stay close to Him; that’s where true peace is.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 6

Every summer I make a to-do list. I’m a planner and I’m task-oriented so to-do lists are a must for me.

My to-do list consists of things I’d like to accomplish between June and September. Needless to say, not many things on my list have been completed since I found out about my breast cancer on May 30, 2019.

Some of the things on my list are: paint the laundry room, launch new children’s book, relocate wall photos, and clean out files. Funny thing is, as many times as I look at that list, I can’t find breast cancer anywhere on it. Go figure!

No one plans a health crisis or any crisis. It’s as if the crisis has a mind of its own. It just pops into our lives unannounced and unwanted.

I’m in a healing/waiting period at this stage of my breast cancer journey. I don’t know when radiation treatment will begin. And from what I understand the worst side effect of radiation treatment is low energy. Great! More tiredness!

In preparation for the impending low energy, I would like to get as many things marked off my to-do list as possible before treatment begins. I realize I may not get the entire list completed by the time I’d like to, so I’ve added one more thing to my to-do list; stay calm and trust God.

Over the years, as I’ve experienced life with God, I’ve come to realize that He is in control and that His plan and timing is perfect. That realization is so freeing and gives me so much peace.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You.

I wonder if Job was a list maker. He had a lot of responsibilities; a lot of things and people to keep up with. He may have had a daily to-do list lying around.

Job was just going about his daily life and tasks when out of nowhere crisis hit; unannounced and unwanted.

Job lost his livelihood, his servants, children, and his health. To make matters worse, he had no support from his wife and friends. He was going through a horrible crisis. I can’t even imagine what he must have suffered.

What Job does in the midst of his devastating health and life crisis is amazing. He trusts God! He realizes that God is in control and is sovereign. He refuses to turn his back on Him. As a matter of fact, his faith and knowledge of God grow.

Job 42:5 tells us what Job gained from his crisis; “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You.” For Job, God had gone from being “God” to “My God.” Job had come to know God on a much higher level than he had before.

I know that I am not going through anything close to what Job went through, but just the same, I want to gain from this health crisis the same thing Job did. I want to know God on a higher level as I trust Him in the midst of my crisis; I want my faith and knowledge of Him to grow.

Jeremiah 17:7 But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.

What unannounced and unwanted crisis has hit you or your family? God sees you! He cares about what you are going through. Will you cry out to Him for help?

Will you trust that He is in control of all things and that He is sovereign? Will you trust that His plan and timing is perfect?

While you are waiting for God to answer your prayers in His way and His timing, will you allow your crisis to take your relationship with Him to a whole new level; to a place where you can go from calling Him “God” to “My God?”

Psalm 31:14 But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.”

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 5

The question I get asked most often these days is, “How are you feeling?” This is a legitimate question considering my recent health issues. If I could use one word to describe the way I feel lately it would be “tired.” I’m tired!

During my last doctor visit, I asked, “Why am I so tired every day?” She said it’s because I’ve had 2 surgeries within a span of 4 weeks. My body is trying to heal and recover. Makes sense!

I think that when we are going through a health crisis or any type of life crisis we will not only be physically tired but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually tired. After all, we are a 3 part being; spirit, soul (mind, will, and emotions), and body. When one area is suffering, the other two may suffer as well.

A health or life crisis can certainly make us feel as though we are in a battle. We battle negative thoughts and emotions. We battle the feelings that try to keep us from spending much needed time with the Lord; nourishing our spirits with His word and with praise and worship. Our body is fighting to be well. It’s A battle! And it can wear us out!

I love the account of Moses, Aaron, and Hur in Exodus 17:10-13. Joshua and the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. Moses’ hands grew tired, so Aaron and Hur took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.  Then they held his hands up so that his hands remained up till sunset. As a result, the Israelites won the battle.

When we are facing a crisis, it’s essential to have family and friends that will help us. They may help in practical ways by driving us to an appointment, helping us clean our house, or cook us a meal. They may also help by keeping us encouraged and positive and by praying with us and for us. Family and friends in a battle are priceless!

During these past 5 weeks, my friends and family have really reached out to me. They have been so encouraging. They have been praying for me and offering to help me. I am so very grateful for the family and friends God has placed in my life. They have definitely made this difficult time a lot more bearable.

As great as everyone has been to me and for me, there is nothing like running to my heavenly Father in a time of crisis. He is my safe place. My refuge. My hiding place. He is my rest. He comforts me in a way that no one else can. He speaks to me through His word. His word is healing to me; spirit, soul, and body.

Psalm 16:1 Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge.

Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Isaiah 66:13a As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.

Psalm 107:20 He sent out His word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.

I’m reminded of a time when my middle son was very young. When he would get tired of walking or just needed cuddles, looking up at either his dad or me, he would raise his hands up high and say, “Hold you?” He would say this over and over until we would pick him up and hold him. That is such a precious memory for me.

I believe that is what our heavenly Father wants us to do when we get tired and weary. He wants us to go to Him like little children, look up at Him, and raise our hands up high, and say, “Hold you?” He wants to hold us, carry us, and give us rest.

What battle are you in today? Is it a battle for your health? Your marriage? Your children? Your very life? Are you tired and weary?

Allow the friends and family God has placed in your life to help you and keep you lifted up in the battle. Then run to the Lord, raising your eyes and your hands to Him, ask Him to hold you. He alone can provide the rest, comfort, and healing that your spirit, soul, and body needs.

Deuteronomy 1:31 “There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 2

Sometimes I like to go through Pinterest to read scriptures and then turn them into prayers. Does anyone else do that? Is that weird?

Maybe that isn’t holy enough for some people but there are some really great scriptures on Pinterest! God’s word is God’s word no matter where it’s found.

I love to pray scripture. I feel as though one can never go wrong when they pray God’s word.

Isaiah 55:11 So is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to Me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

As I scrolled through Pinterest, the scriptures that stood out to me the most were 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

If you have been following my blog, you know that I found out 2 weeks ago that I have breast cancer. So as I was reading and praying these particular scriptures, I began focusing on the words always, continually, and all.

My prayer went something like this: Lord, help me to always rejoice, to continually be in prayer, and to be thankful in all circumstances. That really got me thinking as I prayed. It went to the very core of me. It made me take inventory of myself.

Under the unpleasant circumstances of breast cancer, am I rejoicing always? Am I praying continually? Am I giving thanks in this circumstance?

This week has been really hard for me. Not only am I still waiting on the results of my bloodwork, before I can make a decision about treatment, but I’ve also had to meet with the breast reconstruction surgeon and the radiation oncologist to get information in order to make a more informed decision concerning treatment.

Nothing hits you in the face with breast cancer reality more than meeting with these two doctors.

So, getting back to my scriptures, as a result of my current circumstance, I can definitely say I am praying continually. I usually talk to the Lord throughout the day anyway, so that hasn’t really changed. But what I talk to Him about has changed as new challenges arise.

I’ve always asked the Lord to help me several times a day throughout the day. Those “Lord, help me” prayers have definitely increased.

What I am struggling with these days is the rejoicing always and giving thanks in all circumstances. Those two go completely against logic and human nature when it comes to a health crisis or any crisis for that matter.

“Lord, do you really expect me to rejoice right now? Do you really expect me to be thankful right now? Seriously?”

His answer is in verse 18; It’s His will for me in Christ Jesus. And it’s His will for you in Christ Jesus.

He didn’t put a stipulation on rejoicing, praying and thankfulness. He didn’t say it is His will for us to do these three things unless we have some sort of life-altering crisis. No! He said rejoice always, pray continually, and be thankful in all circumstances.

Why are these 3 things God’s will for me? For you? Rejoicing, praying, and gratitude is not for God’s good. They are for our good.

It’s as if God is giving us a prescription for what ails us. He is our good Father and He always knows what’s best for His children.

Why should we rejoice always?

Nehemiah 8:10b says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Proverbs 17:22 says that a cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

I don’t know about you, but I sure could use plenty of God’s strength while going through this crisis. And a cheerful heart sounds a whole lot better than dried up bones any day.

Why should we pray continually?

When I am confused and struggling, it always helps me to talk to someone. If I’m going to talk to someone, I might as well talk to the One in control and who has the power to change things.

Prayer is just talking to God. I am so thankful that I can approach the all-powerful Creator of all things, my Father, without fear and talk to Him about anything.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Why should we give thanks in all circumstances?

Being thankful makes us happy. It replaces sadness and self-pity with joy. It takes us back to “rejoice always.” It is hard to be sad and discouraged when we are being thankful.

Romans 1:21 tells us what happens to those who are not thankful. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Yikes!

Last week I stated in my blog, that I may not understand why or how I have breast cancer, but I am determined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to trust God and to submit to His will for me.

According to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, God’s will for me is to rejoice always, to pray continually, and to be thankful in all circumstances. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will submit to His will for me.

Will you do the same? What are you going through today? Have you recently received a devastating life-altering diagnosis? Are you going through any sort of crisis? Do you know someone who is?

Will you submit to God’s will for you today? Will you commit to, through the power of the Holy Spirit, rejoice always, pray continually, and be thankful despite your circumstances?

I’m not saying it will be easy. It’s not easy for me. But it’s God’s prescription for what ails us. We just need to be good little children and take our medicine. It’s for our good and His glory!

~Patrice Maguire