​​​​​​The Extraction

Long before I knew I had breast cancer, I had been dealing with a toothache. It was in the top-left area of my mouth. I was also experiencing sinus pain in that same area. It would extend all the way to my left ear causing my ear to hurt as well. I didn’t know if my sinus was causing my tooth to hurt or my tooth causing my sinus to hurt.

I put up with the pain for as long as I could. Eventually, I went to the dentist to find out what was causing the pain. The tooth that was hurting was cracked and needed to be addressed but the dentist wanted to wait until my breast cancer radiation treatment was complete.

By the time I was finished with treatment, the toothache was nearly unbearable. I went back to the dentist to get relief. As he was drilling away at my tooth, following not only one crack but several cracks, the cracked paths led to the root of my tooth. He concluded that my tooth needed to be extracted.

After 3 hours with the dentist, my problem had been solved and my pain was gone. I was so relieved. However, once all the feeling came back in my gums I realized that I still had to deal with the painful healing process.

Sometimes in life, we put up with things that are causing us pain. The longer we leave the cause of our pain unaddressed the more it affects other areas of our lives and the lives of those closest to us.

Not until the pain becomes completely unbearable do we seek help. Sometimes we never choose to seek help and live our entire lives in pain; growing accustomed to it or avoiding it.

We can’t get the help we truly need until we get to the root of what’s causing our pain. Sometimes by getting to the root of the problem, we realize that what is causing the pain needs to be extracted from our lives.

Once we extract that which causes us pain and suffering we then enter the healing process. The healing process may be painful as well but it’s necessary in order to live a healthy productive life; a life we are meant to live.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Are there things in your life that are hurting you? Things that you leave unaddressed because it’s easy and safe? Maybe you’re afraid of what it will cost you to extract the cause of your pain?

Maybe what’s hurting you are negative or abusive relationships that need to be extracted. Maybe it’s a drug, alcohol, sex, or porn addiction that’s destroying your life. Maybe you’re addicted to approval, gossip, or food.

Maybe something in your past or childhood that’s left you cracked and broken needs to be addressed. Leaving the root cause to your pain unaddressed will not only hurt you but those that are closest to you.

Will you seek the help you need today? God is our healer. He wants to heal our spirit, soul, and body. All we have to do is go to Him and ask Him to reveal to us those things in our lives that are causing us pain and need to be addressed.

Psalm 103:2-5 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles’s.

Ask God to help you get to the root of your spiritual, emotional, or physical pain. He may lead you to a particular scripture, or a trusted friend to talk to and give you godly counsel. He may lead you to a church where you can get the support, encouragement, and truth of God’s word necessary for your healing.

Proverbs 4:20 My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.

You don’t have to continue in your pain another day. Cry out to God for help and start living the healed productive life you were created to live.

~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/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.