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By Rhonda Gould
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
How do you feel when you’re going through it? Hard times, that is! Everyone has them. No one is immune. I have found that having people in my life that help me, sometimes physically but most of the time by just listening and helping me sort through all the thoughts rushing through my head, is the be medicine for hard times. Do you have that someone? I have also found that the knowledge of how God is continually working in my life keeps me on a path forward with joy. How are you allowing God to work in your life?
I have been through many hard times and for me watching my child go through his hard time was my hardest. Here’s the story.
As I had a moment of relaxation after a day’s work and family obligations, our oldest son came to me and casually stated, “Mom, I have testicular cancer”. My heart dropped for a moment to hear such a bold statement. In our family, cancer is rampant and I’ve had many relatives pass away from that dreaded disease. This was not something that this momma wanted to hear from my 16-year-old.
The next day we immediately called the doctor! Now, as I think back, I remember vividly the look on the doctor’s face as he asked me to come back into the room.
It started early in the summer that year, school ended, and water skiing and baseball started. Just as school began the complaints of back pain and indigestion also began. With multiple trips to the doctors and many tests, they would say, “We can’t find anything wrong”. He tried not to complain and just after his 16th birthday. The night he made his announcement! I asked him how he came to such a conclusion, so he showed me and as I feared, all the symptoms were there.
When we go through hard times, it is helpful to look for the blessings through it. You say, “BLESSINGS!”, how in the world? But it’s possible. I’m going to share with you some that I found.
Blessing #1 came the next morning as I contacted the urologist who we already had experience with. I explained to them what was happening, and they said for us to come in “now”! After the sonogram on my son, I returned to the room and sank into the chair as the doctor’s words penetrated my fearful heart. “It appears to be cancer,” he said. Blood work came next! I called a close friend from church and cried as we waited for the confirmation.
Blessing #2 came during a four-day blur. CT Scan was first on the agenda. The chalky substance our son had to drink didn’t set well and he lost most of it on the way. Our son’s best friend and his mother were waiting on us at the testing site. His clothes were completely soiled after the trip so his friend suggested they trade clothing so our son didn’t have to wear them to the doctor’s office afterwards.
Blessing #3 was the silver lining that the cancer had not spread into his brain. Although the cancer had spread and he would need chemo and additional surgeries, it was also in his abdomen and lungs.
Blessing #4 was my sister who was a nurse by trade. Because an oncologist had to be decided on and pray that he would take us, I enlisted my sister. She found one! And he agreed to take our case.
Blessing #5, five days after confirming it was cancer, we were heading to Indiana University. Time to see what’s next.
Blessing #6 came as the specialist mapped out a plan of action and by the end of the day, his first chemotherapy treatment was done. The pain was almost more than our son could bear at this point but by the second treatment, the pain was gone, which meant the tumor was already shrinking.
Blessing #7 was that we were able to continue the treatment plan at a local oncology department near our home over the next several months. It was working and the tumor was shrinking. After several months of treatment, we returned to Indiana to remove what was still remaining of the tumor.
Through Blessing #8, we encountered many others, some older, some younger, some with other types of cancer and some with testicular cancer like our son. I got close with one other mother, who had a son the same age who also had testicular cancer. It amazed me, as we talked, the differences in our sons’ progress, how we were dealing with the trauma of such a hard disease and what life was like for our families outside of the “cancer”. We talked of God and faith but there were differences! The differences were who we were putting our trust in, were we letting it control our life outside the hospital walls and did we believe in healing. I believe God in our lives made all the difference along with friends, family and church. He was blessing us abundantly.
Blessing #9 came from within our son. His life was interrupted for a while but not stopped. He continued life aside from cancer. He continued being a 16 yr old outside of cancer. Trust in God did that!
Blessing #10 has developed over the last 15 years. He is married now with 3 beautiful children. Our trust grew that year. Our dependence on God was strengthened. Outcomes may not always be so grand but the knowledge that God has a greater plan is always in our minds.
Blessings are abundant if you are actively looking for them! Get a binder and start looking for those blessings, even among the hardships. Write them down, keep them close and see how God is working.
Jeremiah 29: 11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
That was a jump start of my faith walk, a faith that surpasses all understanding. A faith that continues to grow as God continues to show me that He will take care of me. Where are you going from here?
Make sure the young men in your life know the signs of this disease at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/testicular-cancer-care/symptoms-causes/syc-20352986
Rhonda Gould, CPLC and is working towards her ACC certification through International Coaching Federation. She specializes in helping her clients reveal patterns that are holding them back. She believes that every client has the ability within themselves to break the patterns and promote forward movement into career opportunities, new relationships, fun adventures and so much more. Rhonda consults with clients centered around having healthy boundaries, navigating through hard conversations and understanding cultural unity. You can learn more about Rhonda’s work at https://rhondagouldonline.com.
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