and My Jesus
Hearing I had Stage 4 colon and liver cancer was one of the most devastating things I have ever been told. It is awful. You want to turn back time and hear, “It’s your gallbladder,” or “It’s your appendix.”
words + photographs TRACI PRATER
Anything but cancer.
You feel like you are in a boat you can’t get out of or on a roller coaster ride that isn’t going to let you off. Your life is changed forever and you haven’t even told your family yet.
Enter Jesus. I listened for His still small voice and 2 Corinthians 12:9 came to me: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God is enough. It was my choice to believe it or discard it. I chose, and continue to choose, to believe it.
outpouring of kindness
As the days unfolded, my God-given family, my church family, and my work family were told of my diagnosis. I had no expectations of anyone to do anything for me, but pray. When asked what I wanted done for me, my response was for everyone to get a colonoscopy and to go back to church.
When asked what I wanted done for me, my response was for everyone to get a colonoscopy and to go back to church.
Because that was a tall order for some, their love manifested itself in other ways. Lots of texts of concern and encouragement poured in. Then the gift cards started showing up in all amounts from all over. At work, I had mentioned my list of 100 books I wanted to read before I die, and sacks of books were being brought to my desk for days. Lastly, money was collected to send my family on a trip to Big Cedar Lodge in Branson to relax. The outpouring of kindness was overwhelming.
My son watches silly cartoons with me because they make me laugh
As I write this, I am only a third of the way through my chemotherapy treatments, but my husband and son are familiar with what it does to me. They are so caring. My son will stand in the kitchen and grab items out of the refrigerator and freezer for me because the cold sensitivity can be intense and burn my hands. He also watches silly cartoons with me because they make me laugh. And he gives me longer hugs now, which of course, are the best.
My husband keeps up with all of the medical bills and insurance and doctor appointments while working his job and cooking most of the meals and cleaning. Because of my constant need for protein, when he cooks, he does his best to add items that increase the nutritional value. He makes a wonderful banana bread with his crafty substitutions.
He also crafted a giant heart out of wood and painted it and wrote “Beloved” across it. It hangs on the back fence where I can see it while I try to get my breakfast down. He has now added some metal flowers and made our backyard into a parklike setting. He takes me for long walks where we wonder at God’s creation and talk about the future.
Jesus Loves Us
Only Jesus knows how long I have on this Earth, but I believe He has a plan for me. He has guided us to our current doctors, surrounded us with nurses who care, equipped us with trusted friends on standby to do anything we need, and He given me the ability to tolerate the chemo while still working and being helpful to others.
The abundant life Jesus promises us in the Bible has nothing to do with our stuff or our comfort. He has lovingly shown me through cancer and kindness that it has everything to do with loving his people. God bless you now and always.