My Dad arrived at the hospital to take me home. Man, was I glad to see him! The nurse gently sat me in a wheelchair and wheeled me to the curve outside of the hospital where my Dad was waiting. The ride home was comfortable and pleasant. My Dad and I talked about my surgery, hospital experience, the recovery process, and the impending chemotherapy treatments. I was looking forward to the familiar smell of home, to seeing my kids and my husband, to sleeping in my own bed and showering in my own bathroom. I was looking forward to home sweet home.
How I wish that somebody would have prepared me for what was to come once I returned home after having MAJOR surgery as a result of breast cancer. I was a healthy person before being diagnosed with breast cancer. I had both kids naturally; no medications, and only needed to see the doctor every two years for a routine physical. So, to return home in a convalescent state, was awkward, to say the least.
When I arrived home, my kids ran towards me, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” they screamed. But out of pure reflex, I quickly put my hand out in front of me to shield myself from being run into. Their countenances dropped because the last thing they wanted to do was to hurt Mommy. I had to explain to them more about my surgery and remind them to be very gentle and careful with me. We are a very affectionate family, so to have to tell my kids not to hug me tightly or not to sit on my lap, was heart-rending, to say the least, but they did their best to understand and to remember.
Day one of being home was bittersweet. I was elated to breathe in the familiar smell of home, and to see my kids, mother and husband, who were all excited for my return home as well. I was looking forward to sleeping in my bed until I quickly discovered that I could not. When I tried to lay down, it felt like the stitches in my abdomen were going to pop, Ouch! I jerked in pain before being assisted into a comfortable sitting position by my husband.
Several months before the surgery, my father had given my husband and I a La-Z-Boy recliner that he owned. Little did we know that chair would be home for me during the next five weeks of recovery. The fact that I was unable to lay flat or to be comfortable in my bed was distressing, to say the least. Sleeping in the living room, on the La-Z-Boy recliner meant that I would be sleeping apart from my husband who is like my teddy bear and my security blanket. It also meant that I would be exposed most of the time because the living room area is where all of the action of the house took place. It is where the family sat to play, watch movies and television; it is where visitors are ushered whenever we had company, and it connected with our eating area. Our living room was like grand central station.
While in the hospital, I had been taking stool softeners to stimulate a bowel movement. Because I had surgery in my abdominal area, it was tough for me to use my abdominal muscles to push the bowel out of my body. Upon arriving home, my mother began serving me an herbal tea called SMOOTH MOVE. I drank about two cups of the tea. Within a few hours, my body was ready to release the bowel that had built up while I was in the hospital. I had never felt such excruciating pain! I was LOCKED UP! Thank God that my mother was there. Without being too graphic, I will just tell you that my mom’s nursing background and skills were appreciated that day. After having what seemed like the biggest bowel movement of my life, I felt renewed. I felt like a new person.
That night, as we all settled down for bed, my husband kissed me goodnight, but not on my lips. Rather, he kissed me on my forehead. For those of you reading this who are married, you know that there is a certain unspoken language that exists between couples. Well, the kiss on the forehead meant that there was a problem. A problem that neither of us wanted to address. A problem that neither of us had the energy to address. A problem that neither of us could solve even if we were to stay up until 3 O’clock in the morning talking about it. The problem? BREAST CANCER. As we would do many times during this journey, my husband and I went to sleep that night with a problem between us. He retired to our bedroom, and I retired in the La-Z-Boy recliner.
After I had settled onto the La-Z-Boy to sleep for the night, my mom settled onto the sofa beside me. I had a difficult time falling asleep. The reality of having breast cancer overwhelmed me. The darkness in the room seemed so thick, and I felt as though the life was being sucked out of me. I felt alone. Fearful. Helpless. Unsure. Empty. Bruised. Despite my struggle to hold back the tears, my mother heard my sniffles and shuddered breathing in the darkness. I prayed to God that He would help me, but I needed a physical touch. A contact of a warm hand to help me feel alive and to bring me comfort in the darkness of the night.
I reached my hand out to my mother, and she held my hand ever so gently. This simple touch helped to calm my soul. It helped me feel alive. She tried to speak words of comfort and encouragement to me, but I just only wanted to be. I wanted my surroundings to be as quiet and as still as the darkness that enshrouded the room. She respected my wishes and held on to my hand until I drifted to sleep.
Please understand that I am in no way trying to compare myself to Jesus. However, that night gave me a glimpse of what he must have experienced when he was driven into the desert by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil. The scripture tells us in Matthew 4:1-2, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” Temptation seems to always find us when we are weary, weak, hungry, exhausted and restless.
Just like Christ, we must combat temptation with the word of God. Let us look at the example set by Christ in verses 3-11, “The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
I want to make something very clear to you. TEMPTATION IS NOT SIN. SIN OCCURS WHEN WE GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION. That is why the Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted, yet without sin. Jesus knows what we are going through. He has experienced pain, loneliness, sorrow, and despair. He was tempted in every area that we are tempted in, YET HE DID NOT SIN. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
It is also important that you understand that IT IS NOT GOD WHO TEMPTS US. THE DEVIL IS BEHIND EVERY TEMPTATION that we experience. In God’s love letter to us, it says in the book of James 1:13-14, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
NEWS FLASH*** Believers are NOT EXEMPT FROM TEMPTATION. However, God has made provisions for believers. Let us take a look at 1Corinthians 10:13 which says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” When we are able to withstand temptation, then and only then will we be comforted and strengthened. Then and only then will we find relief. My relief was in the human touch.
When we are able to withstand temptation, then and only then will we be comforted and strengthened. Then and only then will we find relief. My relief was in the human touch. Sometimes we withstand our temptations and other times we do not. But the fact that Jesus endured temptation and OVERCAME SIN puts us in an incredible position IF we believe in him. When we become believers in Christ, his victory over sin becomes our victory and covering.
My challenge to you this week is to write down those things that tempt you when you are tired, exhausted, hungry, weak, restless or insecure. Once you have your list, I invite you to pray and ask God to give you the strength to overcome those temptations. He will provide a way. He will give you the comfort you need. My comfort was found through my mother’s touch in the middle of the night. I wonder where your comfort will come from? Maybe from a phone call, a greeting card, an unexpected visitor, a poem, a joke, a good night’s sleep, a movie, a good book, scripture, or a prayer? Whatever it will be, I am sure it will be fulfilling.
For questions or comments, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, Ciao♥
We have all heard the familiar adage, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Well, looking back at the 2011 breast cancer experience and the impact that it had on my marriage, I can now see how my good intentions toward my husband’s well-being and comfort, may have ultimately distanced him from me emotionally. Before I decided to undergo treatment for breast cancer, my husband and I agreed that he would continue to work throughout my treatment. Looking back, I can say with certainty that neither my husband or I was prepared for the huge change that would take place within our household, family routine, and the toll that it would take on our marital relationship. The fact that I could not sleep in our bedroom was disheartening to the both of us. The fact that I was not sleeping in the room, meant that we were not having sex either. However, we did not talk about our feelings. We chose to keep silent, knowing that there was nothing either of us could do to change our present reality. Little did we know that this lack of communication would soon prove to be detrimental to our relationship.
Before I decided to undergo treatment for breast cancer, my husband and I agreed that he would continue to work throughout my treatment. Once this decision was made between us, I made a PERSONAL DECISION to try and maintain the status quo. Meaning, I would try my best to make sure that he was not impacted at all by MY ILLNESS. I wanted our relationship to be as close to normal as possible. I was determined not allow breast cancer to change our relationship.
Looking back, I can say with certainty that neither my husband or I was prepared for the TREMENDOUS TOLL that breast cancer and breast cancer treatment would take on our marriage. The fact that I could not sleep in our bedroom, we were not having sex, we were not communicating, nor were we spending any time together, was DESTROYING OUR MARRIAGE. I guess that we both resolved within ourselves that there was nothing either of us could do to change our present reality. So, we chose to keep silent.
My intention was not to worry him. I did not want him to have to shoulder the responsibility of MY ILLNESS. All I wanted him to be concerned about was work. I did not want him to be stressed out over me. I wanted him to have a good nights rest, eat well, relax and be happy. I never stopped to think that my PERSONAL DECISION to maintain the status quo, would ultimately wreak havoc on our relationship and come close to wrecking our marriage.