A Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday. I was not sure what the day might hold after reading the first verse of today’s scheduled Bible reading: “My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.” Job 17:1. I was afraid to get out of bed!

Staying in bed was not an option as my semi-annual CT scan was scheduled for this morning, so off I went to the Patewood Medical Campus Building A. They had to copy my insurance cards and confirm my identity, so I sat with a representative of the hospital’s business office. It was apparent this lady is a Christian, for when I commented on a particular Psalm she had displayed, she replied, “I don’t know how people get along without the Lord.” She then shared how God had answered prayer regarding her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease. Before I left her office, she asked if she could pray with me. What a blessing to share such communion with a sister in the Lord who was quick to observe, “You don’t look like you have cancer. There is not a wrinkle in your face!” She promised to email me so that I can send her information on some nutritional supplements that have helped Alzheimer’s patients.

The ladies in radiology know me since I have been getting CT scans here for several years. Once again I heard, “No one would ever believe that you have cancer. You don’t look like our typical cancer patient. You look so healthy!” And so I do, to the praise and glory of the Lord. The nurse took great pains to carefully insert the curved needle into my port. Thankfully, she made it on the first try so that a contrast solution could be administered. Sliding into the scanner is unnerving for me. I can fight the feelings of claustrophobia as long as I can see the ceiling, so I tilt my head back as far as I can in order to keep the ceiling in view. The machine commands, “breathe in and hold.” The scan takes but a few seconds for one pass without the contrast. Then a warming sensation spreads throughout once the contrast is released. “Breathe in and hold” for a second pass. The scans themselves take only a few seconds each, but I have to drink “the white stuff” and wait for an hour before they can proceed. It will be several days before I know the results as to how much or how little the tumors in my lungs have grown. If the Lord allows me to live until April 10th, that will mark the three-year anniversary of when the oncologist told me I had less than a year to live. How wonderful that our days are numbered by the Lord and not by doctors! Every day is a gift for which I thank the Lord.

I finished at the radiology lab in time to meet my daughter for a birthday lunch that included a dear friend and my four-year-old granddaughter. My oldest son stopped by last night to watch a football game with me. He brought a lovely card and several selections of organic chocolate. My daughter’s gift was a lovely card and more organic chocolate! Chocolate is truly one of God’s gracious gifts, and my children know how much I enjoy it.

Birthdays have not always been joyous occasions for me. I was not living at home when my sixteenth birthday neared. My step-father, in a fit of rage, had chased me across the desert near our home in Phoenix. He had a gun in his hand and would have fired it had he been able to catch me. My mother felt it best that I stay with a friend until he cooled down.  The lady I was staying with insisted that we have a party in honor of my sixteenth birthday, so I invited several friends from school and church. I was eagerly anticipating the event when I learned that these people were going to be bringing me presents! It was fine if they wanted to come play games and eat cake, but I just could not let them bring presents! Therefore, I cancelled the party. Now, I have since recovered from the “no gifts” hang up, but at that time in my life the thought of my friends bringing me gifts was more than I could handle. I was a very insecure girl.

My current friends have been thoughtful to send cards, e-cards, messages and Facebook greetings! One friend in Arizona called and sang happy birthday in a voice message! I am so thankful that God has blessed me with a wide circle of friends. They bless and encourage me throughout the year. From reading the Book of Job I see that Job’s friends were not an encouragement to him. Mine reach out to bless me lovingly.

I just cannot praise God enough. I would have to agree with Job that “my breath is corrupt” with inadequacy to praise the Lord as he deserves. When my days are extinct and the graves are ready for me, then I shall be able to render unto my Savior the honor and glory due his name. The Lord be praised!