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Life Is Still Changing

Gail's Journey

Life is still changing since 12/16/16…

We have been totally amazed and overwhelmed by all of the support, encouragement and prayers we have received over the last few weeks! We are humbled by so many who care and have reached out to let us know they are praying for us. Seeing friendships and the body of Christ, His church, in action is a beautiful thing!

Don and I had to retreat a little this week to have time alone to start processing and discussing the big changes that came crashing into our lives on that day. We have tried to consider what all we need to do to “get our house in order”, and the possibilities of how our future may look. The prognosis is grim. It was hard to hear those words, “there is no cure for this cancer”. There were no percentages given of people who recover from pancreatic cancer at stage 4. We cannot truly wrap our minds around what is happening, but I think this is normal and probably a good thing. We can only process so much at a time. I also needed some time to talk to God and be still before him. There are so many Scriptures that stand out with renewed meaning lately.

Last week, during my first chemotherapy treatment, I was hit with another reality. I know that one of the side effects of chemotherapy is often hair loss. As most of you know, I have long thick curly hair. I have to admit I like my hair! I get a lot of compliments on my hair. People tell me it makes me look younger too! It also keeps my head and neck warm. It is a comfort. It is mine and I have had long hair for most of my life. It was short when I got married and for a while when my children were young, but I always went back to long hair. I found it was also easier to take care of than short hair. My hair has natural frizz and curl. When it is long, it can kind of do what it wants with some hair product and a little work, but when it was short, it was even crazier and hard to control. I suppose hair is attached to vanity for a lot of women, but I know it was for me. I remember many years ago, when talking to someone else about her hair loss from chemotherapy, and I thought to myself, “you are too vain about your hair, so God will probably ask you to lose it someday.” And I wondered how I would deal with that loss.

A woman from the American Cancer Society came to my bedside last Friday while I was receiving my first chemotherapy. She asked if I was interested in trying on some wigs. She shared that the American Cancer Society gives a free wig to cancer patients and even offers classes on make-up, etc. I was not expecting this on the first day, but as everything was new and the side effects for my treatment all list “hair loss”, I gladly accepted her offer. Don and my daughters were there and helped to make it a fun “event”. We teased that I could have a brand new look! I even tried on a blonde Marilyn Monroe looking wig! They all liked one that was more of a longer bob look with bangs and a slight auburn color. None of the wigs looked like my natural hair. So when the time comes, you may not recognize me! I told Don I could get other wigs so he could have a different looking wife every day!

I have to admit that I don’t want to lose my hair, but that’s not on my high priority list anymore. I hope I have matured with age. But I still have to question how I will deal with the loss. Many go through this and do well. I believe I can, too. Just don’t be surprised if I try different looks. You may not recognize me, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts!

I want to reflect Christ’s peace and joy as I trust him through this process. He is still the Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, my Father, my Rock, my security, my Savior. He is truth, love, joy, peace and hope. Although we are struggling through difficult thoughts and emotions, God is giving us his “peace beyond all understanding” that he speaks about in the Scriptures. Life is still changing rapidly, but we are trusting God in each step. We are grateful to so many who have reached out and are being the hands and feet of Christ. We are humbled by the outpouring of love! We are continuing to pray for healing, as we are confident that Jesus can just speak the word and it will be done if that is in his plan! We are learning more about ourselves along the way also, some good, some disappointing. Stopping to reflect is a daily process now. We are praying that we will learn what He wants us to learn as soon as possible in this process. He has already opened our eyes to many things!