As I said, I am 68. I am awed and delighted to be alive and married to my high school sweetheart, John Ragsdale. I am awed and delighted to be the mother of Mark, Jane, Nancy, and Wade, and the grandmother of Kristen, Matthew, David Meredith, Kayla, Chris, Hannah, Robert, and Vincent
I was a pretty typical stay-at-home Christian wife and mother -- lots of Bible teaching, P.T.A., volunteer work, etc. My first husband, Dave Hines, was a career Marine, so we lived all over the United States and had a great 43 years together.
My breast cancer (carcinoma) was diagnosed in July, 1986. After a mastectomy, at which time malignant lymph nodes were discovered, I went through fifteen months of chemotherapy. Actually, it took fifteen months of therapy to accumulate nine months of treatments. I have not had a recurrence of the breast cancer, and I am thankful for that. In 1993 and 1994 I had surgeries for unrelated cancer of the vulva (invasive squamous cell carcinoma) -- another "not my favorite time of life!" It is now 2006, and I am now doing great!
I had not thought to write about the experience. I kept a journal during the treatments for my own therapy. But I felt so shepherded throughout the whole time, in spite of my shilly-shallying around. I wanted to share that.
Since the first printing of this book, Dave died of lung cancer. Some details of that can be found in the section called "The Rest of the Story."
Please hang in there! Hang on to the Lord and just see what He does!
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly perils, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)
Quality Whining - To Whom, When, and Where
Let's face it, people, these next few months will never win your "My Favorite Period of my Life" Award. The best you can hope for is to get through it with.. .hmm... perhaps just to get through it will suffice. A modicum of humor can be achieved through whining. We are not talking run of the mill griping here. We are talking Quality Whining. A few ground rules:
1. Pacifiers look peculiar in an adult mouth but considering what they do for babies, you might want to hide in your closet and go for it.
2. Try not to whine to your husband during the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, or the World Series. Otherwise consider him fair game. He did say "for better or worse," didn't he? If your wife is the whinee, the same applies to Oprah, a Good Book, and possibly the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and the World Series. We live in a changing world.
3. Some of your finest whining can be done with others who are undergoing these Gestapo devised treatments. In fact you can hear six part harmony in an oncologist's office -- particularly if there is a delicatessen downstairs.
4. Do your whining in small increments. The tolerance level for whining, even among those most sympathetic, will never approach your maximum ability to whine. I'd put it at about the same as your tolerance level when listening to a six-year-old detail the plot of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie. So move right along when whining to friends.
5. Alone is good. You don't have to worry about looks, noise, content, or time.
6. The best whining is done to God. Not only can He help, He loves you best. And, let's face it, He has --you should pardon the expression -- all the time in the world.
(...read more by Judy Ragsdale)