Brian and I went out for lunch today. Yes, I said it. OUT for lunch. It felt so good to be out and about and feel like part of the living again. Although the air was frigid, I wanted to stand and breathe it in, soak in the sunshine, and wallow in my freedom, well, at least until I was too cold to move. Then I jumped into our van and relished our heated seats. We found ourselves trying out the new delicacies at Tutti Gusti’s which was having its grand opening. (My zagat rating: Neat little place. Fresh decor. Good but not great Italian. Minimal cost.)

While Brian was busy raving over how you get your drink for free with two slices of pizza. I was busy keeping my gloves on until my food came, eyes darting around the room to scan for lack of cleanliness. Ever since I was diagnosed with cancer, public places and germs scare me to death. Cancer is a curse in more ways than one, because there is no escape. From the second glances people throw you once they see your hat and lack of eyebrows, to the refusing to use a public bathroom out of fear of what grows inside, the curse is always there.

While we were waiting for our meal to come, Brian reached across the table and grabbed both my gloved hands. “It’s almost over, babe.” he grinned from ear to ear, “Tomorrow is your last chemo.” I smiled at him and then promptly burst into tears. Not quite the reaction he was going for, I’m sure. There is nothing I hate worse than someone blowing their nose at the table, yet here I sat with my wad of tissues, trying to staunch the flow and not make a spectacle of myself. Too late! Try walking into any place with no hair and a hat vainly trying to cover your head.

It’s almost surreal to think this hurdle is almost over. I look back at the course behind me and see so many hurdles already jumped: surgeries, chemo visits, cat scans, heart scans, hair loss, hospitalizations. Some are on the ground. I’ve kicked them there in my determination that this cancer won’t defeat me. Some I’ve lept over easily, and they stare belligerently at my back. Others I’ve tripped over in my weakness and lack of faith. This last chemo hurdle still looms in front of me, but after tomorrow, it will be lying prone as well. I will have made it through the part of the race that is the hardest, and while other barriers remain, they will be much easier jumps for me.

While he stuffed his face with pizza and I delicately picked at my steak sub, I tried to explain to Brian how I look at those hurdles ahead of me and I weep for fear. I fear losing the closeness to Christ I have sensed. I fear thinking I don’t need Him now that “life might be easier”. I dread the side effects of radiation and what that will look like. I tremble at the possibility of recurrence and having to live this life all over again. As crazy as it sounds, I fear life returning to normal. I have been dependent for so long now, that having some of my independence back scares me. Will I be able to care for my children the same? Will I be able to cook and clean and care for my home and family? What will it look like? I know the answer is that it won’t look the same, because we are not the same people who inhabited this home 6 months ago. We have changed drastically and grown tremendously.

Martin Luther wrote:

This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise; we are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished, but it is going on; this is not the end, but it is the road.

This is the road I have ahead of me, and truth be told, fear still lurks. It is there and it is real. I once told a friend, “If one more person tells me not to be afraid, I might strangle them.” It’s not about not being afraid, it’s about going to Christ with those fears. While He doesn’t take the pain or the unknown or the fear away, He gives the courage to face those fears head on, jumping those hurdles and running hard toward the finish line. I can have that courage because I know all the time He is running with me. Some days He’s right there beside me, others He’s in front encouraging me to follow Him. Still others He is behind me cheering me on. And there are many days where I’m not running at all… He is carrying me in the race, hoisting me over each hurdle I face. The miraculous part is that He is doing them all at the same time. There is one thing of which I am sure. I will reach the finish line with Him.

In the midst of all the fear and unknowns ahead of me, I do know this. My growing process is not complete, but after tomorrow my chemo process is. That, my friends, is reason for celebration!

6 responses to “Hurdles”

  1. Dearest Angie,

    I will be rejoicing with you tomorrow as you make it over this hurdle. I found a bunch of my old journals today while cleaning and one of them was a gorgeous tapestry journal you gave me on my 15th birthday. In it you wrote The Valley of Vision. It made me so thankful for the foundation of truth you and I were given. I was thinking how little our young hearts knew of this valley of vision then and how blessed we are to see our Saviour so much clearer now.

    I wish I could be there with you tomorrow. I will be with you in prayer and spirit. I love you.

    Moni Kaye

    Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.


  2. We are celebrating with you!


  3. B. A. Schlegel (Kristin Mullenix's aunt) Avatar
    B. A. Schlegel (Kristin Mullenix’s aunt)

    Angie, I will pray especially for you tomorrow with your last chemo. I know that you will still need to recover from its immediate affects on your body, but I am glad that you and your body are ready for it. I found myself to be very emotional during the months of my treatments, and especially in my worship experiences and my cancer support group at church. Those were special times of sharing with others who were struggling themselves and those who were struggling with me. You will never lose the feeling that life is a precious gift and that the Giver of Life is your Heavenly Father – the only Source of life. He will always be as accessible to you later as He is now, and just as precious. And He will guide you through the adjustments that you will continually make to deal with this whole experience. I am praying for your complete recovery. Thanks you for sharing so deeply with all of us. Love you, Aunt BA


  4. Yes, dear Angie, we are all celebrating with you! I pray that today is a good day for you. And tell Asher that I wish him a happy birthday. I love you all so much!


  5. YAAAAAYYYY!!!!! I talked to K-Stat and Amanda last night and I am SO PROUD OF YOU for finishing chemo! It is FINISHED! Praise God! He is so good.

    I love you, Angie, and continue to pray! *hug*

    Lisa (and JT and Maddie, too!)


  6. I’m so glad you shared this for my blogiversary 🙂 I love it. LOVE it. I’m actually in the middle of writing a post about those words from the Bible that people say “do not fear,” “do not worry.” and what they mean exactly. You said here exactly what I was working on articulating. I heart you 🙂


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