I would lounge in strangers’ homes, when I was in college, having devoured everything I could find in the pantry, deliberately ignoring the vacuum and cleaning supplies at my feet, and listening with a sort of rabid attention to a disembodied voice dramatically droning:  “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”  Cue music and opening credits. 

While my employer was out shopping or at the gym, I would sit on her bed in the master bedroom watching soap operas and trying to convince myself that it was okay to put off my cleaning duties until I found out if Cruse and Eden would finally figure out that they were trapped in a parallel universe, if Marlena would realize that Roman’s spirit was reincarnated in his horse, or if Taylor would ever make it back from the fictional middle-eastern country where she was being held as an amnesiac harem-member.  Ah, the drama of it all!  Housecleaning, paid or unpaid, has never been a forte, and my college years (when an addiction to my newly discovered soaps overrode my spit-shine ambitions) did nothing to increase my affection for the sport.

The “sands through the hourglass” have been running slower than ever these days—or so it feels.  When I wrote my last entry, I was waiting for the hospital to set a date for my upcoming surgical biopsy.  The call, when it finally came, was dismaying.  The surgical schedule is full until Aug. 6.  That’s three more weeks of waiting…and waiting…and waiting…while my life feels dismally put on hold.

Toby impatiently waiting for his master to arrive home–canine impatience!
Yes, he is indeed the size of a small horse.

I’ve never been very good at waiting.  Standing in line makes me queasy and biding my time makes me antsy.  I want my reward now and my answers yesterday.  Nanoseconds are my favorite time span.  I once heard a comedian say that you know you have a problem with patience if you stand in front of a microwave yelling, “Hurry up, already!!”  Well…HURRY UP, ALREADY!  I’m starting to realize that patients and patience don’t go well together.  If there’s something malignant in our bodies, we pretty much want it defined and deleted ASAHP (as soon as humanly possible).

And yet…waiting can be a productive endeavor.  It’s true for stock markets, for sunsets and for chastity.  For cancer surgery too, if it’s done right.  Mind you, I haven’t entirely embraced the August 6th delay!  I’ve put in a request to jump into the next cancellation the surgeon receives, and I hope and pray it will miraculously happen, but in the meantime…

All it took was 24 hours to get my brother, sister-in-law and mother hooked on Facebook!
Apple should pay us advertising dividends for this picture…

I’ve been able to spend this week with my brother and his family.  I’ve been able to give some more thought to the nature of this disease and the consequences (good and bad) of its treatment.  I’ve been able to wrap my mind around the simple phrase that usually slams home in the seconds after I open my eyes in the morning:  I have breast cancer. I’ve been able to contemplate the Truths that will accompany me through the journey ahead:

  • I possess God’s strength within me
  • I have been immeasurably blessed for 40 years
  • I know who I am because I know Whose I am
  • Though I am going through this “unattached,” I am not going through this alone
  • My life has served and will serve a purpose
  • There is nothing still to come that God hasn’t already explored
  • BFA will still be there in a few months—I need to spend this time making myself well enough to return

That last one was among the hardest truths to grasp.  On the day I had to write to the school to inform the personnel department that I’d probably be missing the first semester of classes, I felt that I was somehow betraying them.  I’ve had the time to “revisit” that feeling and frame it in a realistic light.  BFA isn’t going anywhere, and the best I can do for the school is return in full health.  Still…I was so thrilled, just a month ago, to be getting the school play back after four years of not directing it.  I was so excited that Squirt (Alyssa K) had actually joined choir after vowing that she would never, ever, ever, ever, ever sing in one!!!  I was so eager to start teaching acting again, to get back to teaching Prose and Poetry, to step back into the dorm (even a guys’ dorm) and get baking/chatting again… 

Lydia, Owen and Corbin…the fam.

And yet, this three-week delay has given me time to do some necessary grieving for the losses this cancer entails and some critical bracing for the battle it requires.  It has given me time to focus on God, on His word (still given to me every morning on notes taped to my bathroom mirror by my devoted mom), and on His promises.  It has given me time to communicate the urgency of my plea to those I love to “get right
” with God before something like this strikes them.  It has given me time.  Time to contemplate and grow and negotiate and embrace. 

Please continue to pray:

  • For a quicker return to surgery, if possible.
  • For no sign of cancer in the two additional “clusters” they’re removing OR in the lymph nodes. (Cancer in either of those would mean mandatory mastectomy.)
  • For wisdom as I decide on the final surgery’s nature: given the prognosis of a lumpectomy vs. a mastectomy (15% recurrence vs. 5% recurrence), I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t be safe and just opt for the latter, regardless of the biopsy results.
  • For patience for this patient.  It doesn’t come naturally! 

Your prayers continue to carry me and your love continues to uphold and soothe me.  Thank you—with all of my heart—for both.

(I gave Lydia, Owen and Corbin the “impatience illustrator” assignment this morning)

Ingrid putting up with Toby’s flying water and sand after a long swim and roll
on the beach (the dog–not Ingrid!).

Lydia doing her part to illustrate impatience–with some annoying help from Owen.

Corbin not-so-patiently waiting for his brother to pass the fries.

Owen, too impatient to wait before biting into a sizzling fry…and paying the consequences!



  1. Renee says I’m always the first to leave a comment…it’s not true, but this time it is…Glad to read your post. LOVE the photo of you and your brother and mom. Fun “assignment” you gave the kids.

    We anxiously (or patiently!) await your return. Praying that God will continue His good work in you (healing cancer, granting peace, building endurance).

  2. i can’t help but say…

    you definitely mentioned horses more than once in that.

    : ]

  3. Michele, thanks for sharing your life with the family.  I have been trying to imagine and you have helped put color and substance in my imagination.  Nothing like the “waiting room of God”.  May you bear it well in His arms of love and grace and peace.  hugs storing up, Renee

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