One Year

One year ago, on March 20th, life changed dramatically for most of us. A global pandemic was officially announced; we were told to Shelter at Home and to wear masks, wash our hands and social distance if we had to be out. Appointments were cancelled and we all learned to Zoom for church, Bible study, school, and even work. People got sick and died, often alone without family to support them. Others tested positive but were able to heal (and isolate) at home. Who thought that a year later some of these restrictions would still be in place?

One year ago, also on March 20th, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer after having a CT earlier in the day. Within a week I saw two oncologists, had a bone marrow biopsy, a PET scan and began treatment, which fortunately was a simple change in my estrogen blocker. Within a three or four months, my numbers returned to near normal ranges and I felt much better. Over time they added monthly Prolia injections and a adjunctive medicine to block an enzyme to extend the efficacy of the estrogen blocker. Every month I have lab work and a visit to the oncologist to assess how well this treatment is working. When it stops working–and it will–there are a few more treatment regimens known to keep the cancer at bay. It won’t ever really go away, but it can be kept from growing and spreading (until it can’t.)

One year ago, on March 4th, I flew home from New Zealand. There were signs about coronavirus around the airport and some people were wearing masks, but it really wasn’t clear yet how big this was going to become. By early April, New Zealand closed its borders and went “early and hard” into lockdown. As of today, they have had only 25 deaths and have kept a lid on the pandemic, but they aren’t going to open their borders for many more months which means I can’t see my kids or grandkids any time in the near future. I’m hoping for late fall or Christmas. Facetime is wonderful but I miss being able to physically be with Charlee and Simee and will really miss out on being able to cuddle their new baby boy, due any day now.

One year. I don’t know how other people feel but with a sense that there is a very real expiration date on my life (even if I don’t know what it is) it seems unfair that one year has been spent this way. There have been many good things about the year–I’m not complaining about that–but I would have preferred to spend it differently. I’m sure that is particularly true for older people who have had to spend this year quarantined away from their families.

I don’t exactly have a bucket list, but I do have some priorities about what matters and how I want to fill the time I have left. Learning to number my days, has made some of my priorities more clear–and yet, circumstances have limited my choices (as well as yours.)

One year…but what a year!

7 thoughts on “One Year

  1. Yes, Chris, what a year. I will pray that your separation from family will end sooner rather than later. That is the part that feels so wrong and cruel. In the meantime, it makes me think of the apostle Paul, who spent so much time kept from his original plans, imprisoned. And yet, God used him so mightily during that time. I’m praying that when life imprisons me, due to Covid, my own health and limitations, or whatever, that I can still live with grace and power and be used by Him for His glory. His plans are definitely not my plans. Let me grieve what isn’t and keep my eyes on Him, and see what never changes- His unmerited love and grace providing the free gift of salvation and the joy that cannot be stolen that comes from a relationship with the triune God. The plan is not mine, it’s His. But it’s my choice to keep my eyes on Him. Lord help us to see you more clearly in these difficult days.

  2. Yes, my reflections of the past year are somewhat similar. We had several trips planned and all were cancelled. We haven’t seen our daughter and family for 17 months and we are used to seeing them at least 3 times a year. The Lord has been near to us and we are grateful formHis love and care for us. Loneliness for so many has been excruciating to hear about but thankful for Zoom church and the fact that Steve and I have each other. Will continue praying for you and your health. Say hi to John for us as well.
    Love, Barb

  3. I had a flash of foresight around the end of March last year, and started a weekly Zoom session with Mom, my siblings, and any of the younger set who wished to join. We’re still doing it every Sunday. We missed our usual summer gathering and the usual Christmas gathering, but we’re actually communicating more than in usual years! I started with a monthly paid Zoom membership, but switched to a yearly one in October. It’s been good!

  4. Prayers for a healthy new grandchild, and a quick release of the restrictions so you can go visit. I also pray that this “one day at a time” life turns out to be good for us and our example of faith to our families. It seems too easy to walk away from the Lord in these times, yet who else has the words that lead to eternal life?

  5. Chris, you always make me think… and feel…. What a gift you have with your writing! Thank you for putting your heart out there! Love you, friend!

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