Friday, June 21, 2013
S.A.B.L.E. and Me
Being a breast cancer survivor is a strange and surreal experience at times. Every now and then, as the length of time extends from the diagnosis to the present, you are caught off guard by stray memories of how it felt when you were dealing with the very earliest (darkest) days...One of those just happened to me. For those visiting who are not knitters, "S.A.B.L.E" is an acronym which stands for "Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy". For those not living with a (potentially) terminal illness, it is amusing, as most of us who knit have an embarrassingly large stash. For those of us living with a life-threatening illness, it's not quite so funny as it was when we first heard it, back when we were healthy.
I had a flashback of the way it felt when I cast my eye over my yarn stash during those early days; there have only been a handful of times since I first picked up the needles that I have not had any desire to knit. The first several months of treatments were one of them. When I looked at my yarn at that time, all I could think was, "That is so much yarn, and now I will never knit it up. It will still be here when I'm gone." I could picture my husband and children having to look at it and dispose of it and what an emotional burden it would place on them. I had zero interest in visiting yarn shops and purchasing more yarn or patterns. Knitting seemed unimportant. Why bother to buy more when I might not live more than a few months?
I wanted to spend every moment that I had left on this earth being with my children or praying. And I'm not talking about desperate prayers to God to spare me. There were those, certainly. I asked Him to give me more time to see my children grow up and become independent. I asked Him not to take me until they didn't need me any more. Especially the youngest, who has always loved me most ferociously. But most of my prayer time was not anguish filled or desperate. I loved the closeness I felt to Jesus during that time. I wanted to spend time with Him, contemplating all the love He had shown me all my life. I wanted to enter more deeply into what He was calling me to in this suffering. He filled my life with such grace and joy, it was marvelous. Adoring Him was my delight and unimaginable peace. I felt His love in the most tangible fashion. He told me two things constantly, "Be not afraid," and "my grace is sufficient for you." During my battle, I knew He loved me and that made all the difference. I knew that whatever the outcome, His choice for me was intended as a blessing beyond measure, and it would be okay. No. Matter. What.
How many transitions cancer diagnosis brings with it. There is so much adjusting to do, constantly. Believe it or not, moving from active battle with the disease to living with being declared "cancer free" is an odd adjustment to make. But I'm happy to report that I have moved into this phase fully now, if stash enhancement is an indicator: