This morning I received a video text that made me smile and cry at the same time. One of my very dear friends finished grueling rounds of chemo and radiation therapy, and the video showed him ceremoniously clanging the hospital gong. His story is not mine to share, but I feel the need to express my emotions in some way, hence this blog. My friend’s diagnosis came after a quirky, seemingly harmless other health issue. A few years ago, my eye cancer diagnosis came after I broke my nose. Yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with a friend whose brother was diagnosed with very early stage pancreatic cancer. Due to unexplained headaches, his doctor completed full body scans to find the culprit, unexpectedly finding a cancerous lesion. In each of these situations a physical challenge occurred, a nuisance, really. But these nuisances led to the diagnosis and treatment of extremely dangerous forms of cancer; forms that normally are found way too late for successful treatment. I have come to think of these types of nuisances as God winks.
Many years ago, a friend gave me a book entitled, “When God Winks”. The book includes stories of what some people refer to as coincidences. But those with faith view the happenings as nudges, hints, and “winks” from God. I’ve long since adopted the phrase.
I didn’t get to bang a gong after I completed either of my cancer treatments. But I had another sort of “graduation”. On the evening that my husband and I departed for Philadelphia for my first eye surgery and treatment week, my daughters created a facebook page entitled “Eye of the Tiger”. The Katy Perry song, Roar, became my fight song. Over the years, my eye cancer treatment process included a full day of scans/tests followed by a day of treatment. Due to the insurance claims process, I personally needed to pick up my medications from the hospital pharmacy and deliver them to my doctors on treatment day. It was rather uncanny that every time I went to the pharmacy to await my prescription, Roar would play over the ceiling speakers.
I shared this story with my radiation therapist on the last day of my breast cancer treatment. We talked about my faith and that my strength was not my own, but a gift from God. After my final treatment, I climbed off the table and sighed happily and loudly. And then, I heard the song. My fight song came over the speakers. My therapist’s mouth dropped open and she grabbed me in a hug.
I believe that God always provides for us. Sometimes his works are big and obvious, but other times they are more subtle. My broken nose truly saved my life. I am grateful for the innumerable times that I have been “smacked in the head” as a wakeup call. But it is the subtle reminders that help me get through the day. The God winks help me remember that I am never alone. When Roar played on the last day of 2 years of treatment, it was a wink and a promise that no matter what, God’s got my back. He will always provide for me, as long as I have faith.