Sliding On Black Ice - 50 Days of Hope

Sliding On Black Ice

Have you ever been driving down the road when all of a sudden you hit a patch of black ice? If you live in a climate that experiences true winter, you know exactly what I mean.

You’re cruising along on bare pavement one minute and sliding down the road the next. You’re on black ice—a covering of ice so thin that the dark pavement still shows through. If you apply the brakes, they do nothing to stop your vehicle. Instead, you just keep sliding, maybe even sideways, until you find something bigger than you to stop your slide!

When I was diagnosed with colon cancer, I felt as if I had hit a huge patch of black ice. I had been going merrily along in life—happily married to my pastor-husband and enjoying our three young daughters. I loved my career as a newspaper reporter and even found time to exercise regularly at the local Y.

I consider myself an organized, well-prepared person . . . but I never saw the black ice of cancer ahead of me.

It took me so much by surprise that I couldn’t even think how to react.

I tapped the brakes and nothing happened. I still had cancer.

I pressed a little harder on the brakes and found out the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes.

I slammed on the brakes only to learn that the odds I would survive were less than the odds I wouldn’t.

I was sliding sideways, out of control, and it was the scariest time of my life. Thankfully, I didn’t crash, but I did find something bigger than me to stop my slide.

Actually, Someone.

I slid right into the big, open arms of an all-knowing God, who assured me that He had seen the black ice coming. I prayed He would just make the black ice disappear so I could be carefree once again, but He didn’t. So I continued riding on the thin layer of black ice through surgery and six months of weekly chemotherapy, which included having to endure a drug to which I was allergic.

As I was finishing treatment, I made the “mistake” of asking my oncologist, Dr. Marc Hirsh, what happens if the chemo doesn’t work.

“If the cancer does comes back, it probably will come back within two years, and you will die very quickly,” Marc told me as he explained I had one and only one shot at being cured because no effective treatment for recurrent colon cancer existed at that time.

So the black ice of cancer turned into a nasty shadow hanging over my head.

I tried various methods to get rid of cancer’s shadow. I closed my eyes tightly: I don’t see any shadow. But it was hard to go through a normal day with my eyes closed.

I got very busy. The shadow won’t be able to catch up with me. But shadows are much faster than I realized.

I thought positively. That’s not a shadow. It’s a big, happy, black balloon! But it sure was dark under there.

I don’t know exactly where you or your loved one is along your cancer journey. Maybe you’ve been blindsided fairly recently by the black ice of cancer. Maybe you’re still slamming on the brakes, trying to believe it isn’t so. Perhaps you’re scared because you can’t steer the way you want to go. Maybe you’re waiting for the crash and are half afraid to open your eyes. Perhaps you feel the oppression of cancer’s shadow wherever you go.

I don’t care how big the cancer is, how small the cure odds are, how little time a doctor says you or your loved one has, I have a message for you in these next few weeks: God is bigger than cancer, His light is brighter than cancer’s shadow, and there is always hope in Him.

Why am I discouraged?

Why is my heart so sad?

I will put my hope in God!

Psalm 42:5

When doubts filled my mind,

your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

Psalm 94:19

I’d like to pray Psalm 10:17 for you today:

LORD, You know the hopes of the helpless. Surely You will hear their cries and comfort them. Amen.

From the Book: