I am not sure how to start this topic or what to share. Let me share part of my story and let it take us where we need to go.
In late January, I was diagnosed with vulvar melanoma. Not a pretty cancer and not a nice type of cancer. Melanoma is the most common type of cancer there is but not necessarily in the location that I found mine to be. This has required first of all the biopsy that was done to determine what it was, then 2 additional surgeries. My first major surgery was on February 10, this removed all the tumor but also found that 4 of the 5 lymph nodes were positive for cellular melanoma involvement. Therefore, I had a second surgery on March 23, that removed the rest of the lymph nodes in the groin area which thankfully were all negative for any cancer involvement. I have had scans which do not pick up any cancer anywhere else. My cancer is a stage 3c, which means that it did have lymph node involvement but has not spread anywhere else in my body. I am participating in a research trial study for a new drug that has been very recently approved for stage 4 melanoma. This study is being done to get this drug approved for people with stage 3 so they don't have to wait till it spreads elsewhere in their body so hopefully it will be more effective in survival rates. I received my first treatment this past Monday. This is not chemotherapy but a drug that is to boost the immune system, basically put it in hyperdrive. This is the reason I have not been blogging since February 1. Too many things going on that were too weighty for light hearted, "life is good" posts on a blog meant to share my quilting projects. Yet I think this would be a good way to keep in touch with family and friends through all of this so they will know how I am doing and what is going on in my life.
Life is not always easy. Life is down right miserable at times. How do we make it through and come out on the other side with hope and our topic here, joy? How do we find joy let a lone be joy filled when we are traveling down a road that seems dark and sinister? Yet this is the very thing that has been burning inside of me the past months. Joy is not a feeling we get when every thing is going well for us, or going as we had planned for them to go. Joy. What is joy? How do we find joy? What is the source of joy? How do we keep our joy in the face of troubles? Is joy dependent on good circumstances? Are joy and happiness the same thing? Can we experience joy but not happiness at the same time? Can we experience happiness and not joy? Many questions that hopefully we will begin to understand the answers better as we go along. I hope that you will join me to explore this topic further. I would also like your comments and thoughts on the subject or experiences that you have gone through that brought you to joy even in hard times.
Let me leave you with this for today. James 1:2-4,12
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
This scripture puts us in the drivers seat to find joy or not. It says trouble will come and it is up to us to let that trouble be an opportunity for joy. Evidently it is our outlook on these troubles and how we react that determines if we find joy or not.
I think this is enough for one day on such a heavy subject. Let me know what you think and what your experiences have been. Hopefully, we will be able to help one another on this journey that is to be joyfilled and not sorrow filled.
Have a great day and do something kind for someone else today who perhaps doesn't deserve that kindness but deep down longs for it. Life is hard we don't have to make it harder. I love you all and hope to hear from you.