A Definition of Fear That’s New to me


Image result for oncology jokes

Next Monday, 10/31,  I have an appointment with my oncologist and will find out when chemo is to start (probably next week or the week after I guess).  Yesterday I went for an evaluation of an axillary contracture and lymphedema which has developed in my chest. Since surgery a month ago I’ve been daily doing post op exercises and proactively using the affected arm to reach with, etc hoping to avoid complications like this. Apparently I have extensive, deep scarring (beyond the incision) which is causing puckering , major indentations,  restriction of movement, shortening of muscles,  fluid collection, a burning sensation because of nerve involvement, and pulling when I stretch. Yikes-a-roozy on that unwanted  list! It feels like a great big bummer that I wish didn’t happen.  I begin the process of therapy today and am hoping this brings great relief to  a chest which honestly kind of feels miserable at times.



Yesterday my friend Mardi shared a definition of fear  that’s new to me on our way with Robin to a wonderful, healing arts cancer support group. I’ve been attending  “Victory” http://victorysupportgroup.org/ once a month over the last several years. We sing, dance, talk, do a variety of art forms, have laughter therapy, and a bunch of other fun stuff.  The meetings are a source of creative stress relief/ learning new coping skills, and encouragement.  Last night we “stomped all over cancer” with Anne’s adapted, improved version with new, cancer fightin’ words to this other rendition of “These Boots Were Made for Walking” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuOwXiEm_K4  It was empowering and we had a good time together.


F alse

E vidence

A ppearing

R eal


Neato, huh?  Mardi also told me about the results of a study that I just  looked up that was summarized  at ww.huffingtonpost.com/don-joseph-goewey-/85-of-what-we-worry-about_b_8028368.html.  The article quotes,  “It turns out that 85 % of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.”



I have been anxious about and really dreading the 12 weekly chemo treatments that will be starting in November and at the same time I’ve been thinking about how I really don’t want to waste my time worrying about and dreading anything that God has allowed  for a good purpose.   Honestly,  I am having a hard time shaking the thought that I have a dozen times ahead, each a week apart to hook up to a kind of “toxic poison” that’ll be directly inserted in the port I have that is in a major blood vessel in my chest.  I’ll get another drug, Herceptin, every three weeks for a year to address the aggressive Her2 neu component of the “Triple Positive” breast cancer that I have again.  This is considered a “Second Primary” cancer and not metastasis.  Thankfully it has not spread to other parts of my body



Instead of dwelling ahead of time on how terrible oncology drugs are with their potential side effects and how yukky they can make you feel,  I want to view chemo as a short term season of eradicating any remaining cancer; a temporary healing measure that is going to do me a whole lot of good instead of thinking of it as poison.  I had chemo in 2011 and I have every reason to believe that’ll be effective again.  There are medications available for side effects when/if they happen. God has made the human body wonderfully resilient.  Soooo…out with trepidation!  Out with worrying and being anxious about chemo!   This might possibly be in the 97% of  my “nothing to worry about quota”.  If indeed it happens to be in the 3% of things worth worrying about after all,  God will help me through.   My scaredy cat tendencies are peeking out.  Can you please join me in asking  God to help me  with my perspective on the cancer treatment ahead, fill me with strength, faith, joy, and hope and give me all the courage I need, when I need it ?



I am reading an interesting book (Thanks for the loan, Nita!) called  “Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without it” by Tripp.  Here is a quote that is an encouragement to me in this area of perspective:


“Knowing Christ lives in us makes it possible for us to get up in the morning when circumstances are hard…We don’t have to fear what things we’ll have to deal with that are just around the corner.  Our rest is not to be found in our understanding of everything in our lives or the sense that we have what it takes to face our trials.  CHRIST is our rest, hope, courage, and motivation.  Because of His amazing grace and His presence now living inside us, we are never alone, never left to live inside thee boundaries of our own resources.”

Philippians 4:6  (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


Philippians 4:6  (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.


Philippians 4:6(AMP)

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.


Philippians 4:6-7 (Msg)

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.


“When a thought of anxiety comes knocking on the door of your mind you must refuse it entrance. If you invite it in, it will have dinner with you, and if it has dinner with you it will quickly move in and want to spend the night.”

Safe and secure wrapped up snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug  in God’s loving Arms,

Paula 🙂



19 thoughts on “A Definition of Fear That’s New to me

  1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Paula !! I’ve been really wrestling,these past few weeks too!! Praying and love you, Sue. Underneath are the everlasting arms !!


  2. Paula your strength and fortitude never fails to astound me. Keep pushing forward and lean back when you need to! He has you! xoxo


  3. Praying for your perspective on the cancer treatment ahead, praying that you will be filled with strength, faith, joy, and hope and have all the courage you need, when you need it……


  4. Loved the quote, Paula. That one stood out to me too because I realized that when I worried about this or that happening, it was with the sense of, “How will I ever be able to handle it if it does?” And somehow, in the midst of my worrying, I tend to look at the imagined situation as if it all would depend on me to handle it. As if God would abandon me to handle something hard in my own strength! Never! It is so comforting to be able to take each fear to the Lord and thank Him that if it does happen, He will be with me and help me through it. I will never have to face anything alone and neither will you Paula! Thank you for your testimony and the reminder of that great quote. Nita


  5. This is something a friend shared with me from a book she was reading over the summer. Worry and anxiety over the future affects our bodies physically. I love how science often shows the wisdom of God’s commands.
    Love you, Paula!
    “The expectation of an event causes the same set of complex neurons to fire as though the event was actually taking place, triggering a cascade of events in the nervous system that leads to a whole host of real emotional and physical consequences.” from The Happiness Advantage. This is a psychological study of people who excel and seem happy in stressful, overwhelming circumstances. Basically, fully expecting something to happen produces all the same emotions and physical reactions as if the event actually happens. To repeat: We can fully experience all of the same anxiety and depression about an event JUST by expecting it to happen. I’m wondering how much grief I have caused myself over the years worried/expecting the worst to happen. Even if the worst does happen, I don’t need to experience it all weeks ahead of time. No wonder I’m exhausted. This guy has amazing research to back up his claims, astounding!


  6. I don’t have any profound words for you like those writers before me.
    You must “hang tough” and remember that you have a strong mind and body to fight, fight, fight!!!


  7. As a daughter of the King, may you realize today that you have come to a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, you shall not be moved from the pathways He has established for you. You shall reign with Christ and will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

    We LOVE YOU! and Fight in prayer alongside you.


  8. Paula, I don’t know how you do it. You encourage ME as you share from your heart! I have often had to cling to the very verses you shared, Phil. 4:6-7 are heart verses. I wish that there was a way in this life to avoid these Deep Waters and Fiery Trials, but they push us to places where we are forced to cling to the only HOPE we have. I am so thankful that we have the Everlasting Arms. And I pray that those arms will surround you today in a very special way. Praying for you.


  9. Thanks for all the good, encouraging words.
    See what God is doing? ‘Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you…Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.’ The plan is working. 🙂


  10. Psalm 27:10 KJV.. praying in Indiana for you and your family. ( sidebar, unrelated question: do you have any hummingbirds in your yard in central FL? ) Donna


  11. Paula –
    Your words are so beautiful – such amazing grace under fire as you share with us all your truth and wisdom and concerns on such a palpable level.
    From first meeting you I was struck with your STRENGTH, your COMMITMENT, your LOVE OF GOD THRU CHRIST and YOUR AMAZING TRUST!
    I hear it all as I read aloud your writings.
    My first thought about your facing chemo was the clear message of how your strength of BODY/MIND brought you through chemo the first time. Use that strength as a reminder of having that advanced knowledge to your benefit NOW.
    Perhaps a look at a daily reading book from MARIANNE WILLIAMSON called A YEAR OF MIRACLES might be of some help in addition to all your daily devotions.
    I picture you resting in a rocking chair listening to beautiful music as you contemplate your blessed resilience and your gratefulness for all you have to see you through this next part of your HEALING JOURNEY.
    The chemo will take you and your family into the SEASON OF THANKSGIVING – and with it, a time of a renewed and special kind of gratitude.


  12. Reading everyone’s replies reminds me of what a marvelously personal God we have. He is right there caring about each of us as though we are the only one He has to care about. The one who knows me most loves me best!!!!! Yeah!!!!! He is with you. What a precious thought. I would love to be with you during chemo and minister to you as a sister. BUT though I can’t He who knows so much better than I will be and He will know just the right dose of comfort and encouragement as well as healing to measure out for your need. He really is awesome.Love you Paula


  13. You’ve got 15 people right here praying for you, and I know this is just a few of the total group. But no matter how many of us there are, our God is more powerful that we can imagine and he knows your every need and is already there, to sit with you through your first chemo appointment. Darrell’s sessions were about 3 hours long, 3 days a week, and he always got in a good nap. The lazy boy type chairs were comfortable, he said. There were strict rules that that NO visitors could sit in the empty ones. I got a lot of hand quilting done, in a hard straight chair. 🙂 Praying that your surgery pains will go away with your therapy sessions. It only seems “fair” to get over one thing before you have to begin another.


  14. Paula, your willingness to trust that God “has this”shows all of us how close you are to Him. When we stay close He will always take those fears on His shoulders cause He can carry all our burdens. You’re on the right track, just stay there!


  15. Thanks dear friends and family for all the encouragement. I really, really appreciate your prayers and support. THANK YOU! Donna, I am trying to make our yard appealing to the birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds so they’ll hang out here So far the hummers are not impressed with my “potluck” plant offerings.. I saw one flit by briefly a long time ago. 🙂


  16. Thank you, Paula! Your words and the ones you shared from others are so timely for me. I go to Mayo tomorrow for week-long testing that could potentially give us answers but could also bring a lot of pain and incredible discomfort. I’m going there alone this time and my anxiety about it all is trying so hard to take over my thoughts. Your words today straightened out my thinking and truth pushed back the lies. I’m clinging to the One who knows and can comfort me best if all! Bless you for your outlook, honesty and vulnerability!


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