Dear Friends & Family,
It’s been a while. And it’s seems we are still in C-Land or in my case C-C-Land! There have been some difficult bumps in my journey – some bad news but some good news – & I’ve realized it’s hard to communicate when going through this. Please know I’m doing well, I feel supported by family & friends, & I have dear ones looking out of me here. But I thank you so much for your continued prayers through the thick & thin. I know I need them, & I so appreciate them.
LOCKED IN – I think we all set out thinking the corona virus restrictions & lockdown would be short. So I thought, “Sure, I can do a few weeks by myself – I’m an introvert. I can concentrate fully on my treatments & health!” Sadly, in South Africa we weren’t allowed to exercise outside until May, & then only for a couple hours per day – I live in an apartment with no outdoor space so this wasn’t helpful. Going to the grocery store was what I most looked forward to, as I could only leave the house for the essentials: doctor, bank, etc. Our lockdown in South Africa was one of the strictest in the world.
BACK PAIN – During lockdown, I began to experience bad back pain. At first, I didn’t think much of it because of chronic back issues. But it grew worse & wrapped around to my sternum. The pain was severe, & my mobility & sleep were greatly limited. It was difficult to find a chiropractor open & who would take me during lockdown, but that only brought minor relief. I also have scoliosis so I should have regular adjustments to help me. Thankfully, I’m now on pain meds, which help so much.
THE BAD NEWS – From the time of the cancer diagnosis until several months after, there was no tumor growth. In February at the clinic, even the blood supply to & within the tumor was decreasing & stopping – that’s movement in the right direction. However, then I thought the tumor was growing. I looked for a doctor (I have regular checkups with my doctors in Mexico, but I hadn’t found a local doctor before lockdown) & so that I could have blood tests & scans that I need often. I found an integrative cancer doctor & an oncologist. Sadly, the tumor was growing & cancer spreading fast, & after trying several things that didn’t stop the cancer growth, I started a chemo drug. Along with that, I’m doing natural treatments, which boost my immune system (because chemo destroys the immune system) & also kill cancer stem cells. Chemo (& radiation) do not kill cancer stem cells, but these cells circulate through the body & can start cancer in a new area so it’s important to address them. During that week of bad news, I was inspired to write this two part poem “Grey-Blue & Partake.” I believe it shows that God met me in the difficulty.
THE GOOD NEWS – I have some side effects from the drugs, but these could be worse. And I’m pretty tired. In a normal world, I have to limit my exposure to people as I’m considered immunocompromised & even more so in this COVID era. But the good news is that the cancer has started responding to treatments so far & is decreasing – Thank the Lord! Please pray for continued healing & great health through it all! Expenses for my healing are high. If you feel lead to donate specifically for my health, please go to shannonmintz.com/givecancer/.
Recently, I read an email devotion by Anthony Evans that encouraged me (below excerpt “Redefining Rest” from Unexpected Places):
“That’s my hope: that God had to shut me down to expand my capacity and prepare me for a new season of growth, whether it’s in my career or my spirit or both. That’s what I pray as I sit alone in my living room while my mind fights anxious thoughts.
In the Bible, wisdom and revelation often come from places of silence and rest. God rested from His work. Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to be still. Why do we not value rest? Especially in ministry? Why do we always think more is better? The power isn’t always in pushing through. Sometimes it’s in the rest.
‘When you recover from this injury, you are going to have to readjust the way you do work and life,’ Dr. Gupta warned. ‘You will have to redefine what normal is for you.’
One cool thing about God is He shows us so much about life through circumstances. Even bad ones. Especially the bad ones. That’s what the Word means by ‘everything works together for the good.’ Good and bad — both teach us.”
“In returning & rest you shall be saved. In quietness & in trust shall be your strength.” ~ Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)
I’ve had so much to walk through, process, & care for so I haven’t had energy or capacity for much else – I hope you can understand. And I may not understand this season until hindsight or heaven, but I’m resting to heal. I’m doing what I need to & what I best know to do right now. I’m praying – for this world, the people I know, doctors & fellow cancer journeyers… There’s a world in hurt – you or your family may be hurting, but I know the God with an abundance of HOPE, & He’s given each of us a purpose in our families, communities, & domains. And something I’m learning in the midst of all the questions & unknowns is that
My level of well-being does not detract from my testimony. Whether that’s health, suffering, etc. I still have a testimony.
I’m not talking about our salvation testimony so much, but our continuing testimonies, our right now testimony – Today, God is working in your life & that is something to testify about, to live out.
I hope you are encouraged. Thank you so much for all your prayers & support. I am so blessed by you.