The pain was nothing like as bad as I expected. The worse time of the day was when the Physiotherapist paid me a visit.
“Dr. Prinsloo again!” She showed her disapproval the first time she looked at my sling. “This only makes for massive problems when you try to move your arm later on. Unfortunately we can’t discard the sling, but please move your arm as much as you can.” Move my arm? She had to be joking. She would release the strap for a few minutes, and do a few passive exercises. The pain! Again I gave grateful thanks to the Lord for my volatile surgeon, whom no one would voluntarily cross—and I gave thanks for the sling which kept my arm frozen in position. If I'd only known . . . I would have made more of an effort to follow the physiotherapist's instructions.
I wish I could list all the Scriptures I received at this time. I wish I could share all the wonderful things the Lord said to me. If He said anything specific, I have forgotten it. However throughout that week I was constantly aware of His presence and His guiding hand. Little things, like Beulah, the Jewess, spoke to me of His amazing love. I'm sure there were a number of available Reach for Recovery volunteers, but the Lord sent me one of His own race.
I tried to read my Bible often, but usually gave up in frustration. The drugs coupled with the clumsiness of being one-armed, made reading my big Bible difficult. I contented myself with reading the small booklets and numerous cards I received from many visitors.
I prayed, but only a loving Father would have understood. My words were often jumbled, incoherent. Somehow I just didn’t know how to pray. I found that the one thing I could still do was praise. And so I praised. I praised Him for my life, and my family. I praised Him for the removal of the monster, which I now thought of as Goliath. All day long I found more reasons to praise Him. The more I praised Him, the closer I drew to Him. I asked myself, for the first of many times, How do people cope with cancer without the Lord?
Somehow it never occurred to me to say, “Why me, Lord?” If anyone had to have Breast Cancer, why not me? At least I had the Lord to rely upon.
Throughout this period I learned to appreciate the small things. I learned how much I was loved. People really cared. The visits, the cards, the flowers; they all meant so much.
The cards that I received were wonderful. As a keen stamper I had made thousands of cards over the past few years, and taught many people how to stamp. How it thrilled me to receive hand-stamped cards. I knew how much time had gone into making them. Some were elaborate and beautiful. They took hours of love to create. Others were simple, but made especially for me. People had given up their time to make something—just because they cared for me.
I had been brought up to believe that for a gift to really mean something, it had to cost money. Where did this idea come from? The smallest, hand-made card meant as much to me, if not more, than the most expensive bought card. The simple words, 'We love you, we are praying' meant as much as the beautiful expansive words of Helen Steiner Rice. 'Wishing you a speedy recovery', encouraged me; the sender expected me to recover! My most treasured card came all the way from hot steamy Venezuela. A simple, home-made card, stained with tears. 'Mum—we love you, and we’re praying.'