Archive for the ‘Breast Cancer’ Category


A few weeks ago a kindred spirited friend, Shari—who loves many of the English poets whom I love—mentioned Milton’s sonnet On His Blindness.  I responded with a whopping “YES!”  I hadn’t read that sonnet for years, but I still recalled the poignant last line:  “They also serve who only stand and wait.”  I thanked Shari for the déjà vue, and that evening I located my beautiful antique volume of John Milton’s poems.  Here is the sonnet, followed by an explanation of why it has meant so much to me in recent weeks:

On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

John Milton
As many of you know, our daughter-in-law, Rosemary, is facing a stand off with breast cancer.  The first post-op reports were encouraging, but complications have been discovered and both chemo and radiation will be needed.  For certain, 15 years ago (and perhaps as recently as 6!) I would have been on a Denver-bound plane—probably more than one time, to help Rosemary, our son, Karl, and their family during the difficult days ahead.  Sometimes physical issues ramp up so gradually, I had to mentally pinch myself to realize that NO—I probably should no longer travel “to help out”.  
I cannot “Hoover” (as they say in England) my own carpets, let alone someone else’s.  Fatigue often renders me useless for purposes other than reading, blogging, knitting, writing letters, or painting after 6:00 p. m.  My 82 year old husband and I are so attached to each other that leaving him alone (even in the company of a sweet Pembroke Welsh corgi) might break my heart (or his, or both)! 
We have an amazingly energetic daughter, Debbie, who loves to travel, loves her brother and his family (just as I do), and is incredibly deft at helping most anyone, anywhere!  Debbie has already been to Denver once since Rosemary’s surgery 2 weeks ago, and may quite possibly return!  Thus the re-reading (again and again) of On His Blindness ministered powerfully to my soul which had been considerably troubled by the realization that I’d no longer be flying to Denver, to help out. 
“They also serve who only stand and wait.”  And while I stand (sit or lie down) and wait, I pray!  I’m quite certain that Milton did that as well! 
Margaret L. Been, ©2013

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More Deep Fantasy

” . . . there should be no schism in the body, but the members should have the same care for one another.  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”  I Corinthians 12:25-27  (NKJV)

Since I first wrote asking for prayer for our daughter-in-law, Rosemary (who recently had a double mastectomy plus the first stage of reconstruction), the future course of action has changed.  Whereas we were rejoicing over the fact that no cancer had been found in the lymph nodes, as of last week one small cancer cell has appeared.  Consequently, Rosemary will need both chemo and radiation. 

Although the post-op pain continues, it has somewhat eased.  But the new findings mean many more challenges for Rosemary, as she receives treatment.  Your prayers are always welcome.  Thank you so much!  You readers are appreciated more than I can express! 

Margaret L. Been, 2013

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Boreal Summer Village 1

“Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.”  Isaiah 40:28  (NKJV)

Late in 2012, I posted an entry on this site, sharing about my Christmas miracle.  A couple of weeks later, I had another miracle:  two barium swallow x-rays showed a mass on my esophagus, but a subsequent endoscopy and CT scan showed NOTHING.  The mass had disappeared.  The gastroenterologist was greatly puzzled and his nurse said, “We simply cannot figure this out.”

I answered, that I could figure it out—it was a miracle.  Again our family rejoiced.  But the joy produced by these miracles has been tremendously shadowed by the recent discovery that a family member, our daughter-in-law Rosemary, does have cancer—and will soon undergo surgery.

When considering my own possibility of cancer, I had an over-abundance of that perfect peace which God promises Christian believers through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  But for Rosemary, I grieve.  Rosemary is forty-five years old.  She has a husband (our son, Karl) and two teen age sons.

I am seventy-nine years old.  But as old as we may be, and as “wise” as we would like to think we are, we are still human enough to plead with God.  I have been pleading, “Why Lord?  Why Rosemary instead of me?”

Of course I know that our Sovereign God is all-wise, all-perfect, all-everything!  He knows what He is about, and all of this has been known to Him since before the foundations of the world.  Praise God, Rosemary and her husband know that as well.  God used my miracles for His glory.  He will be glorified, and He will bless Rosemary through her experience as well.*

God’s understanding may be unsearchable to us, but He is Lord!!!

Margaret L. Been, ©2013

*Rosemary has an honest and valiant faith, and an upbeat desire to encourage others. If you would like to track with Rosemary’s journey, you can visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rosemarybeen  .

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