It has been over four months since I have written in this blog. So much has happened in that seemingly brief period. In May I underwent a serious surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. This operation removed part of my pancreas, stomach, and intestines, and all of my gall bladder. As much as I miss my little bits, I am happy to say that all of the cancer was removed and recent tests found no other cancers. What a joy and what a relief! I began chemotherapy a few weeks ago to address any little microscopic cancer cells that may be hiding out. My experiences with chemo are an entire other story and at some point in this blog I will share. For now, I just want to report that I am surviving pancreatic cancer and stand anchored in a place of deep gratitude and praise to God. I need, however, to also share the wonder of love that helped me reach this place and stand solidly rooted in a position of love and comfort, knowing that God is active and powerful and faithful. They say every test is an opportunity for a testimony. This health challenge has been an invaluable opportunity to journey deeper into my relationship with God and the power of love that upholds creation today.
When this whole cancer thing began, I was at once numb and terrified. In fact, I am still sometimes not sure what to feel from one day, one hour or one moment to the next. All I really know is that something happened to make my life take a radical turn onto a road I never dreamed would be part of my journey. With my head spinning and my soul melting, I did the only thing I knew to do. I reached out to friends and family and asked for their help in the form of positive energy, prayers, and presence whenever possible. It is to all of you – family and friends both close and distant – that today I extend my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude. Thanks you for loving me through this time in my life. With humility I say to each of you that I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you.
My greatest and most profound lesson and the core of my testimony today comes from the realization of how very big God is and of how love crosses all boundaries to manifest God’s presence and action in our lives and in our world. From the beginning of this saga in my life people have prayed for me. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill group of friends who get together for spiritual intercession when tragedy strikes. I’m talking about a diverse group of individuals who heard that I was facing a daunting challenge and stepped up and out to petition God in whatever manifestation they envisioned, asking that Being, that Presence to reach out and extend healing to my life. I call that prayer. Muslims and Buddhists and Christians and Jews and Hindus all prayed for me. People who believe God is female and people who believe the God is found in the sun or the moon or is represented in rats and snakes all prayed for me. Homophobic people who believe my sexuality is an abomination prayed for me because they realized love transcends whatever narrow teachings about sin and sexuality they had been taught. Baptists and Pentecostals and recovering and practicing Roman Catholics and Lutherans and Apostolic and Sanctified and New Age and Alternative folks all prayed for me. I even received a note from a friend telling me she was raised by atheists and still identifies as one telling me that she hoped there was a God so I could be healed. Now that’s some kind of love!! And there were more who prayed whom had no formal affiliation to any religious dogma but were deeply connected to a powerful spirituality grounded in love and respect for human life. Some prayers were momentary thoughts or simple one liners spoken from time to time whenever I crossed their minds. Heal her. Keep her safe. Protect her. Touch the doctors and people who work to keep her alive. Give her the strength to deal. Others were the complex and compound musings of those whose prayers continuously resound throughout the universe, petitioning God in any and all situations. Regardless of how or when or to Whom, all of those prayers found their way to one another and formed a mighty cloud of protection and healing around my life and for this I am so very grateful. Through it all I came to understand in a new way that God is bigger than the small categories we construct to contain and control how love shows up in the world. I am so humbled by it all.
This blog began as a way to communicate life’s experiences as a living testimony to the wonder of God in my life in the past, present, and future. It is my intention to return to these pages as frequently as my health and strength allow so that I can give voice to the beauty of life as it flutters around me. I have learned so much these past few months; my hope is that others will be encouraged to celebrate their lives as I share my experiences. For right now, however, I just want to once again say thank you to all of the many people who prayed for me however you prayed. Know that God continues to be faithful and your prayers were answered. I am back and getting better and stronger and more hopeful each day. Thanks you all so very much!
Renee McCoy is a writer, anthropologist, preacher, and artist living in Seattle, Washington. Her life has been focused on bringing the good news of God's unconditional love to others and working to support and encourage others to celebrate the wonder of being created in God's image. At the core of her soul is the unwavering belief that we are all remarkable individuals who come together to support one another as we journey to wholeness and the fulfillment of our unique purposes in this life.