Fluffy By Colleen Armstrong

With an old Betty Crocker cookbook opened to the list of frosting recipes, I called out to my husband, “Do you know that Fluffy White Frosting is one of the few frosting recipes where boiling-hot water is required? Without it and lots of beating, you can’t achieve that fluffy stuff.”

“Oh, really?” was all he said.

I continued to think about that fluffy frosting. Why was it that boiling-hot water had to be used followed by an extended time of beating to make the frosting fluffy? It seemed to me that I, too, had endured boiling-hot water moments in my life, boiling-hot moments like cancer.

“Cancer, by definition, is a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.” Uncontrolled division of cells, everything about cancer seemed to fall under the label of uncontrollable. How could I know what to do? The treatment choices seemed absurd and guaranteed nothing. Doctors failed to agree on their approach. Who could I trust? Their differing opinions only brought me more unrest. How could hours of pumping bags of chemicals into my body after mutilating it through multiple surgeries be the best answer? How could not doing anything at all be the right answer? Would refusing all treatments be demonstrating my trust in God or was it suicide by cancer and not cherishing the gift of life He has given me?

I didn’t pray that the cancer be miraculously removed from my body, but that I would not disappoint God with any decision. I begged my Lord to point me in the right direction and stay with me, and that would be more than enough. But honestly, fear gripped me.

I knew of times in the Bible when God directed people in dreams. I could use some direction. I knew what lay in front of me was allowed by God. I knew He could bring great things out of the most miserable of situations. I trusted He would do just that, but I feared I might not understand the things that would be happening. As I had repeatedly prayed in my life, “Please, my dear Lord, don’t allow me to disappoint You as I have so many times in my life.” The following morning, I awoke with a dream vividly still on my mind. I read where “dreams are the brain’s attempt to make sense and a cohesive story out of randomly generated memories.” But there were no memories involved that would generate the dream I dreamed.

In the dream, I was led into a cancer treatment room. There was nothing in the room. Each of the four walls of the bare room were made of thick white Styrofoam. I curled up in a ball and pressed myself into a corner of the room.

At the same time, I was part of the medical team. I was the patient inside the room and part of the medical team outside the room, a scenario that is found only in dreams. The team surrounded the free-standing room with its Styrofoam walls. Each doctor held a rifle-style gun, an instrument of destruction, in their hands. I knew it was over for me. I was certainly going to die. Their chosen treatment, their bullets, would rip through the Styrofoam walls. With each gun pointed directly at me from the other side of the walls, I saw no way I would survive their actions. They successfully fired their loaded guns with precision.

But the Styrofoam walls didn’t fall. I looked closer and upon careful inspection, I saw the walls were not made of Styrofoam but of heavy white lumber. The bullets had failed to penetrate the heavy boards. I had survived their attack. I had survived their treatment though I was certain it was killing me.

I chose to have surgeries, chemotherapy, and other drug treatments. That was over seven years ago. Each of the three members of my support team, made up of other cancer survivors or patients, have since died. God has stayed with me throughout these years, more years than I had hoped to be granted. I survived the treatments though many times I still felt I was dying. But the treatments did buy me at least three healthy years following the end of the sickening treatments.

“And what do you hope to do with any remaining time that you might have?” people often inquired of me. I hope to slow down and stay on God’s wingtip as He takes me safely home. I hope to knock down the walls I erected during my life with the sledgehammer of forgiveness. I hope to allow God to carry the heavy stuff while I walk by His side. I hope to bring comfort to others and help them recognize God in their daily lives through my writing. I want to run with perseverance the race that lies before me. And maybe, just maybe, share a cupcake or two with my husband, piled high with fluffy white frosting, and beaten to perfection.


Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm

in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at

curtswarm@yahoo.com or visit his website at



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