It’s been almost exactly two years since I began chemo. Five and a half years since the reoccurrence diagnosis. How time flies when...... Yeah, yeah. As has been obvious by my writings, I’ve had many, many ups and downs. Even though I’m pretty open about many of my down periods, I really only make public about 1/2, or maybe less, of the actuals lows I’ve experienced because I really don’t want to be a total downer to those who want to know what’s going on. I’ve been told that some people have a hard time reading what I write because it’s so honest. Oh well.... If you knew what went on in my mind, the words I’ve written wouldn’t seem so honest.
For instance...in my writings it appears as if I’m an extravert. GONG!!!...SO not true. I am incredibly awkward and quite dorky in large group settings and it doesn’t seem to matter if I know the people or not. I don’t know how to chit-chat or schmooz and I’m not charismatic. Just stating the obvious. What’s made an already awkward personality trait even worse is that I’ve chosen to become super public about my journey. Oxymoron or just moron? You decide!
Anyway, recently I was at a birthday party for my dad. There were about 70 people at the party and my mom told me that at least 93% of the people attending knew about me. I knew zilch about most of them. So, I was stared at and whispered about the ENTIRE evening. It was a precious party but I learned a lot about being the “diseased” one that night. I’ve been stared at while being pushed around in a wheel chair and given second glances while using a walking stick but nothing prepared me for the feelings I experienced that night. I do pretty well being the center of attention if I’m on a stage giving a speech, but it was horribly painful to walk through a room full of people being the unintended focal point. Especially because the looks on the faces I saw were that of pity. I DESPISE pity.
I learned a lot that night and sadly, it was so awkwardly painful that I was down for a good while afterward.
For instance number two...I’ve talked a lot about the physical pain I’m dealing with. It’s virtually non-stop and often the meds don’t really help. What I don’t talk much about is that ANY time I feel a new pain, I immediately assume it’s cancer. As an example, for several days now, I’ve had pain in my head. In my mind I begin believing that the pain is associated with new cancer spots and that I will once again experience the great and powerful Gamma Knife. Will this be checked out? For sure. But my point is that I can have gas pains and think that I have stomach cancer. If my knee begins to hurt, the cancer has spread to my knee joints. When an infection doesn’t heal as quickly as it once did, the cancer has spread to that area. Point gotten? The chronic pain/new pain is a huge downer and a huge cause of festering lies.
I could begin an entire new paragraph with the concerns I’ve had about radiation and pain pill side effects but I won’t. Or am I coughing because there’s cancer in my lungs or because I just needed to cough. Or is the hair in my comb excess loss or the normal amount for someone my age. Or, what about...
For instance number three...no matter how much I understand what I’m experiencing and no matter who says otherwise, I have MASSIVE guilt about the ways I’ve failed my boys and my husband during this journey. Most specifically the last two years. There have been many days when I have not been able to get out of bed. The boys are left to parent themselves (until Reed comes home) and to make sure Elijah doesn’t destroy all that comes in his path. I know they will all survive from this but I get huge joy from being a mom so this crushes me on so many levels. I also know that all moms suffer from “mom guilt” but this is my version of it. My reality of this failure has caused an immense amount of grief for me. Plus, it’s time I can never get back. It’s an awful feeling.
But I would have to say the biggest downer of the moment is that I’ve lost my focus on the person who’s gotten me through everything up until this day...Jesus. As the cancer has refused to leave my body, my ability to believe in the promise of complete healing becomes harder and harder. I’ve lost focus and literally feel like I’m on life support doing what it takes to survive each day. I am numb in so many ways but mostly I’ve become numb spiritually. I believe this is a part of my “life support/survival mode”...a defense mechanism if you will.
This journey has had many, many highs and lows and I am emotionally exhausted. I have inadvertently “protected” myself by going numb. Being numb protects me from feeling the emotions of the extremes. Unfortunately, this defense mechanism affects all aspects of my life. So, between the numbness, the constant fatigue, the chronic pain, and the frustration of dealing with this for SOOOO long my focus on God has been derailed.
Tonight I believe the promise but there have been many, many days when I’m lying in bed tormented by pain, nausea and flat out lies that I’ve wished I was in Heaven.
I have been broken in so many ways during this journey and have experienced an abundance of powerful emotional healing so it’s definitely not all bad but the reality is, there is no date of completion for me. No end in sight. This fact alone makes waking up each day and getting out of bed a challenge. Sometimes it’s just hard to face the day. I am not down tonight and am not intentionally being morbid. Just giving another picture into the day-to-day of my life. I hope you will understand.
Numbness is great for surgery but I really want to feel again. I know I will someday because every once in a while, God puts someone literally in my path that, just by the sight of them, I tear up with emotion. I know that if I speak to them for too long, I will cry. This happened this morning. I quickly said “hello” to this person in the halls of church, gave him a hug and a brief update, and then told him to get a complete update from Reed. I KNEW that if I stayed and talked with him, I would be a tearful mess and I just couldn’t go there in such a public place.
And I also know I will feel someday because, ALL WEEK, God has been telling me that “I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.” Psalm 118:17 NLT
I must believe...
Ps...On a totally different and somewhat silly note, if you’ve signed up to receive my blog updates via email, please make sure you reply to the confirmation email which may have been sent to your junk email. If you don't, you will not receive them. Thanks so much.