You're back....but so am I!
One year ago today I had a mastectomy of my left breast. One year ago today started all the treatments...the surgery, then chemo, then radiation...of this cancer that was just supposed to be done with. My approach to my cancer was to get rid of it, do everything I could so that it didn't come back, and then work on making myself look normal again. I was going to deal with it, and then move on with my life as if I was never affected by cancer.
HA! to me!!!!!
You know some people get cancer and it is life changing for them. For me, it really wasn't. I just wanted to move on and forget about it. It's sad to say, but I didn't feel like I had learned any life lessons or learned to appreciate anything more than I did before cancer. I didn't feel any stronger; I didn't feel like I had some new lease on life. Although my faith and my relationship with God certainly did strengthen greatly, and I met a lot of wonderful and helpful people, but other than that, life was the same for me. And that's how I wanted it.
HA! to me!!!!!!!!
But I do believe that God was completely preparing me for what has come. I'm not going to get into a discussion of whether this was God's plan or the result of us living in a fallen world or the work of the Devil or just some fluke or what not. None of that really matters. My pastor did a great sermon a few weeks ago about whatever the cause of the suffering...it doesn't matter because God shows up in the midst of it. That He will be there no matter what you can count on. (You can actually listen to the sermon or watch the video here . Scroll down to 7/6/2008 to the sermon entitled Held by Greg Boyd. I highly encourage you to listen to it).
There were little things that helped prepare me for the return of the dreaded cancer. I had written on my July 25th post about my sudden newfound concern for cancer returning after reading a couple articles about it reoccurring in other people. And some of my friends can tell you that I was expressing this fear to them as well. So it was then, after about a month of really worrying about it, before I had any symptoms of my tumor, it was then that I made peace with myself about the cancer coming back. I still had that nagging feeling in the back of my mind, but I just prayed about it and just decided to be at peace with it.
I even wrote on Aug. 9th in the comments of a blogger Ann who had written about my situation on her blog here . I responded "Thank you for your very kind words. With my faith in the Lord, I really do feel like I have Someone else to help me through all this...literally pulling and pushing me along. Knowing that with Him, I really could face whatever was thrown at me. On a different note, I do believe that facing cancer is easier than the daily struggles we often face as moms...and the struggles are different for each mom. What an important job we have as mothers, and the ramifications of every decision we make, all affecting our childrens' futures, is sometimes very overwhelming to me! But aren't kids amazing...and so worth it!" My response to her was different than I probably would have responded even 2 weeks prior. One, I usually don't testify about God to people. It actually took a lot of effort for me to say to people that I was praying for them. I don't know why. If God was supposed to be Lord of my life, I certainly shouldn't be so shy to express that. Now I'm not an evangelist...I'm pretty sure that's not my calling. But I do feel that God was beginning to really work within me to really feel comfortable with my faith and expressing it better so that I could truly cope with what was to come.
Secondly, I noted in that comment above about kids being amazing and just worth it. Really, that is NOT something I would have said before. I mean, of course they're worth it, but I didn't always feel that way. I felt more frustrated by the "dailyness" of motherhood than actually enjoying it. Everything seemed like one big chore, and I wasn't enjoying any of it. But as I said, the Lord was preparing me. Because when I had that notion in my mind that the cancer could come back, something changed inside me. I suddenly started just enjoying my kids more. I stopped caring so much about trying to get the kitchen cleaned up right away after dinner and I started going outside with them and just hanging out. I started rocking Ella longer at night and just holding her and really feeling her joy. Even doing things like getting my kids breakfast when I really wanted to just be back in bed was actually enjoyable to me. I even came to the decision that I was not even going to look for another job to help satisfy that "I'm a teacher...I gotta teach and touch the minds of the future" craving that I have always had. For the first time ever, I must say that I was very content with not working and being able to stay home with my little ones. And as I said, this was BEFORE I knew about my brain tumor.
So God had certainly prepared me for when my tumor was found. Now I'm not saying that I was all happy and such. Of course I cried, and I was mad, and sad and frustrated and confused and defeated and a whole bunch of emotions all combined. But overall, now I can sincerely say that I'm at peace. I'm at peace knowing that all will be well. I'm at peace knowing that I have amazing people working on me and fighting with me and praying for me. I'm at peace with the fact that God will be there and hold me and my children and my husband. And at the end of it all, we will be winners.
And now one year after my original surgery, I must say HA to cancer. Because yeah, you're back. But so am I...and thanks to the Lord, I'm better than ever!