Faith,  Life,  Reality

Cancer, Fuzzy Stuffed Dogs, and Slumber Parties

I have cancer.

I’m sorry to start with that, but I felt like I needed to say that out loud so to speak. I’ve had some revelations about my health this week. Some ideas are rattling around my mind about where it came from. (That’s been the major question that most everyone has asked.) One of my doctors and I both believe that we know, but I’m not making that announcement quite yet. Not until I have a handle on it myself. I know that may sound selfish but in the times I’ve shared it, I’ve dealt with some negative backlash from a few. Honestly, that surprised me even more than the cancer diagnosis itself did. I’ve even heard from some that I’m randomly grasping at straws in order not to have cancer. I’m really not. I have cancer. I know that. I know I need to make some big choices and decisions. So right now I can’t clutter the decisions with these other things. For right now, I’m focusing my efforts and time on the cancer, but when I’m ready, I will share. Promise. Whether I intended it or not, it seems that keeping this journey transparent and honest is what it’s going to be about.

Speaking of which, I don’t know if it was faith or sticking my head in the sand about it, but I honestly never expected that diagnosis. Who has cancer…of the TONGUE? How weird is that?? I was truly, deeply, stunned when the doctor told me.  I still have moments of wondering whether it’s a dream or not. I wonder if that will end? Okay – now you’ve seen firsthand the way my mind is wandering this week. There are moments it seems to really jump all over the place and not want to sit somewhere for too long. I can definitely understand. My body feels the same way.

So back to the topic…since I began telling people about it last week, I’ve been practically bathed in blessings and prayers and good wishes. I have days when I just sit and read through all of the beautiful comments and soak them in. I let them soothe the edges of the ‘cancer cancer cancer’ that’s rattling around in my brain. I read the emails and the texts and the comments again and again and I know that people are truly sharing their hearts. That overflows my own heart with such joy and peace that I hope it radiates to those around me through this journey as well.

I went to church this morning with an abundance of emotion. I was honored and blessed beyond measure to have my Pastor, John Hagee, anoint me and pray with me. For those who have seen him on television, he’s a fiery man of vision that has strong opinions and is not afraid to share them. For those who have met him, he radiates peace and grace in person. It was so wonderful to walk into his office this morning, be greeted with his smile, and have him pray those fiery passionate words of healing and life over me. I’m so thankful for his leadership, and this morning, his time, grace, and encouragement for not only me, but my family as well.

I was also worried that I’d be spending a large part of the morning talking about my cancer and I wasn’t ready to do that. But I had no idea that it would also be healing and freeing for me. Admitting it. Sharing my concerns, the prognosis, and talking about it opened up some more avenues for me. There’s something completely different between writing it and talking about it and that was a good lesson for me to learn.

Letting people love on me has been a new journey as well. I’m always happy to love on others and share goodness and peace where I can, but when it comes to accepting it? That can sometimes be different. I think that maybe there’s a struggle with pity in there somewhere? I don’t want people to pity me. But what I saw today wasn’t that. It was hurting for me. With me. Loving me the best way they can. That has been an amazing revelation for me too.

I could see some who hadn’t yet heard the news. They smiled and waved like normal. They didn’t have the heavy knowledge yet. I envied them that. In many ways I wish I still had that luxury. Was it only a week ago that I was out stringing yarn attached to Easter baskets all through my yard for my kids?? It seems years ago.

If you can believe it, the blessings have already begun to pour in on this. One of my clients shared my story with his family and asked them to pray. His son, knowing how often his father has spoken about me, wrote a long beautiful email back to his father about me and his prayers for me. Somehow, my journey piqued something in this man’s son and he shared my request with a woman at a church he’s been attending but not really plugged into yet. Her response was so open, honest, and encouraging that he’s decided perhaps it’s time to truly engage and really connect at this church. How awesome is that?

I have also heard from several people who are going to go to doctors or dentists for things they’ve been pushing aside and ignoring. Good. Don’t end up where I am. For the record, I’ve seen doctors for this same thing – but I’ve heard mixed responses. None of which were cancer. I’ve heard the sores in my mouth were stress, hormones, virus, illness….so though I didn’t ignore them, I did choose not to follow up and press ahead on other opinions. After all, they told me what I wanted to hear…why wouldn’t I?  But if you have a doubt – at all – don’t hesitate. Go. 

People have asked about my kids. It’s up and down with them. They all have moments where I can see it sitting heavily on them. None of them argue with me about holding my hand anymore. Or hugs or kisses. And it’s okay to sit with mom instead of my friends. I admit to selfishly being okay with that part of this.

My son has been the hard one for me. We’ve been sleeping in the game room downstairs together since my diagnosis. The evening after I told him, he tried to sleep but I could see it on his face every time I checked on him. He was lying there – eyes wide open – covers tucked up all the way under his chin – just thinking. I know that face because I’m sure mine mirrors it. He asked if I could sleep with him and I looked at his single twin bed and the floor strewn with toys and said I wasn’t sure if I should. Or could. There was no place. Then I mentioned being concerned that it might turn into an every night thing. When he looked at me with those big baby blues and said “What’s wrong with that? I just don’t want to be alone.” Indeed. What is wrong with that? So we tucked up sleeping bags, blankets and stuffed animals and set up a party in the game room. We’ve been sleeping there every night since and we’ve actually been doing well with that, he and I. We’re keeping each other company in the dark. It helps. His fuzzy stuffed dog with the big blue eyes that he insists I sleep with gives a measure of comfort too. 🙂

Tomorrow surgeon appointment. Tuesday Oncologist. Prayers still so deeply treasured and appreciated from all. Please don’t ever think I take them for granted. They are blessings to me.

So I’ve rambled a lot here. Not sure if you’ve even made it to the end of my mental meanderings. I’m really intending these blogs to help me during this time, but if you’re reading and they’ve helped you, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you and connect with you.

Let me leave you with a passage that’s been on my heart this week:

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous….Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1: 5-9