Now I understand why people say they are "battling" cancer. Every day is a fight. There is always some physical, mental, or spiritual war going on inside.
The physical effects are never ending. Just as one ailment heals, another one rears its ugly head. The fatigue is always there. I cannot figure out the balance between sitting idle all the time and remaining active. If I rest too long, my body aches. If I am too active, my body aches. I can't find my new normal. I hear the advice of experts in my head: "Go about your normal activity." or "Don't push yourself too hard." The irony of it all is that I was functioning just fine before I went to the doctor. I was an active mama managing all the things that come along with moving to a new city. Then 1 visit to the ER changed everything. Now here I am feeling sick everyday, attempting to push through the "yuck" in order to be some sort of wife and mom. It really stinks that the medicine that will save my life has to make me so sick.
Feeling so bad has led me to think about people who deal with chronic illness like lupus, MS, and fibromyalgia. Fighting pain and fatigue is part of their everyday. To those of you who are suffering: I am so sorry for your pain.
I keep thinking about children and adults with severe special needs. Before this, I naively never thought about how they were feeling physical. My focus was always on the things they couldn't do like run or feed themselves or speak. I assumed that because they were born with their conditions that they were just used to it and knew nothing different. But they deal with pain and discomfort EVERY DAY! Suffering is a part of their normal. To those of you with special needs: I am so sorry for your pain.
In the moments that I am feeling decent, the mental battle tends to kick in. I start thinking about the "what ifs." What if this treatment doesn't work? What if I have to go through a more aggressive treatment? What if the treatment works but then the cancer comes back? Whew. The "what if game" is a quick way to crazy town. I try to shut it down as quickly as possible.
And spiritually...the temptation to ask "Why me, God?" is always there. But God did something really cool for me in the hospital which has kept me from going down the "why me" path. When the cancer diagnosis was confirmed, I had a very vivid image of God handing me this cancer in the palm of His hand. I felt such a tremendous peace that this was all in His control. He had ordained this for me at this time. It definitely is not what I would have asked Him for, but I knew that it was no mistake. There was such a profound comfort in knowing that His hand was all over this illness and that it was no accident. His presence was so real in those moments.
I am reading A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada. She became a quadriplegic at the age of 16 in a diving accident. She was 60 years old when she wrote this book, and was battling severe chronic pain. She knows suffering. I look forward to sharing with you her thoughts on God and the mystery of suffering.
But now, it is time for some ice cream.