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Friday, August 19, 2011

I Hate Cancer


It's 4:00 a.m. & I can't sleep.
This is new to me.  Sleep never eludes me, it has always just come.
 I realize what a blessing this is.

Fall is coming.
I find myself in a funk.
This, too, is new to me.
Usually come fall I find renewed energy in the routine that it brings.

I remember spring.  The spring in my step.  Why am I falling back this fall?
I am falling back instead of springing ahead.
I hate the discouragement this realization brings.

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? {Psalm 43:5a}

Why am I so downcast?
Why the discouragement?
What to do about it?

I need to sort it out, so I write.

My diagnosis 1- year anniversary is coming up--August 31.
I should celebrate that I am here.  Instead, I mourn what was.
The 'ongoing-ness' of this reality is something I need to accept.

I pictured being done with it all by fall, actually, by summer!
Instead, the treatment brings on complications that keep me visiting doctors on a much too- regular basis.
Cysts, keloids, insane hormone levels. 
Implants that won't stay put, requiring another slicing into this already so scarred body of mine.

I hate cancer.

Decisions need to be made.  I grasp for wisdom.  I search for answers.
I find few, for I am in a "special" category.
Very few studies are done on women my age.  Premenopausal.
There is much unknown.
Doctors give me homework to read up on, to help our decisions.
This research forces my eyes to face the stark statistics of my "Stage 3, 6 cm. tumor, with lymph node involvement" cancer.

50/50.

I have a 50/50 chance I will be alive in 10 years.  I did find a statistic that said 60/40.  I liked that one better.

I am 34.

Some days I feel so young, in my 20's.  These days, I feel old. This past year has aged me, I feel like an old soul.

I want to live into my 80's!
I want grandchildren.
I want wrinkles & crows feet & sagging & cellulite!

Despite wanting cellulite-ha- I need to exercise.
All summer I said, "come fall I will exercise.  I must, for it cuts chance of recurrence"

I take an hour walk, but then have to recover the next day.
A 2 hour nap in the morning and a 2 hour nap in the late afternoon.
The fatigue is incredible, all from a simple walk!
The only thing that brings on this type of fatigue for me is exercise, but I am told it is the best treatment for fatigue.

I do simple pilates for strength and the same day my arm wakes me up, aching in the night.
Will exercise bring on lymphedema?
I dig out my granny compression sleeve, my pout goes even deeper as I put it on.
Its tightness squeezes the motivation right out of me.

And then, there is the subject of money.
I hesitate to talk about it so publicly, it feels tacky.
Yet, it was a talk about money that caused the rest of my dominoes to fall, sending this crushing discouragement.

He gently tells me, "Our monthly expenses are so much higher now due to your health issues.  We need to find areas to cut"

We search the monthly budget numbers and start cutting, my anger at cancer growing with each snip.
I cry.  I feel guilty.  I feel bad that my tears make him feel bad.

Youngest daughters piano lessons--snip.
A date night a month-snip.
Family tradition outings.  My most loved coming up, the pumpkin patch--snip.
The idea of a gym membership for me--snip.
Our dream of Disney before the kids get too old for it--snip

Even as I write this I feel ashamed.
It is all so shallow.

We have shelter, a beautiful home.
We have health insurance--a luxury.  So many in my boat don't.
We have food and water.  I think of mothers in Africa this very minute walking miles with limp children in search of a drink.  Could you imagine?

I know these things.  Yet I am still frustrated.
I think the emotions come from knowing its my needs, due to this dumb disease, that is causing all the trimming.

I hate cancer.

Fall also brings a much anticipated cancer support group, meeting 3 hours a week for 3 months!
It starts September 1st.
It is put on by St. Elizabeth Hospital, my home away from home.

I am excited.  I know a few of the women that will be attending, and I know of others and their stories.
Excited, but apprehensive. I  know this group will bring me into an intimate friendship with those whom I could lose.

Am I brave enough?

Some are living through what is my worst nightmare.  Reccurence.
I've read their stories, their story started as mine.
Stage 3, large tumor, lymph node involvement.
The treatment was exactly mine.
And now, a few years later, they are a Stage 5, cancer spreading to bones, to lungs.
Will that, too, be my story?
My heart breaks for them in reading their stories.
I marvel at the strength and joy I see in these women.
Despite the statistics they face daily, they smile at me.

A reminder that I need to find mine.

I don't want to fall this fall.
I want to thrive, survive and live fully!!

I know what to do to get out of this fall funk,
I  know I will, for "He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it." {Philippians 1:6}

I know it is a matter of processing, (thank you for allowing me) and then a "throwing off everything that hinders and entangles, and running with perseverance the race marked out for me." {Hebrews 12:1}

All the while, "being still and knowing that He is God" {Psalm 46:10}, and "remembering His good works of the past" {Psalm 77:11} and of now.  I must list the gifts, exchanging my negative, falling thoughts for steady, thankful truth.

And when it is all I can do, I know that I have a safe place to lean hard into, even fall into, this fall.
He is my Hope, so I will.

"Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise Him again, my Savior and my God!" {Psalm 43:5}






20 comments:

  1. you are beautiful, strong and so dearly loved. thanks for sharing from your heart. love you so much, i will continue to be a prayer warrior as your continue to fight so many areas. praying for unexpected financial blessings, encouragement, fellowship, energy, and motivation. you are not alone, you have sooo many on your side, most of all the God of all creation is your fortress, shelter, strong tower.

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  2. I've stumbled across your blog quite randomly from your hulling strawberries tip via pintrest via someone else. I'm so sorry that you're going through what you are and I can offer you nothing except my prayers. I know that they are something you need so I offer them gladly.

    your newest follower
    Samantha xx

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  3. God bless you. If I wasn't swamped with med bills myself, I'd like to send you to that pumpkin patch.

    Your honesty and courage are so raw and beautiful. I hope this fall brings you happiness and energy.

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  4. Oh, Amy! Thank you for your honesty. It gives a glimpse into what life with cancer is like for those of us who have family members experiencing it right now. I just prayed for you as I read this post - specifically that your spirit would be encouraged and that you would NOT have a recurrence. Keep clinging to the promises of God's Word!!

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  5. Suzanne Slater Miller8/19/11, 8:48 AM

    Amy, your candid sharing is amazing. I pray that writing it did help you process. I am praying for you and Todd and all that is before you. You've given me a glimpse into what reality is for you and others who have suffered through this after the surgery is over. So much more happens...even if the road is "smooth" for recovery. It is a long battle on every level. My prayers are with you. I had my routine mammo last month and was called back for a spot check on my right breast. they did 7 more views and then an US. It was unsettling to say the least. As best they can tell things are fine but I'll go back in 6 months to make sure there aren't any changes. Just the teeny tiniest glimpse into what you went through a year ago. Praying God's Almighty Presence and Peace to overflow within you today. And that you are comforted in His hands. Blessings, Suzanne (Slater) Miller - from VCG

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  6. God bless your beautiful, struggling heart. By the time you read this, you will probably have come to a greater peace, since you wrote it to find that - and you turn so often to Scripture. It is a blessing to see how closely you listen to God, and find comfort in Him. He is faithful, walking every step of the way beside you, no matter what. No matter what comes, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

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  7. I am hurting with you, just reading this. I don't comment here much- I mostly just read and enjoy. I found your blog just after you were diagnosed and I must admit that I was a little disappointed. I have read other women's blogs who suddenly stopped posting. Life changes and they stopped. I was afraid you would stop, or your tone would change.
    The truth is that I have taken a great deal of strength from this blog over the last year. You aren't always suzy sunshine, but you always come back to what matters. You're always honest, and that matters.
    I read this blog because I am a mom with two small children and another on the way. It is infinitely encouraging to me to see how you are dealing with Life. Each stage is hard, and we have to make sacrifices of ourselves and our desires and even the things we sometimes need.
    I pray for you. I know that God is walking beside you, just the same way he walks beside me.

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  8. My heart and prayers go out to you Amy. I hate that I take things such as my health for granted and my only excuse to not go out and take a walk is because I don't feel like it. I'm sorry you are going through all of this. I know I'm not going through anything like you are going through, but I do know the weariness a diognosis and didorder can cause in a family and am gladly here for you if you need to talk or anything at all.

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  9. Oh Amy, I read this and wept. My heart breaks for you. I am mad. I too hate cancer. And even though I don't know you personally, I hate what it is doing to you, your body, your family. I am praying. Praying hard that the Great Physician will bring healing to your body. He is the miracle working God and I am praying for nothing less for you. And while you wait, may He continue to wrap you in His loving arms and carry you when you cannot walk another step. May He pour His ever sufficient grace over you. May He strengthen you, your husband and your childrens you walk throught this valley. And may He rain down proivsion from Heaven over you so that you might enjoy a few of these things you had to snip.

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  10. So unfair. Why does life deal people these blows? I think venting is good. Share when you need to and we will all learn from your path. Prayers for you my dear.

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  11. Amy. I love that you are so honest and candid in your posts! I pray for you and your health and your family and your finances. I know God will bring you out of the "funk" and you can enjoy fall with your girls! Everyone needs to vent. I love you!

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  12. After reading this post and before writing this comment, I asked God to bless you with good health for always. I don't know you personally but I feel connected. I had tears in my eyes while I read the list of things you guys have to cut down on. I wept like a little girl when I saw your picture in the 'About Me' section. You are so beautiful, Amy. You have to promise all of us that you'll keep smiling and face the tough times courageously. And I promise you that we'll remember you in our prayers. I understand that what you are going through is very difficult and I cannot even imagine your pain but you have to be strong for your family. There is so much going on in my mind right now but I fail to write.

    Take good care of yourself.

    Loads of love and best wishes.

    -Tanya

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  13. Amy. As I sit here in my bedroom in Australia I am thinking of you. Reading you honest and beautiful post I share your anger, your frustration and your tears. And the worst bit? There is nothing I can do. But think of you and pray for you that your story will be unlike the women you talked about.
    My mum is just recovering from chemo for ovarian cancer, my dad after 10 years still feels the fatigue of his chemo for prostate cancer...it is a subject too close to my heart. My thoughts and very best wishes are with you, online and offline I do think of you.
    xo Simone

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  14. It's been commented already, your honesty is what draws us. I can't imagine being in your place, but I've had other losses, other nights when grief kept me awake and wouldn't let my mind stop. I pray you get victory over the funk and don't let the devil win. He's a rotten coward and you have the victory. I know my words don't really help, but my prayers do. So you've got that....praying now, and later, and after that... Lisa~

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  15. If only I had a magic wand to make it all go away for you. I would wave it and wave it until you were whole and happy and free of pain and sadness. Please know that you are in my heart. I get so much from your blog. I'm so glad that I recently found you. Keep the faith. If the power of all the prayers being said for you together work, you will be better by fall. Fall is also my favorite time. I will be thinking about you everyday.

    xo Linda

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  16. YOU ARE AMAZING!! I am inspired.


    Patricia

    (I am a FB Friend of your Aunt Susi - we don't "know" in other in real life, but somehow I saw her post last year, asking for prayers for you. We have been FB Friends ever since. This is only the second time she listed your full name on FB - only the second time I read your blog).

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  17. • Amy,
    • After reading this post on your blog, I realized the importance of telling you how much you have inspired me to follow my passion. You, in all honesty, helped my find my passion! I stumbled onto your space on the World Wide Web and a light came on inside of me! You were and still are posting about topics that are of great interest to me. I have made in my kitchen many of the recipes you have posted, went onto websites to print pages off for my girls to color and create with, the list goes on.....I have been a follower of yours for a long time now! When I read you were diagnosed with cancer, I took that journey with you, virtually. I shed tears for you and your family and sent you many healing thoughts and energy. I am so glad you are cancer-free and sad at the emotional roller coaster it has been for you and continues to be. You are a true source of strength and inspiration for me. We also have many similarities, our philosophy on eating well and healthy, gaining knowledge on health and beauty products we put on our bodies, great recipes and parenting our children. Another similarity is that my dad is from Nebraska too! I always thought that was funny...I would talk to my dad about your posts and sometimes would say to him, "Dad, you know, the girl whose blog I follow and is from Nebraska!" He would instantly remember :) Anyway, something inside me told me to write to you and let you know, you have changed me for the better and inspired me to start my own blog, Eco-Amie! I just wanted you to know. I felt the low you were in as you wrote this post and wanted you to know that in your lowest point, you are still touching people and making a difference in other's lives. Keep on keeping on - you are a light to me and it has been my privilege finding you and following you on your blog.

    Peace.
    Amie McKey

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  18. I just realized that if you click the Eco-Amie link attached to the above message, you will find my blog that is in the process of being set up. Currently, I blog on Facebook and hope to transition to Blogger in the near future and post on facebook through Blogger. :)

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  19. Over here tonight... checking on you. I just had my one year anniversary yesterday. A day of many mixed emotions. I'm not surprised by anything you've written here. I've experienced many of these feelings. I truly think there is an element of post-traumatic stress disorder with our disease--like being dropped off after war. Where are the tools we need to deal with this?

    I try not to linger on my odds. Some days it's all I can do to just get through them.

    I love you friend, and am praying for you tonight.

    peace~elaine

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  20. I just found your blog, and found the battle you are going through. Actually I don't know your recent status but I hope everything is going all right.I just want to say that you are a woman with great strength and faith. I am astounded by the fact, that you don't question God and the plans He has for you. I wish to have faith like yours. I pray that everything is going all right and that God heals you from this cancer. God bless you and your family. I know He will supply you with all your physical, monetary,and spiritual needs because you put all your trust in Him. I wish the best and God bless you again. :) <3

    P.S Thank you for sharing with us your journey and experiences. You have showed me the things cancer patients have to go through that I have never imagined. I knew a few things but you have taught me so much more. It helps people understand what cancer really is and how strong cancer patients really are.

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Thank you so much for your lovely words to me! Due to the number of comments I receive, I cannot respond to all of them - but know that I read and love every word. If you have a question in need of a response, please e-mail sponsornewnostalgia@gmail.com and either Robyn or I will get back to you.