Reality sets in

There’s some interesting realities about a cancer diagnosis that I never realized would happen. When we first got the news, I truly felt like, “Ok, I got this. Just a bump in the road. I’m gonna beat this with a positive attitude and upbeat spirit! Wooo!!” And while I try to remain as positive as possible through this, there are the day to day realities of cancer that keep pulling me back to a place of realism rather than my initial idealism.

1. Ok, like I said, at first I found it really easy to be upbeat. But I think I was still a little in denial. I mean, I had this big scary diagnosis, but for the most part I felt fine and I still looked normal and, well, nothing seemed different. Then came the surgery, and all the words being thrown around were decidedly un-cancery (yes, I made that up. Deal with it! Haha). The words were “parotid”, “lymph nodes”, “flap”, “swelling”, things like that. And now, all that has changed. There’s words like “chemo” and “prognosis” and “recurrence” being the main points of conversation. Yikes. As easy as it was at first to be happy and fun at my appointments, now I often find myself fighting back tears. This just got real. Ok, I know, wah wah wah!! My point is just that, the deeper we go into this, the harder it is to keep the eternally positive attitude. I did not at first realize how hard the day by day, hour by hour,  sometimes minute by minute thought process of constantly choosing hope and positivity is. Constantly. It is not something that flows naturally, at least not for me anymore. But I think that’s ok. What I’m gaining is wisdom and perspective, and it’s pretty neat. I am so comforted by Hillsong’s Oceans, “You call me out upon the water. The great unknown, where feet may fail. And there I find You in the mystery, in oceans deep, my faith will stand.” This song blows me away. I sometimes wonder if the person who wrote it was going through something similar to me because it really speaks to me on a special level. This process can be a bit much at times.

2. By the end of this, I feel like I will make a great oncologist!! Of course I’m joking, but in all seriousness, if you walk in there knowing nothing (like I did), you get a crash course in a very complicated thing. Cancer is crazy and hard to understand, and every doctor tries to explain everything. Which of course is great! But it’s a bit overwhelming. My brain never fully came back after having the kids, so it is a struggle to try to keep info in. You may be asking, why don’t you write it all down? This brings me to my next point.

3. I have given up!! Not in any important sense, but in the trying to understand part and the being diligent about writing everything down and whatnot. It’s too much. There’s too many appointments and too many doctors. I am at the point where I’m just showing up, letting them do whatever, then biding my time til the next appointment. I don’t know anything about how people typically deal with this stuff, but it’s too much to think about, so I’m just trying to remember what I need to know so I can keep people up to date and answer basic questions. That’s all. I’m not researching anything, I’m not checking google images anymore, I’m just leaving it to the experts.

4. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on the mission! I know God wants me to go through this for whatever reason. It’s really hard not to overthink this aspect of it. What if I mess these opportunities up? I had become very used to a comfortable and predictable (for the most part) ministry life through church. After almost 6 years in youth ministry, I felt like I had that somewhat under control. I am prepared for the things the teens may ask or may be facing. With this, I am constantly worried I am going to miss opportunities to show love to people because I’m so caught up in myself and will drop the ball somehow. This is not “relatioship based” the way teen ministry is. That’s my favorite part! Getting to know the teens and building relationships with them. And, not to brag, but the teens at our church have a long history of being super amazing 🙂 So, now that I go to Philly all the time, I feel like God wants me to do something there. I just haven’t figured out what yet. As many people (doctors, receptionists, nurses, techs, other patients, etc) as I have seen there, you hardly ever see the same people twice. Maybe I’m giving this all too much thought, but I believe that God’s purpose in this is real and I want to find what it is and to Him be the glory! So yeah, if I could just figure that out….

5. And now the hardest part so far: this is starting to affect my kids. This is where I get emotional. Up until recently, I felt like I was able to keep the two things very seperate. There was my home life and my cancer life. That’s why the kids didn’t show up in this blog much, there was a distinct and intentional disconnect. But the two are increasingly intersecting and I fear I soon won’t be able to shelter my kids from this anyore. If you don’t already know, we have a one year old daughter and a three year old son. Every parent thinks their kids are the sweetest, cutest, and funniest kids on the planet. And who am I to break that proud tradition? (; Our kids are the best. And my mama bear instinct is to shield them from this. But kids are sensitive, and they know something is up. Our son has regressed in potty training and cries and thrashes sometimes at night, presumably nightmares. Maybe it’s not related, but something tells me it is. Our daughter is super clingy to me. Maybe she would have been anyway, but it’s hard not to attribute some of it to all this. There have been no “talks” with them. Our son knows that mommy goes to the doctor a lot (I’m not going to lie to him), but of course we haven’t tried to tell him anything beyond that. But maybe subconsciously he is putting some things together, even of it’s no more than that things just aren’t the quite same anymore. Now that radiation is soon starting, I worry things will only get harder on them. Luckily, there is no shortage of people who love these kids and want the best for them, so when I can’t physically be there, there is a loving family member stepping up and taking great care of them

This post is not meant to come across whiny or like I’m complaining, cuz I’m really not. There are amazing and beautiful blessings that are evident in every aspect of this. I was just finding these things very interesting and surprising, especially some of my thoughts and reactions to things. As someone who finds the human psyche fascinating, I am intrigued by my own reactions. I guess you really never do know how you will react until you go through something. I am super curious about how other people deal with these things (feel free to comment and let me know!!) And there are definitely people that have it worse! Like, way worse. Of course, it’s not a competition or anything, but it helps me to keep that in mind.

Anyway, I’ll stop blabbing cuz this is getting long. I feel like this has come across negative, so to lighten things up, here’s a pic of Buck and Mater begging for food (:



14 thoughts on “Reality sets in

  1. All I can say is hang in there! Either my sister or my husband or both came with me to all my appointments. My husband did an awesome job with keeping notes. I ended up creating a pretty notebook that houses all my cancer info including insurance/payment info. That was one thing I could control during my cancer experience. But at some point you do surrender and go with the flow. And remember to take care of yourself! That was one of my big lessons. Let other people take care of you by bringing you food, cleaning your house, etc. This is about you getting better and staying strong. God will present you with those opportunities to reach out to others. The waiting room is a great place to connect. I’ve found that people going through the cancer experience like to trade stories. You might only see some of those people once but by offering a listening ear, a kind word, and hope you’ve given them a lot.

  2. Hey Kim,
    In response to #4…you have your mission and purpose already, to glorify God and enjoy him forever! You may or may not know every person that you have blessed or been used by God but that’s the great relief that God is in control and working in those hearts that you come across, even if it’s only once in their life. So don’t stress about the details but continue to glorify the Lord and talk freely of his Greatness to everyone you come in contact with!

    Also, thanks for being so truthful and making me laugh in your posts…Adrielle loved the picture of Bucky and Mater as she started pointing and squealing when she saw it. 🙂

  3. I don’t find what you have said one bit “Whining”. I think there is no “right” way to handle what you are going through. Everyone is different and I feel it is really ok to not be positive all the time. This is a sad thing, and I feel you are handling it very well. I hope if I ever have to face what you are I can handle it in a similar way.

  4. Hey Kim, thanks for being so candid about your feelings, fears, etc. What you are expressing is the “normal” progression of life in the yucky lane. I have been a nurse for many years, mostly dealing with the difficult part of post cancer treatment. There is a grieving process that accompanies what you are going through. So what you are expressing is very much expected, although will be unique to you as the individual you are – pretty amazing. I find that when we, who are called to shine a light for Him, are very much challenged in life. Can be physically, emotionally, financially, whatever. You are right. He works through all these circumstances to refine and make us shine. No matter where you go or who you meet, people will naturally see that you have something special. Your friends Amy and Amber have summed it up well. The Lord will take care of ALL YOUR NEEDS as you simply go from one moment to the next, one appointment after another, treatment after treatment – living one moment at a time in His Grace!
    I am wondering about what kind of support they, being the medical community is offering you through the hospital or cancer treatment center. Usually they offer social work and support people to assist you with all the emotional and basic needs as you are expressing. Check it out. It may be time to get connected that way. I would love to talk with you some time. Call if you feel lead to. I am a friend to your in-law parents and the Parish Nurse at Eph Naz. We are all praying for all of your family. Char Snyder 945-3003.

    1. Hey thanks so much Char! You are so sweet and encouraging and I appreciate it so much! I do have a social worker assigned to me but probably won’t get to meet him or her til next week. Thanks so much for your kindness 🙂

  5. kim,
    you are not whinning, you have no idea how many lives you might be touching by sharing . God is in control and Im sure he is pleased with you trusting him,leaning on him for strength. he sees your tears,feels your pain and carrying you while you need carrying the most, love your spirit, keep trusting

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