The truth is, I’ve been putting off this post for almost a week now. And while I typically like to be upbeat and try to be somewhat humorous, I’m not thinking this post will go there. So if you’re looking for a laugh or some inspiration, this probably won’t be the post where you will find that. I’m sure this won’t be my most liked, shared, commented on post, but I couldn’t care less. I am trying to figure out how I feel about things, specifically being on the receiving end of a miracle so I’m hoping through a kind of “stream-of-consciousness” writing that I can stumble upon some answers.
If you’re new to my blog, I’ll just say we got some news on Tuesday about the course of my cancer that we just didn’t see coming. As in, at this point, there isn’t any sign of active cancer in my body. At stage 4 melanoma with mets in my brain, bone, and lungs, this was a complete shock, we were bracing for the worst. In keeping with being totally and brutally honest, I was just trying to get through this Christmas. So now I have this glorious extension, this amazing second chance. And I should be jumping up and down, shouting, and celebrating, right? You’d think. Unfortunately, I just haven’t felt like that. To be honest, I spent all of Tuesday night crying. All night, no exaggeration. Every time I thought I was done, I would start to feel guilty that I wasn’t “happy”, and the tears would start flowing all over again. All logic and common sense would say, “Be happy”, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Trust me, if you think I’m crazy, I agree haha.
Was it the pd-1 drug I’m getting? Was it a miracle? I like to think both. I know God’s hand is in this, because I’ve asked for it to be. I’ve asked Him to lead this in whatever way He chooses, even if that means a shorter life than what I feel like I might “deserve”. But my father-in-law gave me some great perspective when he said, “say you live 30 years? 50 years? 90 years? What is any of that in light of eternity?” So true. And I needed to hear that. So, in case you were wondering, here is a non-comprehensive list of why I feel like I can’t just let go and “celebrate” this:
1. I don’t want to misrepresent God or how He works. It’s not God’s job to make sure I’m happy, it’s God’s job to help me become holy. God is not a genie up in heaven waiting to grant our wishes. My fear was that people would hear about this, and knowing how bad my cancer was, get a wrong idea about who God is. If I’m granted an extension here, there is a purpose in it. And I think that’s what’s bugging me more than anything, because I don’t know what that purpose is yet exactly.
2. I don’t want to misrepresent our purpose. God never promised any of us a long, healthy life full of wealth, prosperity, and comfort. In fact, most of the New Testament seems to be trying to keep us from such destructive thinking. Since Jesus came and offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sin, we should look at things differently. Our lives should look different as believers. Show me where Jesus said otherwise and I’ll change my mind, but until then I’ll try to keep a perspective that I believe would please God. Jesus told us to be heaven-minded and to be willing to give up everything we have to follow Him. Jesus reminded us that persecution was something to be expected. Paul reminds us constantly that physical suffering is just a part of the plan! Jesus did not come so that when we are feeling blue we’ll get a pat on the back and a dose of “hang in there” inspiration, He died that souls may be saved and once we make the commitment to follow Him, that is our purpose. There is no amount of watered-down, sugar-coated, Osteen-style false preaching that can change that. Being a Christian is simple, just say yes. Accept it. But it is certainly not easy, and that’s by design.
3. I don’t want to misrepresent my cancer. I am still stage 4 and still considered terminal. What this drug can give me is time. Melanoma is a very serious cancer in its later stages and I don’t want anyone to be mislead into thinking I’m cured. The only one who can do that is God.
And, while we are on track with being brutally honest, I’ve never asked Him for complete healing. How could I? All I want is for His will to be done in my life, the only purpose or satisfaction I’ve found in this life has come from knowing Him and serving Him so why would I ask Him for something that may not be a part of the plan? Everything that I want to stay here for, the only reasons I have for wanting to stay here on this earth are the people who I don’t want to leave. But I have asked/demanded/begged that no matter what happens to me, that these people (mainly my kids) would come to Him and accept His amazing gift of salvation, and so on that end I trust that that will happen. He will do what it takes to get through to them. And so I can rest easy on that end.
4. It’s forcing me to reevaluate my purpose/cause. Please excuse me if this sounds odd, but I had, what I thought, was a pretty clear timeline for how things would flow from here on out. I didn’t see a lot of wiggle room. I’m a procrastinator at heart, so let’s just say I work better on a timeline. Now things are open-ended, and I just need a little time to adjust to that. From going to just trying to focus on getting through this Christmas to the thought that I may even be around for the next one? That’s pretty mind-blowing. I mean, this is real life, my life, it’s not a movie or a book. I can’t just react how I think I should, that would be pretending, and that’s something I’m not ready to do.
5. I’m scared. I’m scared for when/if this cancer comes raging back. Once that happens, we now have nothing in our arsenal to fight it. I am to get this chemo, without stopping, every three weeks for the rest of my life. No matter what. So once it doesn’t “work” anymore, I’m left with nothing. Nothing to try medically that could be of any help. And well, that’s pretty scary.
6. I don’t want to lose this intimacy I’ve gained with God. I worry that if God were ever to completely heal me that I would lose this insane and amazing intimacy that I’ve grown into within the last few months (almost a year now! October 24th will be my one year cancer-versary lol). I fear that I would go back to my self-serving life that I had before, and although my salvation was secured 7 years ago, I wouldn’t trade this journey, and the resulting closeness with God, for the world, truly. My husband and kids know that I love them with my whole heart and though I have some issues with leaving them, God is quick to calm me down there. He gives me such a peace. He is so good.
7. What if I mess this up? Ok, I know I said that I don’t think this reprieve is conditional, but I feel like I need to use this, just like I try to use everything else. I don’t care if it only lasts 6 months, it’s another chance. An extension. A reminder that God is so good and loves us so completely. There’s a chance I could screw this up, and I really, really don’t want to.
8. I feel guilty. There was a beautiful and phenomenal local girl that just passed away from cancer at the age of 17. Why do I “deserve” this, but she didn’t? Ya know? I know that’s not how it works, but I feel guilty proclaiming this miracle while her family is just trying to grieve an unimaginable loss and learn how to adjust to a life without her physical presence. She shined a light so bright for Jesus, and my hope is to somehow do the same.
We all have our coping mechanisms, right? Mine, I’ve come to find, is overthinking and oversharing in the hopes that someone else out there might be helped by my situation. But the great thing is, Eric and I have an amazing support group that is able to celebrate this miracle and shout it from the rooftops, as God does deserve glory for this. But on the same token, my fear is that people will think God is somehow bad or unfair when/if my cancer rears it’s head again. My oncologist said usually it’s months before that would happen, and that’s super exciting! But I’ve never asked God or demanded healing. If it’s His will, it will happen, I have no doubt of that. But if it’s not, He is just as good if I die from this as He was if He would have chosen to heal me. I trust that He knows what’s best for the situation. He knows that the cry of my heart is for those closest to me to come to Christ, and I have faith that He will make that happen, whether I’m here to see it or not.
So I feel the need to apologize to those who have reached out to me in that last week or so. In trying to figure this out, I didn’t want to be fake and pretend to be more excited than I really was, so I kinda sorta avoided people. I am excited, truthfully, but with a lot of things holding me back from really accepting this amazing gift graciously. Writing this helped me clear up my mind and I’m sorry if you read all the way through haha, you’re probably bored to tears! This is what I needed though and now I feel that I could actually maybe celebrate this news. Ok, so where’s the cake??? 😉