Thursday, March 27, 2014

How I react to the word : CANCER.....because I am a survivor.

I am a breast cancer survivor.  My cancer was caught early and I "over treated" it to be sure it would not come back. I hate cancer and I hate what it does to people physically, financially, and mentally.
Entire families are shaken to their core when someone they love is diagnosed with cancer.  It is a surreal feeling especially if you are feeling well as I was.  How can this be?  NOT ME! My first reaction was, "My kids will lose their mother again" (I have adopted kids so they suffer that loss from their biological mom)

Words I used to describe the feeling of being told you have cancer:
  • helpless
  • angry
  • scared
  • broken
  • sad
  • despair    
A week or so later, after learning the treatment plan I felt determined and ready to fight.
I had major surgery with a long recovery as well as chemotherapy.  Not nearly as bad as some who need radiation and multiple surgeries.  I had it easy -- but it was HARD.

Everyone in the family was suffering in one way or another.  My husband felt completely unable to help me.  My children were fearful for my life and even scared by my lack of hair. It was as if we were living in a slow motion horror film and the spotlights were on us.  When you have NO hair - the spotlight is on you.  Everyone looks at you with pity and seems to think you are on death's door.  I got tired of always reassuring everyone I was OK.  It was a big job but I was in charge of everyone else's opinion of me by how I acted and looked.

Like I said, I had it easy.  One surgery with double mastectomy and complete reconstruction of both breasts.  I never had the pain of going through months without "them".  It still is hard though as I see my self in the mirror daily with large 5" scars and no aureolas.  (They must take the full aureola when doing a mastectomy)  I'm sad I look different but on the outside I look "normal".

I was never scared I was going to die.  I knew I had a constant companion in the Lord and I knew He would get me through every second of the pain, fatigue, nausea, and heartache.  I lost a little piece of me hearing that I had cancer.  It was the innocent piece of me that always says, "not me" or "not my family".   It WAS me and it was MY FAMILY.  

I gained something, too, though--- a closer relationship with my Father in Heaven.  I had to lean on Him.  I had to rely on His strength even on the good days of treatment. I'm so thankful He was present for me and I knew He loved me and cared how I was doing.  Daily conversations took place and I knew He listened.  My faith was solid and no 6 letter word could have shaken it.

My reaction to someone who says they have cancer (or their loved one has cancer) is different now that I am a survivor.  If I know they have a relationship with Jesus Christ then I know they have Him and they have hope.  If they don't know Him, then they need to and I take it upon myself to witness of His mercy and tender care during my cancer.  I am sad for them - I hurt for them - I know what they are facing and I am sorry they have to go through it.  Its HARD. 

You will never be the same in many ways if you have had cancer -- I have never felt fully myself since my treatment.  I took the drug Tamoxifen for 1 year and 9 months after my last chemotherapy.  It is an important drug for breast cancer survivors.  I was supposed to take it for five years.  It debilitated me.  I was in such pain I could not make it thru a day without joint pain and my legs and arms throbbing from pain.  How was I supposed to live my life with such awful pain day in and day out?  I finally gave it to the Lord.  I asked Him for protection from recurrence of the cancer.  It was one of the most freeing days of my life.  I gave it to God.

I am now three years, one month and 25 days since my last chemotherapy treatment.  (technically the end of treatment and the beginning of being cancer free).  Yes, I know the days and months and years.
Cancer does that to you.  I am victorious and, yet, still a prisoner to cancer.  It may come back.  Maybe.  If it does --  Ill be ready with my Savior by my side.  Ready to fight the battle again.

So, to you that are walking this path or may walk this path - I say to you:

 Fear nothing.  Allow Christ to be the center of your battle.
You will never be the same physically but spiritually you will never be closer to the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Kelly this is what I needed today! Hugs!