It was December and the world around me was busily preparing for Christmas, but I felt totally alone. I was not alone in the sense no one was with me, but alone in that I was the one with cancer and not them. My husband was right there by my side, but yet it was my life that was in question, not his. He stated he wished he could fight this battle for me, but it was mine to fight. At that point I asked God, “why me”, but then my next thought was, “why not me?” What made me so special that I should be exempt from this trial? The Lord gives and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
My feelings of being in a bad dream and denial were slowly being replaced by a reluctant acceptance of this is the way things were going to be. This is my “new normal.” Things that were of great importance to me yesterday, no longer were. In a sense, life had stopped for me.
My world had now become one of doctors and hospitals as I had a bone marrow biopsy and various scans to determine what stage my cancer was in. They say the time between diagnosis and prognosis is one of high anxiety. It was. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin when I had to see my doctor to receive the test results. After what seemed like an eternity, I heard the words from his mouth that I was between stage 1-2. My cancer was localized and had not spread to other parts of my body. Praise God! He commented that he was surprised it wasn’t elsewhere. But I knew otherwise, as I saw it as an answer to prayer and God’s mercy upon me. I truly believe the prayers of the saints got me through that appointment as I had many people praying for me. God’s grace was sufficient in my time of need.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NASB)
Those early days after diagnosis were filled with many emotions including fear and sadness. I was fearful of the unknown or the “what ifs”, fearful of the chemotherapy and what this poison would do to my body. I was fearful of dying, leaving behind my family, not knowing my grandchildren. My son and wife were expecting a baby girl in March and I wanted to be there and hold her in my arms. I felt great sadness just thinking about leaving them. Bruce and I shed many tears and had our times of “meltdowns.” Our rule became only one meltdown a day. I remember telling Bruce that I didn’t think I would ever be happy again.
I was also experiencing a lot of anxiety. I had difficulty eating and sleeping. I was losing weight and Bruce was concerned if my body would be strong enough to undergo chemo. Waves of anxiety would come upon me at unexpected times. When the anxiety hit, I felt like it was telling me, “don’t forget, you have cancer and this is now the reality of your life.”
So how did I begin to cope with this new reality? Join me next month for part 3.