It’s been a week! The week I found out the carcinoid tumor I had removed has metastasized to my liver. The week I unintentionally offended two close family members. The week I updated another close family member on my diagnosis and never heard a word back. The week where I remembered the third anniversary of burying my daddy.
It was a week with the stress of a PET scan and our water heater dying. A week of feeling like I can’t talk about Covid or vaccines with people, because the feelings are too strong and diverse. It’s been a week of often feeling alone, even when I’ not.
I’m not sure who I should or shouldn’t to talk to about my cancer, or how much to say. Carcinoid is slow growing and there is a decent chance I could still live a long time, maybe, which I’m grateful for. But it’s still an unknown, new, scary thing for me. Still many other people have much worse problems, so I shouldn’t be upset and self-focused, right?
I want to be strong for my family. I want to honor God with my faith. And I’ve mostly felt His grace surrounding me and I’ve mostly rested in His peace, and I’m grateful. But this has been a week.
Cancer makes you face your mortality. And you start asking yourself big questions like… What have I done with my life? What am I doing now with my life? How much does my life matter?
It makes you look at your family through misty eyes of hope. Will I live to see our grandchildren grow up? If I don’t will they remember me? What will be their memories? Will they remember the cuddles and the cookies we baked together and the stories we read? Or will they just remember that time I scolded them and they cried?
And what about my dear, faithful husband? Will I end up being a burden to him? Or will I grow old with him? (Technically we already are old, but, you know, really old.) Will I live long enough to finally see him have as much gray hair as I’ve been coloring myself for years?
Will we attend our grandchildren’s graduations and weddings together someday, or will I be gone? And If I’m gone will he be sitting alone or will a new wife/grandma be next to him?
These aren’t the questions I bring up with my family. They are the ones that rattle around in my soul and poke me sometimes, and other times quietly mind their own business and leave me alone.
But you don’t have to have cancer to ask those questions. Not one of us knows the future. Cancer just brings up the questions with more sharpness. More clarity. More often.
Cancer makes relationships feel more precious. And makes offenses and separations feel harsher. More intense. More hurtful.
It makes me want to gather all my loved ones close, in this time of social distancing. I want to huddle up and squeeze in all the love and joy I can. I want them to know how loved and valued they are to me.
But I fail. And I make too many cloudy memories, instead of bright ones. And my heart hurts.
So, I’ll keep praying for God’s grace and peace. I’ll pray that He will guard my words and relationships. I’ll pray that he will give me eyes to see the blessings each day.
I’ll remember the beautiful flowers my daughter sent me the other week. I’ll remember the phone call my busy son made just to talk with me and hear how I’m processing all this. I’ll remember the other son who came by on a busy Saturday to pick up something and took the time to find me and sit by me and ask, “How are you doing, Mom?” And he looked concerned and listened.
I’ll thank God for my sweet husband who continually shows me his love and who I know cares profoundly and always.
I will keep seeking God and trust that He will guide me through all of this and work all things out for good. And I will pray to have a grateful heart. Even in the hard days and weeks.
It’s been a week of hard stuff. But there have been blessings too. That’s the way life is.
Tomorrow we get our new water heater! After a week of washing in cold water, or stopping to boil water, what a joy hot water will be! Yay!
And it reminds me how easy it is to take things for granted until I don’t have them. And to thank God when I do.