Two years ago I stepped into the waiting room of my Oncologists office to hear the results of my lung biopsy. A week prior two lesions had been found in my brain as well as a mass in my left lung. At this point, nothing had been deemed cancer, but I knew it was only a matter of time. As I waited for my whole world to change I did my best to distract myself in conversation with my husband, second parents and in-laws. Before long we were taken back where my doctor eventually made his way in to confirm all of our fears. We were dealing with Non-Small Cell Lung cancer and the next steps would include radiation to my brain and further testing of my biopsy to determine what treatments were possible. In a state of shock, there was one question that kept rolling around in my head. One that I wasn't even sure I wanted to know the answer to, but one that I knew I had to ask. Tearless I asked, was this terminal? The response I got was one I was not prepared for. That was yes, given that my cancer had progressed to Stage 4 we were looking at a terminal situation. My doctor proceeded to tell me how many can live up to two years like that was something I should be happy to have. Immediately the external strength I was showing collapsed to tears. Yet, internally I felt anger! I felt angry that anyone would tell me how long I should live. In my opinion that is solely up to God and quite frankly, my doctor had no idea what I had been through. That it was going to take more than a cancer diagnosis to break my spirits. Over the next month, I received 14 radiation treatments to my brain stem and worked through second opinions with my husband. Ultimately I made my way to a new doctor who gave me a fresh perspective. He looked at my cancer as one that was manageable. He gave me a prognosis that was much more positive and ultimately did not put a timeframe on my life.
Over the past two years, I have shaken the original prognosis my first Oncologist gave me, shaken the life expectancy the internet gave me, and even have shaken the fact that my current treatment will have its own end date. On the morning of January 3, 2021, I will have been a cancer patient for a full 731 days. Two years and one day, surpassing what was expected. Really it is fitting because whenever anyone tells me I can't do something I usually push to show them otherwise. This is what kept me from drinking in my earlier years and why I waited until marriage to have sex. This characteristic can also have its downfalls, but when it comes to cancer I am grateful for it. The year 2019 was one of the hardest in my life, but God had prepared me years prior when I dealt with the death of my mother and the abandonment of my father. He instilled confidence that if I could handle those things then I could handle cancer. Quickly I learned that my mindset in cancer was going to be what took away more than I could ever imagine or propel me into a better future. Thankfully I chose the latter and have only just begun to see the blessings cancer has brought into my life.
My desire is for others to look at 2020 in the same way. For me, this year was more of an inconvenience compared to years prior, but I also did not lose anyone close to me or become affected all that much financially. However, I can relate to a bank account at zero, to death, to depression, to a year of excitement shattered. Once I got through the woods the view from the top has always been worth the fight. Every day I wish my mother was here with me, I had a father who was proud of me, I could carry my own child and didn't have to accept that cancer is apart of my story. Reality can suck the life out of you if you let it. But instead chose to see the light, see the clearing in the darkness that is leading you to the views. I see the women (and men) who have stepped up to help relieve the loss of my mother, I see that I have a heavenly father who is proud of all that I have accomplished, I see that now I get to be blessed with other avenues to become a mother...less traditional, but I've always been one to take the less conventional road...and cancer, well, it has pushed me into making changes that I would have never put effort towards otherwise. I am better because of it! It takes work to shift your mindset, but I promise it is the best thing you could possibly do for yourself. It won't happen overnight, but be persistent - journal, seek counseling, open your bible, cry, get mad, heal and accept. This life journey is too precious to waste! Oh and if all else fails...tattoo your feelings! ;)
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." - Romans 8:18