I Made a Mistake {Life After Cancer}

I made a mistake. Actually, I have made a series of mistakes lately. I don't really remember the order in which I made these mistakes, nor does any one mistake have greater importance than the others– at least not that I'm aware of at the moment. Life after cancer treatment has issues all its own…

 

life after cancer
 

I'm going to let you in on these mistakes…
 

Sunday night I watched The Fault in Our Stars. Big mistake. And I started it around 12:30 a.m. Even bigger mistake. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful movie. I super loved Augustus and Hazel Grace. The thing is that the topic hits too close to home. If you haven't seen the movie, Hazel and Augustus have cancer; in fact, it is terminal cancer. Hazel's cancer started as thyroid cancer. Did I say it hit close to home?
 

Between the terminal cancer, the touching story of friendship, and the beauty of the romance of a lifetime, I was crying and laughing and crying some more until 3:30 a.m. {after a couple of bathroom and snack breaks}. Needless to say, morning came much too quickly. And I woke dreaming of cancer treatments. Yeah, that was maybe a mistake for me.
 

Another recent mistake I made– but one that I'm kinda happy I made– was clicking over to Kara Tippets blog, Mundane Faithfulness, when a friend shared one of her posts on Facebook. Kara's is a beautiful God story full of the realities of cancer as well as finding grace in the journey. She and I have several things in common, including cancer, Indiana, being pastor's wives, having a heart for church planting, being people persons, and a sincere love for Lyle Lovett and His Big Band.
 

Her story has drawn me in. In some ways I see my own story in hers. I love her openness and transparency. The mistake for me– if there really is one– is that the hardest parts of her story make my mind wander to questions that I don't want to entertain. We are very hopeful that they cut all the cancer out of my neck. It's not necessarily common for medullary thyroid cancer to recur when treated at stage 1. But it's possible. Her story reminds me, then I have to remind myself that God is trustworthy… Oh, so trustworthy.
 

Perhaps one of my biggest mistakes of late was joining a few Facebook support groups for medullary thyroid cancer. I read the stories of the group members, and my heart quickens. I have to remind myself that it is not me in that place. My God is trustworthy… and full of mercy. He plucked me out of that scary place that I could have been in had we not found the cancer in my neck when we did. I read their stories, and I weep. And I intercede for these strangers who feel like close friends because of this bond we share. I now know far more than I care to know about medullary thyroid cancer, and I pray that I never, ever need that knowledge. And then I try to forget it all so that this knowledge I do not want does not lead my heart to a place of fear.
 

The last 6 months have been quite a journey. A journey for my body, for my soul, and for my mind. I feel so much different than I have in a decade or so. And I mean that in the very best way.
 

But I've been quiet.
 

Sure, I've shared updates and prayer requests on my personal Facebook profile, but I haven't really shared much of my heart. I have so many things that I have learned, so many things that are a new normal for me and my family, so many things that come with a post-cancer life that I never knew existed…
 

Perhaps my very biggest mistake has been that I felt as if I needed to not write about my struggles or new insights in this place… because it's not what you, my readers, come here to hear about. Cancer and rare diseases that I share with several in my family are a far cry from mothering and homeschooling.
 

The problem is that when I sit down to write, the words that pour out of my heart are what's it's like living with a disease that no one can see and even I have a hard time believing I have, thoughts about the things that people say to someone who almost died, how many things I've learned about new life conditions that arise due to cancer treatment– things most people never hear about, like lymphedema.
 

I'm realizing that maybe it was a bit presumptuous of me to assume that you don't want to read about those things. Maybe you just had a close friend or family member who was diagnosed with breast cancer or thyroid cancer or any kind of cancer, really– and you would like to understand more about what she may be struggling with. Or maybe you just need to see that God still takes care of His children in big ways. I don't know what kind of encouragement you need, but God does. Who am I to judge what He puts in my heart to share in this place.
 

 

So I am seeking to fix my mistakes… at least one of them. I hope you'll stick with me as I write my heart in a new way. And I'd love to hear your thoughts, struggles, and questions as well.
 

Thank you for walking this walk with me and my family…

 

4 thoughts on “I Made a Mistake {Life After Cancer}

  1. Your post here really hit close to home/ Last Saturday I watch “The Fault in Our Stars” and had the same reaction you had. I knew what it was about, but figured I was strong enough to watch it. Ha! I also joined a group on Facebook called “Faces of Cancer” thinking maybe my story could help someone. I cry daily.
    I had vulva cancer and had a radical vulvectomy last September 2013. Last chemo/radiation in Feb 2014. I am praying I am still cancer free but had 2 biopsies done today to either find/rule out if cancer has returned to my vulva.
    You are an inspiration, I will contue to read your posts, and thank you for the friend invite on Facebook.

  2. Girlfriend, why did you watch that movie? I read the book and could not stop thinking about what would happen if I lost you to stupid cancer. Yes, it is a great read and yes, it was filmed in my new hometown. But, please do not that again. You have Survivor’s Guilt. I know all about that. You have no say in who gets saved and who does not. You have no idea why either and it isn’t for you to ponder. Just. Accept. the Gift. I love you!

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