On this day, last year, I had to buzz my hair because it was falling out and leaving bald patches. It made the reality of the life I was living even more visible.
August 19, 2015
Today, I am done treatment (well, for the most part). I have hair. I regularly exercise, shop for groceries, clean my home (less regularly, let's be honest)--all the normal things that people do in life.
In short, I have moved on. But, really, I haven't. This "new reality" that I'm living in is hard.
On the outside, it appears that I'm healthy and functioning just like everyone else. And physically, as far as anyone can know, I am. The hard part is that I can't ever really just move on. I have aches and pains and I immediately pray they aren't some form of recurrence. I have pills to take for 10 years that can have severe physical side effects. Our adoption agency is really digging deep to make sure that we're fit to have more children.
The "new reality" is that having cancer doesn't just end because the treatment is over--the ramifications continue to ripple through our lives.
And yet. (side note: I just love that statement. And yet. It is so hopeful!)
And yet, our lives do go on. My kiddos continue to grow, play, learn, laugh. My husband continues to love this community we live in and serve in our church. I keep creating, take a new job, regain strength. We have begun the adoption process again. The world keeps right on spinning. And I'm so glad it does.
I don't want my life to be defined by the past. I know I am shaped by it, but I will not be defined by the disease that tried to take my life. I am more than my cancer diagnosis, but I also have to live with the effects of it.
The cool thing is, that in all of this God is near. I have had a great summer. Busy--too busy, actually. But I have also struggled with some real anxiety about the cancer coming back. It came on unexpectedly (that's a story for another day: panic attack on a plane) and lasted for the past month.
This last week, on one of my runs, I got real with God. I laid it all out: my feelings, my doubts, my questions about my future, but also my willingness to serve Him, to follow, and to trust. That honest dialogue with God gave me more peace than I have felt in a while. I was reminded that I'm not in control, though "life going on" can sometimes make me feel like I am. I was reminded that I am still cared for, prayed for, and deeply loved, even though the cancer is gone. And I was reminded that I have a future, a hope, and work to do. God doesn't just go back to his heavenly throne and rest because my cancer has been healed. Truth is, He never left his place of authority and power over my life, and he won't stop now.
That's good news for me, for you, for all of us...and now I'm going to go camping.
(can I tell you something funny and totally unrelated? When I typed the word "news" just a moment ago, I first tried to spell it "noos!" Chemo brain!!)