Monday, January 29, 2018

How to cope when things aren't going your way

At long last...I'm jumping into 2018. Please...let me explain my delay...

I had gallbladder surgery on January 3. Surgery went well, and even recovery went well, but unfortunately it didn't resolve all my health issues. 

Two surgeries in three months with cancer treatments thrown in the middle of slowed me up a bit.

So, the other day I realized - here I am, two years into cancer treatments, and I'm still waiting for full health to return...when suddenly I realized that may never actually happen. 
(Is that what the oncologist meant last year when he said I may as well accept the fact that I'd never go back to work?) 

I'm like a cellphone trying to operate in the red zone that drops to black suddenly and unpredictably.  

Sometimes I'm incapacitated...but then the awful symptoms drop from a full boil to a simmer. It's great! Maybe I'll head to church, or drive to Target, or something simple like that. Those days, as unpredictable as they are, always lead me to believe I'm getting better. I never think I'll go backwards, but inevitably, I'm flat on my back again, struggling. 

Since chemo in 2015, I've been waiting for my health to get back to 'normal', but now I realize it's time to give it up and move on. I've finally realized that this is just how life is now. And it's okay. I'm not dying from cancer...I'm living with it! Praise God!

So here's how it's like I'm living in a dark cave with lots of tunnels. Sometimes light appears at the end of one of the tunnels and I crawl toward it...only to have the glow extinguish before I reach it.

Days later, maybe weeks later, light appears in the opposite direction and I head that way. It lasts a little longer this time, but again, all goes dark as wellness eludes me once again.

I can't move. I regroup.

Then, suddenly, it feels like a window beside me opens, flooding me with bright sunshine. I feel pretty good!   And for a moment, I dance. I dance until suddenly the light goes out. Sometimes it simply fades, but I dance until the advancing shadows swallow me.

Then, it's dark again. Fatigue, bone pain, muscle aches, vision issues, headaches...they ravage me.  It's all so unpredictable.

Yet, always, I rejoice...even in the dark...I rejoice.

I know I'm loved. I'm never alone. 

In every moment, the God of all creation remains with me. I feel His presence in my very being, and when I need external proof He sends that too - in a myriad of a bird's song, a gentle breeze, the warm sunshine, the chill winter morning.  

I feel the Lord's presence in the devotion of my incredible husband, the joy of my loving family. I know God's reaching me through the embrace of a friend, the words of a a text, a card, a phone call...He speaks to me in gospel readings and worship music...yes, yes, it's all good...the good Lord has never left me alone.  (He never leaves you alone either.)

Blessings abound. I've got an expert medical team. I belong to a discussion group of patients also diagnosed with this rare cancer. Sometimes I help them; sometimes they help me. I'm well-read on the disease, I help manage my treatment options, and I keep abreast of innovative remedies.  I pray, and the good Lord guides. 

So, as this chronic illness unfolds, revealing the fact that it will most likely forever keep me in this with unpredictable functionality...sending flirting hints of daylight here and there...sometimes flooding me with sunshine...other times debilitating me with darkness...I'm not afraid.

I'm jumping into 2018 with this realization, and I'm at peace with it.  I know God is the author of my life, the sculptor of my soul...and all is well.  

Happy New Year, my friend!

Here's a song that totally sums it up. Click here to listen to The Potters Hand. Beautiful prayer. My prayer. Maybe yours too?

As always, thank you for being here. You are a messenger of God's love.

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