Okay, my faithful readers (that would be my mom, and my Aunt Nancy :)....I'm going to post something, ANYTHING to my blog. I have started a couple of posts, but just haven't been able to click the publish button. The writing just hasn't come naturally. At. All. I have had some sort of hang-up about sharing my thoughts and feelings with the blog world. I'm not sure if it's more about a) not WANTING to be transparent or b)not feeling safe about being transparent. Hmmm. Now, you might be wondering why I'm worried about being transparent at all. Does my blog have to be about thoughts and feelings or what's going on in my life? No, I guess not.....but then it wouldn't really be my blog. So here I am stumbling over whether to write an honest post about life, write just an update on events, or not write at all. Well, I've made up my mind to write, so I guess it will unfold as it unfolds. How's that for vague?? Sigh....
I'd love to say that the last year and a half hasn't been consumed with breast cancer, but I can't say that. If you kept up with my Caringbridge journal, you witnessed evidence of God's grace and faithfulness. I think of the verse in Isaiah 43 that says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the waters, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned." I experienced the truth of that Scripture as I faced a stage 3 cancer diagnosis, a mastectomy, and a year of very aggressive cancer treatment. The Lord was with me and carried me in a way I cannot describe. The POST treatment months have been different, though. Don't get me wrong, I know that He is still with me. But now my life isn't consumed with weekly chemo treatments, looking very much like a cancer patient - cute hats and all, doctor appointment after doctor appointment, and all the other "acute" realities that were part of the whole thing. NOW, I'm off the roller-coaster. I don't LOOK like a cancer patient anymore (from the outside, anyway). I've done everything I can do to fight the cancer and hopefully eliminate the chance for its return. NOW, life is less about cancer and more about being the mother of a teenage girl, the mother of three growing boys, helping my kids navigate their way through middle school, making sure the books get done for Tim's business, teaching part-time, packing lunches, making dinner, and all the coming and going of family life. But the thing is, that cancer thing is still there. The fear of it. Knowing that if it DOES come back, that's usually bad. So NOW, instead of trusting the Lord to pick me up and carry me, I'm trusting the Lord as I put one foot in front of the other...knowing He is behind me and before me. And knowing that WHATEVER happens, that it's for a purpose. Sometimes I can do that with confidence. Sometimes not.
Something I didn't expect, post-treatment, was the whole grieving process of losing a breast. When I had the mastectomy almost two years ago, I was just glad to have that 5cm tumor out of my body. I was ready for the fight. But it wasn't until about a month ago, when I was in the midst of planning for reconstructive surgery (the process of which is a blog post in itself), that the grief of losing a breast hit me like a tidal wave. I won't try to explain it or justify it, because I can't. It just hit me, and I wept for about five days. I still feel very fortunate that cancer didn't take my life, my ability to walk, talk, sing, and function completely as usual. I still believe that my cancer journey has been a walk in the park compared to what many other people face daily and for life. But I guess I still had to just cry for a while. I will have reconstructive surgery in a month. As much as I am looking forward to being "put back together again", I know there are scars, both inside and out, that can't be erased. There is much vulnerability in that. Sometimes I feel pulled in the direction of becoming hardened, detached, walled-off. But oh, to be vulnerable! To trust without reservation, to love with abandon, and to move forward without knowing what lies ahead. That's what I will choose. Grieving and trusting and loving and hurting are part of this messy life, but also part of growing us into who we're meant to be.
So enough about that. There really are some other things I'd like to blog about....to process through writing. But I had to get all that out first, I guess. I haven't written about parenting as much as I used to, because my kids are old enough now to read my blog and get it if I'm telling a silly story about them or be embarrassed by me wearing my heart on my sleeve. :) But I do have some parenting blogging to do. After all, I've got two middle-schoolers, and that's just a treasure trove of blog material. Lots of funny things, sure....but also really hard things! Those kids are truly bombarded with crap every day, and it's hard on this mama's heart! So hopefully it won't be another five or six months before I have the courage to write again. It really is therapeutic to write and just put it out there.
I will close with a photo of Tim and I and my big post-chemo curly hair. He is my best friend and the love of my life. Tim, not the hair. :)
And my family......love them so much it hurts!!