Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cancer Sucks.

My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.

This is a verse that I have taken out of context, but my own exegesis of this verse brings me comfort.

Cancer sucks.

Last Sunday Amy, Brad, and Justin went with me to a Cancer Survivorship reception at Vanderbilt. We snacked on cupcakes, heard a lady play some ridiculous songs, and the listened to a comedian tell about her cancer (and making us say "rectum" three times out loud... yeah right.) The emotional part though was when everybody went around the room sharing their names and stories. All ages from five years old to eighty plus. Men and women. Strong and frail. Some people had gone through several bouts. Some people had faced more than one kind of cancer. Talk about tremendous amounts of courage. I couldn't share. I felt so insignificant, after all, I have the "none-cancer cancer" my friend Debbie Tumblin calls it. (She has gone through it too.)

The non-cancer cancer sucks.

I will never forget the day I heard that I was going to have my first biopsy/lumpectomy. Nana was with me. I went back by myself and returned to the wait room scared to pieces. We walked out of the door and I crumbled. She helped me make it to a bench and we cried together. A lady walking by brought us tissues and hugged both of us. I think she understood a little.

My first procedure I was awake for. It was a little traumatic. Those of you who know me know I have a weak stomach. That plus feeling like less of a woman (silly, but honest) put me over the edge. I struggled with depression for several weeks afterwards.

My first big surgery was also ridiculous. Dad and Nana went with me. When I was wheeled back to the pre-op area, I didn't realize how long I would be there. People (nurses and doctors) felt sorry for me and kept coming up to apologize. I had no real concept of time, but wanted things to be over with. It turns out my doctor was having morning sickness. It was so nice when I woke up in a good room with my dad.

Nothing has been more humbling than having someone wash my hair and clean my bandages. Having to take off my shirt makes me feel sick even though it is just in front of a doctor. I worry about getting married. Will he still think I am beautiful? I come with baggage.

When I discovered a lump in India, I refused to believe it. I passed it off thinking it was nothing. When I came back to America, I didn't know things would be so different. I was just going to have lumpy and scarred breasts for the rest of my life. That was until they told me I had DCIS. Now, I say I have had breast cancer.

Radiation. A big, fat time inconvenience. Going each day. Sitting for each day. Coming home tired each day. Sleeping through things each day. Waking up each day no longer a morning person. Thankfully, it went by fast. The weeks were over before I knew it. (Shoot, it went by faster than this summer school is!) I met Estelle, a funny and amazing lady who would be perfect for living on the frontier years ago. I found what the meaning of true friends was. (Amy and some other showed me that.) I was tired.

Then, you think it is over...

You just think it.

It isn't.

Last night as I laid sprawled out on our living room floor as close to a vent as possible under a fan with another fan right beside me, it didn't feel as though things were over. (Hot flash from Satan himself!) Each day when I get up, shower, and rub a silver solution under my breast, it doesn't feel as though things are over. When the doctor says that she might have to try something else, it isn't over. Telling people I have yet to meet makes it not over.

Cancer sucks.

As you can tell, I have lots of emotions. It is emotional. It is something I need to talk about, but don't want to. It is something people have questions about, but I don't always have answers. It is something that does define me now.

I have and do need comfort.

That brings me to this verse...

My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.

While I am not using it the same way the psalmist would, it is my mediation. God, cancer sucks... but God, you promise me more.

That is how I can get on with my day.

(verse is Psalm 119:50)

1 comment:

  1. Dear Beth,

    We love you and are praying for you!

    Andrew & Jaime