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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Storm and the Stop

The last few days have carried some crazy thoughts. I’m guessing I’ll just have some moments of crazy thinking for awhile as I experience a landslide of emotion out of the blue or a fit of crying for seemingly no reason.

I keep telling people that receiving a cancer diagnosis is much like I imagine going to war would be. The soldier is thrown into a battlefield in a life or death situation. He sees death and dying all around and still has the incredible adrenalin fueled ability to make life and death decisions well. Then, just because he’s back home all safe and sound doesn’t mean he can’t still hear the cannons or feel the fear. (I think the experts call it Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.)

I keep reading that after time passes and cancer doesn’t make an appearance, patients survivors actually forget all about cancer until the time surrounding their scans. And then they actually forget it’s time for their scans. And so life continues.

I’m ready to forget.

Yet in forgetting there lies danger. I don’t want to forget to grab every single opportunity life throws at me. I don’t want to forget to take a step closer to my dreams each day. I don’t want to take life or any of its relationships for granted. Ever again. I want cancer to change my quality of life. For the better.

Yet still, I want to forget.

When I get a thank you note from my child saying she's so glad my hair is on and my cancer’s gone, it makes me want cancer to go away. How dare cancer make my children grow up too fast. Make me forget, please. But, help me remember too.

And so I wonder if I will forget.

I want to forget.

All of these conflicting emotions course through my body. My emotions raw, my muscles tense, I wonder if I even can forget. I don’t think it’s possible yet I know that I’m no different from the others I’ve met. There will be days I forget. Eventually.

Today I spent a great portion of my day being angry. I got angry at cancer today. Angry that it’s taking up so much of my precious brain space. Angry that it’s monopolizing so much of my thought processes. Angry that it’s consuming the precious minutes that make up my treasured days. I got angry that cancer has invaded my life and is now part of my future. Even if it’s a just a little part that gets scans every once in awhile. It’s there. My history.Threatening. Hovering. That makes me angry today. Sorry, if that’s offensive to you. It just does.

And when I question my anger, I don’t think it’s misplaced. Cancer is yuck. It’s okay to be mad at it! I won’t dwell in the anger. I will wander through my emotions, sifting and sorting the beneficial from the disposable. I will remind myself anger is caused by another emotion… Most likely fear. And I will choose trust. Again and again I will choose trust.

I will rest my thoughts on sweet promises whispered in the howling wind of the storm. I will enjoy the green grass and blooming flowers nourished by the torrential rain. I will soak in the warm and bright sunshine as I remember the roar of the crashing thunder in the thick of the storm's darkness.

And I will give thanks to the God who at the appropriate time commands the storm to stop.

"He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm." Mark 4:39-40


Bernie said...

You are doing well my friend, you have been to the well and back, now is the time to just take one day at a time as you move forward in love and faith. Cancer will not rule your life, it has become a part of it Lisa but you can handle this part.....it could of been so much worse sweetie so focus on the good and be thankful that for now it is under control. Keeping you and your family in my heart and prayers, love you......:-) Hugs

Anonymous said...

I admire your courage. My prayers are with you and your family. Hopefully with time you will be at ease with the new "normal." God bless you and thank you for sharing emotions that are real and understandable. May the peace of Jesus be with you, Lisa

Denise said...

Sweet sis, cancer does not have you, you have cancer. You are winning, cancer is a loser. I love you.

B His Girl said...

You are asking God for the good out of this to stick and the other to get lost. There is nothing wrong with that Lisa. The notes from your children sound sooooo sweet. Let them stick and keep walking forward. Much love to you girl! B

Holly Novak said...

Wow, Bernie said it so succintly...yes, Lisa, you're life is different after a diagnosis of cancer, and it takes time to process. I know the anger, disbelief and fear of being diagnosed and knowing my life will never be the same, but then also the relief, appreciation and respect for those fellow Cancer Survivors, doctors and amazing people that reach out to help, pray and encourage you along the way. Everyone's cancer journey is both the same and different at the same time. I think now, it really makes me want to help raise awareness and do what I can to help others going through it and raise funds for research so once and for all they can find a CURE!!

I'm so happy for you that you don't have to go through chemo, what a huge relief! Be diligent in your appointments though for follow-up and listen to your body! I know that the treatment for Sarcoma's is brutal and Dave is dealing with some of the after effects (they are keeping a close eye on his kidneys), so what the doctor told you is true. But at the same time, Dave (and I) have our "lives back" as they used to be which is such a blessing and something we don't take for granted.

Have a wonderful day and rest of your week Lisa!!

Donna said...

Lisa, thank you for being real and expressing thoughts and feelings that all of us have had in various circumstances. And thank you for the closing statement: "I will remind myself anger is caused by another emotion… Most likely fear. And I will choose trust. Again and again I will choose trust." I can tell, Lisa, that there is a strength in you that is powerful. It's a testimony to those of us reading of what God can do in us!

Hope you have a super great day full of God's presence!

His Girl said...

you just took my breath away, dear friend.

you are allowed to be mad.

cancer IS yuck. it is stupid and dumb and rude.

it is also no match for our God.


Christie said...


This brings back memories of the day I was diagnosed. Hearing the exact words, "This is life and death..." Your world stops...

But, 7 years later, there are more days that I "forget" than I remember but, cancer will always be a part of who I am...for the good.

Choose to let cancer advance God's kingdom...

Praying for you!

Renee Swope said...

Beautiful, honest, and sobering. I love what Denise said, "Cancer does not have you, you have cancer." God is bringing beauty from the ashes. Keep writing. I keep seeing a devotion for cancer patients in everything I read her.

Love you BIG!!

Loren said...


what a heartfelt and beautiful post...

You have been victorious every step of the way and even in your anger you won. It is sooo ok to be angry and to release that anger instead of allowing it to control you and take root! But God is sooo in you that HE allowed you to work THROUGH these emotions, express them, deal with them and move on to JOY and PEACE one step at a time! I just am in awe each time I read words from your heart.

The Lord has been glorified each and every day and I know HE is just so dad gum proud of HIS sweet precious daughter.

I love you Lisa....thank you for yet again inspiring me....Nope cancer doesn't have you. Never has. Never will.