Monday, July 4, 2016

The Rollercoaster I Wasn't Expecting

Ok, so here's a blog post I never thought I'd have to write.

I have breast cancer.

Looking at the words, sitting there in black and white... it still seems surreal.  Really?!  I've birthed four babies, and breastfed them all, isn't that supposed to give me some protection against breast cancer?  Apparently not enough.

It's been a shock for me, and an even bigger shock for my husband.  I was shocked, but not surprised when they told me; I had been sure something wasn't right for a while.  My husband wasn't prepared at all, and was blindsided by the news.

I've known there's been a lump since Easter.  I got it checked, because it was painful, but we thought it might just be trauma (my 6yr old son had been headbutting me during an Easter service.  Lol!), so when it stopped hurting, I assumed it must be fine, despite the lump still being there.  About a month ago, the lump started hurting again, for no apparent reason, and even though the pain stopped after a few hours, I thought I should probably get it checked again.  The nurse agreed with me, and referred me to the breast clinic... and here we are.

Just to be clear - we are not blaming my son for causing the lump, we are thankful he drew my attention to what was already there!

So yeah... it's been a hard week.  Dreading telling people, but wanting to tell them.  Not wanting to go through chemo, surgery and radiation, but wanting to get on and DO something.  Feeling healthy, but knowing I've got cancer.

It feels like preparing to go off to war.  Thinking about what I need to change, what I'm not going to be able to do, all while being carried along by the usual daily life.  Making lists in my head of people I need to tell, and how I'm going to do that...

I'm not afraid, exactly - no soldier going off to war thinks they'll be the one that doesn't come back.  No, change that.  I am afraid, but I'm not terrified.  I'm very concerned about what this means for me and my family, and how this is going to affect us all.

My husband needs his wife, and my kids need their mum, and I will be doing absolutely everything I know to do, to make sure I can be there for them until I'm at least 90!  I know what it's like to not have a mum, and I do not want that for them. 

One thing I am sure of, right from the start: I will be honest.  I will not pretend to feel or believe or act or think anything, to make anyone else feel better.

No pretending.  If I'm sad, I'm sad.  If I'm fine, I'm fine.  If I'm falling apart, that's exactly what I'll do, and if I'm ridiculously happy, then please don't tell me I'll be feeling worse again soon!

That goes for everyone else around me - don't try to 'be strong' for my sake.  What I'd much rather you do, is be real.

I still want to hear about your lives - what madness your in-laws have been up to lately, how your kids are driving you nuts, how you're so sick of your car breaking down again, and the funny thing your 4yr old said to you yesterday.  But I'm going to need to talk about me, too.  And I'm going to need you to listen.  So if you want to help, but don't know how, send me emails, or message me on Facebook.  Let me know you're thinking about me, and you care, and tell me about what's going on in your world.  And when I reply, keep the conversation going!

One last thing.  I'm not going to say that I'll be fine, or ok, or that God will make everything turn out well.  All of those things are what I want with all my heart... but they're what everyone wants, who starts out on this journey, and it's not true for us all.  I'm being honest, remember?  I don't have any assurances from God that everything will turn out the way I want it to, and to be honest, I'm not asking Him for any.  What I am very aware of, is the presence of God with me; loving, compassionate, and patient. He's not demanding or expecting anything from me, He's just there. Solid, warm and real.  

That is what is real, and true, and rock steady.  And that is enough.