I'm getting ready to go out to eat with hubbie, kids, and friends who are about to move. I'm really looking forward to a fun evening out.
I'm getting ready in other ways too: preparing for my classes (both teaching and learning), preparing to work on my thesis project, preparing my children for life and Jesus, preparing my own heart before the Lord that I might be pleasing to Him and hear His voice...
I rode a float with about 20 other survivors at the Race for the Cure last weekend. I was by far the youngest on the float. The parade leader though was a 13 year old girl who had survived breast cancer. And I thought I was young...
As the float pulled onto the street I saw hundreds of women cheering for us...for me. Something cracked in me emotionally in that instant and I started crying. I was just in awe of the support of all these women. They didn't have to be up early and fighting the cold to be there, but they wanted to be. I managed to pull myself together until the end of the parade and as I was walking back to find my husband and kids, I lost it again.
So much of me still feels raw about all of this. I feel like it is contained in a nice clean bandage most of the time, but sometimes the bandage gets ripped off and my blood and pain begin to pour out. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever reach the bottom of this well of emotion. Part of me doesn't want to. Isn't that odd? I guess the raw-ness of it reminds me that I'm alive. It makes me run to Jesus. I can't go into the numb "robot" mode that we all tend towards. But it hurts and it is scary. Sometimes when I'm getting dressed and I move a certain way I see my breast bone protude and am reminded that these scarred up boobies aren't real. I see the fragility of them...of me. I quickly cover myself with my arm or a shirt to try to hide the bone that no one should see. It should be covered by tissue, but it isn't. It's fragile.
I've been wondering recently if my cancer has returned.
There, I said it. I haven't verbalized that until now. I find myself describing it to people and leaving it hanging...hoping for the best-case scenerio, but in my heart not really sure. Still trying to protect everyone else around me after all this time. I don't want to hurt them or worry them. Isn't that silly? But that's what I do. Why worry anyone else when me and Jesus can carry it? So I say things like, "So I have swollen lymph nodes. Maybe its just a virus...but I really do want to get to the bottom of whatever it is." I tiptoe around it. I can't just jump out and say it. Sometimes I don't believe it myself. Did I really have cancer or was that all just a bad dream? Is it REALLY possible that I've spent the last 19 months of my life being a "cancer survivor"? Bizarre.
And people don't see it coming. I find that when I tell someone new my story, they just stare right through me. Then about 20 minutes into our conversation they are like, "OH you had CANCER! How's that been?" Like suddenly it hits them, but I'm not always convinced that they believe it either. Mostly because of my age. And the fact that I have hair. Lots of hair. For some reason in most people's minds, cancer=chemo. Most people even think radiation makes you lose your hair. This cracks me up.
I wonder what stage of grief I'm in now? I'm thinking there should be one titled "rollercoaster" stage. Yep, that's where I'm at.
Moving right along...
So I'm seeing a new oncologist this week. I'm really not satisfied with the emotional care I'm getting from the current one. I have actually already switched once and am mortified to do it again but I'm not content to stay somewhere where I'm not happy with the quality of care I'm receiving. I'm hoping and praying that all oncologists aren't like this and that I can find one that I "fit" with. Please pray for me along these lines. I need communication. I need someone to freakin tell me what I'm supposed to be watching for, symtom-wise, for recurrance. NO ONE has explained this to me. I want someone to tell me why they do all the tests they do and what the results mean. I want someone to not bulk me in with the rest of their cancer patients, or even breast cancer patients, because I'M NOT. I'm 26. I'm a daughter, sister, wife, mom, friend, and my body has been through HELL the last 19 months. I want someone to feel the weight of that with me, or at least attempt to. Is that too much to ask? My breast surgeon does it!! I wish I could duplicate him into an oncologist. That would be perfect...
So I'm getting ready. Praying if there is some sneaky, stupid, duplicating, reoccuring cancer in this frail human body that it would be found soon, by a doctor, and something would be done to make it stop. And that if there is another reason that my kidney, ribs, joints, bones, and throat hurt or another reason that my neck nodes have been swollen for several weeks now...that a doctor would care enough to try to get to the bottom of it, or find a legitimate reason for it all that I can have peace about.
Is that too much to ask?
So I'm really getting ready to go out to eat now. Grateful that I can put all this down and walk away from it feeling like my mind is a little less cluttered. Grateful too for you guys that read this and pray. Thank you for wanting to know me. :)