In All Circumstances

I need to come clean.  There’s a hesitancy for me to write much right now.  Especially if I’m having a bad day.  Sometimes when I want to share openly and honestly I find myself not writing because I don’t want to whine.  There are several reasons for this, but mostly because my life has been spared at least for the time being.  The cancer seems to be gone and I can move on with my life… least sort of.  I don’t want to complain about the little aches and pains when I feel generally confident I am not dealing with cancer and I know so many people who still are.  Their cancer just won’t go away and this makes me unbearably sad at times.  It might also be some survivors guilt, it might be something to do with being a Christ-follower and wanting to be “joyful” in everything It might also be that I desperately want to feel normal.  I want my chest area to feel normal and my body to feel good and not tired.  Whatever the reason, I have to weigh being real with remaining positive.  Focusing on the negative is never a good thing.  And at the same time, if you are going through breast cancer and are looking at my blog for reassurance and information about what to expect…..I certainly don’t want to sugar-coat it. 

So this is my dilemma.

But I’ve decided I need to be honest.   MOST of the time I feel good, but once in a while I just don’t.  And I need to be OK with that.

At night, for the most part, after I’ve put the girls to bed and I cuddle in bed with my baby boy (who is almost two…..sigh) and my husband I feel so utterly blessed.  I told Jeremy when we went to bed on Christmas night that I felt so much happiness in my heart that I can barely describe it.  I feel an overwhelming peace in my heart and love for my family and so much joy about being with them on that day.

Yet Christmas day was one of the most painful days I’ve had in this journey.  I could barely pick up anything.  I couldn’t lift anything above my chest area without pain and any deep breathing was painful.   Really….any movement was painful.  Thankfully….I feel confident this is just muscle pain and probably nerve damage that is still repairing.  I spoke with a friend from church who is a physicians assistant this morning and he reminded me that a lot of nerve damage from surgery is repairing itself.  And we know the CT scan and xrays were clear.  He reassured me this morning that it would have shown something if it was something more.  And I am feeling better now (Thanks Bob!).  Every day I feel better.  I will be getting back to the YMCA tomorrow to start working out again…..but I will stay away from any weights and stick with gentle cardio for the time being.

Then I got sick with something Elijah had and it took me almost 5 days to recover.  Being sick never helps your mood. 

And if I am being real with you…..I finished the memoir yesterday for the book tour I’m hosting on my blog in a few weeks.  I’m really looking forward to it…..but reading a book with so many similarities certainly tapped into A LOT of my own fears.  There are so many similarities…..yet we are different.  And I keep having to remind myself that everyone is different.  Just because her cancer showed up again, doesn’t mean my cancer will.  But it taps into those hidden fears and is emotionally draining at times.  Laura was such a great person and I’m looking forward to sharing a bit of her life with you.  One thing I can say is that she fit more into 36 years of life than most.  She had a contagious smile and personality and I am inspired to do more from reading about her life.  And she certainly embodies the verse I’ve included below.

What I can say is that there is joy in my heart even if I struggle at times emotionally staying upbeat and my body doesn’t always cooperate.  When I meditate on God’s goodness to me and His promises I will always come back to joy and that overwhelming peacefulness in my heart.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18


5 Responses to In All Circumstances

  1. bcjenster says:

    I can relate to every single point in this post. I’m three years out of chemo, no signs of cancer since then, and am healthy and happy. I’ve even come to accept my new normal – mostly. But sometimes I desperately miss my old normal. Just last night I wanted so badly to sleep on my tummy, but it’s much to uncomfortable. And there are other “new normals” that I’m not particularly fond of. Compared to what some women are going through they seem like trivial and silly whines. But the fact is they’re all part of the cancer package. Everything we go through is a part of our reality and sometimes they’re worthy of a whine or two!

  2. imstell says:

    Sarah and Jen – I’d say it’s a very large club and we’re all members. For the most part I feel great. But there are just some things that aren’t fully healed yet and others that will just never, ever be the same. I’m lucky to have full range of motion even though I grossly neglected any physical therapy (Ha! I have kids! Who needs PT?). And I have new breasts much perkier than the originals ever were… but one of them healed with a large flat spot right across the center which really bothers me. And my calendar is filled with cryptic notes: “shooting pains in left shin bone”; “cough with no cold for one week”, etc.

    Yet, today I received an email from a friend that listed 45 life lessons. Number 4o has become my new blog byline:

    “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back. ”

    How true is that?

  3. Sarah S. says:

    I had my Mastecomy last Feruary and I still have pain, and trouble lifting. It will feel better in time. Try not to do too much. It takes a long time for everything to get back to the way it was. My plastic surgeon told me a few weeks ago that it can take a few years 🙂 Hang in there!

  4. clergygirl says:

    Stella….I like that saying. I also remember you telling me you like your body now more than before…..that made me feel so much better during treatment. I’m doing the DIEP flap sometime this spring I think.

  5. whymommy says:

    Hey — I’m with ya here. Survivorship is not for the weak.

    And Imstell — that’s awesome. You so need to blog that….

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