2016 has not been what I expected it to be. It has not been my year. It’s been full of heartbreak, but much like life, it’s had its share of good times too. As a sit here and write this I have so much swirling through my head. My heart is hurt from the recent loss of what I thought were lifelong bonds and y’all, I’m really struggling with this one. It’s never easy to loose someone that you thought would be your friend forever but just like the year, all things have its season. I was diagnosed with cancer this year and that by far, was the most devastating thing I experienced. It’s changed my life in the course of a year. I think after hearing those three words, the very cells that make you are completely altered. My course of treatment has been decided, I will continue on the Megace and I will be having bariatric surgery sometime in the near future. I’m hopeful that this will save my fertility. My oncologist at Duke really thinks this is the way to go. It’s hard to really discern the right course because of my age and it being so rare in someone so young. I’m thankful for my cancer though, I don’t think I’d ever have the courage to change and to speak my mind if I didn’t have it. My relationship with my mom has grown by leaps and bounds this year, she is truly my best friend. This year has been an eye opener in that respect, I’ve really seen people’s true colors. My faith has grown deeper. I could not do this without God and would not be here without him. The outpouring of love and prayers from my community for me in this season has been the biggest blessing. We would not make it through without y’all. I don’t really have any insightful things to say to you about this past year. I think it just really sucked for all of us. But we know this to be true: God is on the throne and he is always good. Forgive me for being random and my prose not as flowing but my point of all of this is that we will persevere. That as long as we have breathe in our lungs, it is not too late to chart a different course. May 2017 be a year of great things.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
I’m up at odd hours now. I sit here in my chair and just admire the beauty of our Christmas tree. It’s old and missing some of its needles. It’s lights are missing in some places but it holds only good memories. All the ornaments are special, either they’re handmade or have a special meaning. Every year we would decorate the tree and then turn out all the lights and my dad would say “look at that. It’s beautiful.” It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect to us. I can’t help but think that’s how God sees us. People have such flawed versions of what beauty is and no matter how much we might wish to change that version, it won’t happen. If you look back at the centuries you’ll notice how versions of beauty have changed. It sounds cliché, but what we look like doesn’t contribute anything but outward adornment and decoration for this world. Your soul and your heart matter. People will claim it’s all in the name of health, but boil it down and it’s because you don’t look like everyone else. My point with this is, this Christmas season examine your heart. Your motives behind what you say. Be a little kinder, judge a little less. Love people like Jesus would; just because their people.
In a season where it’s hard to be thankful, I really try to find something to be thankful for. Because if I’m honest cancer life sucks. It’s a forever waiting, hoping, wishing thing. There is a reason they call cancer a beast. It takes on its own life form. Its the waiting, it’s keeping you from normalcy, it’s how people leave you out of things. Read this blog, it really explains things so much better than I could. I’m forgetful these days, it’s hard to hold a conversation now; but my point is that even with this really crappy thing I find myself more thankful than ever.
I’m thankful for Gods grace and mercy. His provisions for Mom and I. His ever present voice saying Courage, dear heart.
I’m thankful for my mom. She is just the best person I know and my best friend. She’s my constant companion and her faith in me is never wavering.
I’m thankful for my cancer. I don’t know why, but I feel thankful for what it’s teaching me.
I’m thankful for my family. I spent the afternoon with them and despite our issues there is a loyalty and love that is never wavering.
I’m thankful for my dad and his spirit lives on in so many things.
I’m thankful for this life and another day to live. Tomorrow isn’t promised.
This break from life has been nice. Mom and I re-vamped our porch and spent time together that didn’t involve dr appointments. I’m thankful for our little house, it’s not much but it’s home.
Life will get hard again and it’ll be hard to remember all this but in the end it’s important to tuck it away and have it.
Your prayers and support are very appreciated and something I’m very thankful for. Keep them coming.
It’s a rare day here, I’m not overly sad but I’m not happy either. I’m ok today. I’m so grateful to be alive and to have all my needs met. I cannot even begin to fathom the generosity and kindness that has been shown to mom and I, it’s the biggest blessing in this whole mess. I’m so SO thankful for my mom. I could not do this without her. She has been such a rock my whole life. She makes sure I have everything I need before she goes to work, she takes off when I have an appointment. She is the biggest blessing in my life. I had a dr consult on Thursday last week and it was just a crappy day. She came home from work and brought me flowers to cheer me up. She is a saint and just the best person I know.
Life has its good and bad days lately. I’m trying to learn through all this and trust in what I can’t see. It’s hard, y’all. Some days I’m so angry at God and wonder why he isn’t listening. But while I was doing a devotional the other morning, I cried and poured my heart out and I heard Him say “I’ll make something beautiful out of this.” I have to cling to hope and belief, because it’s all I have.
I’m at a stalemate with my healthcare currently. I’ve seen the plastic surgeon but I’ve chosen to seek a second and third opinion. I cannot in good faith go by the opinion of one doctor when so little is known about my cancer. Y’all, it’s a scary thing. Living with something that could kill you. It very surreal and sometimes hard to believe it happened to me.
I don’t know, but today I choose to look at the sunshine and let the shadows fall behind me.
I wish I had some big, verbose thing to tell you but I don’t. I’ve just been thinking recently about cancer, life, boys, and God and how I have changed. It is entirely by Gods grace that I’m not the same person I was not too long ago. I fought hard to become this person I’m becoming, but cancer, it sucks. It kinda puts a stopper in any kind of progress. As my dad would’ve said ” it has a way of knocking you on your back so you’ll look up.” So I have. I’ve found God in all the corners of my life lately, it’s a scary time at its core. I put on a brave face, but cancer is a cold-blooded killer and I’m not ready to die. I feel amongst all the yucky-ness of this that there is a silver lining waiting to be discovered. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and in the words of one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott,
“Sometimes when a lot of things around you start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born. In other words, perhaps it needed you to be distracted so it can be born perfect.”
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future and He makes broken things beautiful. My life has been so broken the past four years and I saw how He worked in dads life and I saw how He works in the messiest times of grief. I choose to believe that He’ll show up and work in all the brokenness of this season. Speaking of brokenness, I recently had several encounters with dating in this modern generation, and they all sucked. Guys these days are quick to want to hook-up, play little mind game, and be terrified to catch feelings. Well, my heart has been cracked and I’ve omitted pieces of myself to fit what their looking for and I’m done. Life is far too short and too precious to waste on that. In the words of my homegirl Bey,
“middle fingers up and tell em’ boi bye.”
I’m worth being pursued and worth some effort. I’m too old and mature to play stupid little games. If you like me, tell me. I’m worth a man that can stand his ground and sees me for more than an object. Yes, I like the skin I’m in, but you should see my brain. It’s far more sexier. My life is spent taking it minute by minute. I’m going on with everyday life, including college because I have no intentions of dying this soon. So they’ll be plenty of time to check off my bucket list. Plus let’s be real, who has money to do that when they have cancer? Do they know how much it cost!? If anything, cancer has certainly made me more introspective. And let’s you know where your priorities lay…
Life sucks sometimes, I think it’s ok to say that. It’s not meant to be roses and sunshine all the time. Hard times make you appreciate the good ones all the more… I’m in a weird way lately, missing what could’ve been and what might not ever be. I had an Mri on Thursday, I was sedated for the the 2 1/2 hours. Which was an hour longer than planned. Nothing goes normally or according to planned with me. I’m not sure of the outcome or if they’ll be able to read this one. Scanxiety is real. I’m grieving for things that might never happen and how my life is nothing like it should be. People my age are getting married or having babies and starting their careers. I never planned to have cancer. Now it’s taken so many things from me, how does someone cope with that. I just feel broken and who wants anyone that’s broken.
I don’t like complicated. I like clear cut, straight to the point, give me the answers right now. Cancer isn’t simple, the answers never come when you want them and sometimes not at all. I got the news today that I would have to go back and have another Mri, this time under local anesthesia. Here again, I don’t have answers in the time I want them. Along with this I have some decisions to make about bariatric surgery, something that, mind you, has never crossed my radar…
Speaking of that, I have a little story for you and the point to this:
I’ve never been skinny, no one in my family is. Genetically speaking, I was predetermined to be big. I was bullied in school for it. I had horrible body image and no self confidence. I was in my late teens and was trying diet pills, appetite suppressants, fad diets, calorie restriction, and unhealthy amounts of exercise. You say how is exercise unhealthy? Well when you’re restricting calories which your body turns into energy to exercise you get light headed and vomit or pass out. Thankfully I never got to the last one. I was in a destructive cycle. I hated myself and my body. Then one day, I said I’m done. I found the body positive community on Tumblr and my life was changed. I took back the word fat, as it didn’t have power to be used as an insult anymore. It was simply a word to describe my body. It took years and a daily essential, but I found peace, happiness, and a love for my body.
I’m passionate about body positivity, body image, and a firm believer that your weight does not equate your health. I think all bodies are good bodies. However, being told that your weight mixed with genetics is causing cancer… Well, honestly, it’s really messing with this foundation I live on. How do I be all these things when I need to have a surgery that alters my body so I can lose weight? I’ve never wanted to be a “normal” size. Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you. But I like my body the way it is, it’s lumps and bumps and hills and valleys. It was once a war zone now it’s a happy, peace filled place. I fought to be that woman, now I’m having to change without even knowing it’s going to put the cancer in remission. How do I deal with that? How does that place I’ve built to live in, not crumble? Can I find that place of peace?