I haven’t always loved words but they found me in some of my darkest day. Whether it was in the form of a book or a blog post I stumbled on. I recently wrote that words have power. More than one will ever know. I love to write, sometimes its a story, sometimes its an elaboration of a thought or something that evokes a feeling in my soul. I like sharing my life and my thoughts in hopes that someone, somewhere might read it and not feel alone. I share them because I believe in the power of the written and spoken word. That maybe if we all shared our truths and the messiness that is called life; maybe, just maybe it’d be a better world.
But. There is always a but.
I hesitate. What if it’s not as good as so and so’s. What if it unintentionally hurts someone. What if it make me seem this way or that. I could literally go on and on about the stream of thoughts I have in my head. For 12 years now words have been my constant companion. They’ve built me up and tore me to shreds. I’ve stoped writing because I cared more about likes and if I was good enough. I hesitated to share my journey with cancer this time because I’ve been so hurt by people who I thought cared. But I miss it. I miss sharing my heart and my thoughts. I’ve read several blogs and post from other cancer survivors that I resonated with that got me through that heart wrenching moments. I still believe it’s better to share than to bottle it up, but I see so many people who want to create this façade of this or the other, why not just be yourself? You never know how you’re true story is going to help some one else.
This past year has broken my spirit. It has shown me friendships don’t last, time doesn’t slow down for anything, you’re never prepared to lose anyone, and life can never be normal; flowers don’t grow there.
I lost my best friend Thursday at 8:30. I held her as she took her last breath. Lexi was magic wrapped in this white package. I loved her the moment I saw her in that pet store. She was meant to be in my life. She weathered the storms of life with me. She was my refuge in those years when my dads health declined and the day he died the skies cried and so did she and I. She stood beside me when we moved from the only home we ever knew. She was there the day I was diagnosed with cancer. She took a walk with me and I cried on her shoulder. This last year, she became my confidante and she saved my life. The moment I planed to take my life, she looked at me with those all knowing brown eyes and said I would make it through this. She was a fighter from day one, surviving something that most dogs don’t survive not once but twice. The night she died, she looked at me and told me it was time for her to go but I wasn’t ready. She taught me unconditional love and what it means to be a friend. Rest easy, sweet girl. Life isn’t the same without you.
I went to countless doctor appointments this year. I’ve seen first hand the devastation cancer causes. I doesn’t walk into your life, It bulldozes everything you’ve worked for. There is little to no support for teens and young adults with cancer. Very few resources and support sources. Cancer literally halts your life and demands attention. I’ve had four biopsy with mixed results. I’ve jumped and pole-vaulted through hoops to seek treatment options that are unconventional and fought to be seen despite the number on a scale. I still have cancer and my life lays in shambles because of it. People disappear when you have cancer and it’s even worse when you’re cancer is noticeable. You learn to lie when your have cancer because no one who ask how you are really wants to know the truth. My medicine has so many side effects that the FDA doesn’t list them all. I may not be bald but I’m losing my hair, I have bald spots. You learn to cover the bruises. You hope that you don’t catch the next sickness going about. You sit in solitude because people don’t know how to act around you. It hurts. I’ve been seeing a team of doctors for the past year for bariatric surgery and still am not cleared to have it. People think eating is simple, people think losing weight is about willpower. NEWSFLASH: it is not. Food is complex and some have the chemical make up as narcotics. Weight loss is isn’t always simple and being fat isn’t a crime or even the worst thing in the world. Trust. Me. On. That. I’ve learned that my issues go so deep, that they have issues.
Mental Health needs to be talked about and people need to quit stigmatizing it. You aren’t crazy, OCD is a real paralyzing thing, Depression makes your brain tell you lies, and some days the best you can do is breathe. I can’t tell you how many times in the last year I’ve thought about committing suicide. If it wasn’t for the medication I take, my dogs, and my mother; I wouldn’t be here right now. I’m not less than because of my Depression, GAD, or OCD. They don’t make me a flawed person. I used to think I was pretty resilient, but I’m not bulletproof.
Jesus and I haven’t been besties this past year either. I started writing this because I don’t know where I stand with God right now. I think back on the past year of my life and wonder if this is how Jesus felt that night in the garden of Gethsemane. His friends couldn’t even stay awake and grieve with him. He prayed for God to take this cup from him. He begged him. In this moment we see Jesus’ humanity, that even though he was special and was sent here for a purpose. I often wonder if there is a purpose in all this suffering. Jesus say’s,
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Mark 14:34
I can’t help but wonder if Jesus felt the things I’m feeling. Why do bad things happen and why has my life been so full of it this past year? Maybe I need to be as hungry for God as I am for a piece of good life.
I don’t know, all I can do is take the days one minute at a time and put one foot in front of the other. I read a quote by Ernest Hemingway recently that said,
“Write hard and clear about what hurts”
Maybe that’s all I can do. Maybe what I write would show someone they’re not alone, I know I could’ve used that this past year.
May 2018 be a year of healing, peace, grace, intentional being, finding yourself, and letting people know they’re not alone.
I want to talk about it but I don’t know how. I’m scared of offending other people, but what about those that offend me?
I guess I should learn to care less.
I am depressed. Drowning in it actually. I thought about killing myself last night, planned the ways I would leave things.
But before you judge, or say life is worth living, take a minute to walk in my shoes.
I have cancer, it doesn’t matter what kind, it’s still a disease meant to kill. I spend my days in pain and alone. My dogs are literally what keeps me alive. Money is so tight, it’s non-existent. I can’t afford my Dr visits or to see my therapist. Lately our car, meaning the only one we have, is in dangerous conditions. My anxiety and OCD is uncontrollable now. I was fired from my first job because of my sickness. I feel worthless. I literally see none of the people I called my friends or hear from them. I don’t see my family and at this point feel like they don’t care about me. My mom works too hard for what she makes and for someone who doesn’t appreciate her. She won’t see about her health and I worry about that. I have no idea about my academic life and and barely surviving the semester.
I don’t say anything because I feel it makes me week and let’s be honest, people look at you differently when you’re honest about what you feel.
They want “I’m fine” not “I’m not okay.”
So until you spend a day in my mind, don’t tell me what I feel.
I still believe in God. It’s just harder to these days.
“At times it seems, if for no other reason than the size of the global population, that there has never been more pain, more disease, more famine, and more heartbreak on the planet than now, and yet God has trusted you with this moment in history! You are to be a force for good on this earth. Chayil. When everything around you is in the midst of chaos, when your own world is quaking, you are to be she who rises… she finds her brave and she rises.”
I’m not gonna lie, I’m scared. I’m so afraid that I’m going to die from this cancer. This past 5 months have been the hardest since I was diagnosed. I’ve argued with God, I’ve said that I don’t know if he cares about me. I pray and hope and wish and nothing seems to change.
It’s been 11 months on the 8th that I’ve know I’ve had cancer. It’s taken every. thing. from me. I’m on a medicine that is right up there with chemotherapy drugs. My hair is falling out, my vision has changed, bright light gives me a headache, I’m in pain all the time, I sweat like I’m running from the popo, I forget a lot of things, most of all it took away the person I worked so hard to become. My self-confidence is shattered. Like so many pieces I don’t know where to begin shattered.
As most of you know, as part of my treatment plan I’ve elected to have gastric bypass. I’ve completed every task, yet because of insurance changes and too many hands in the basket I legitimately don’t know when I’ll have it. Y’all, this could be the difference between life or death…
Now that I’ve told you all the dark and dirty let me tell you where I’m going with this.
Last knight about 4am I lost it. Crying, sobbing, thinking I’m literally losing my ever loving mind right here. I’m afraid of dying, afraid of this cancer, afraid of never amounting to anything, afraid of never find true love, and afraid I’ll never get the chance to hold my babies. Afraid that God has forgot me. Then my precious momma told me, “Samantha, there is not anything more you can do tonight. Give it to God and go to bed.” I’ve been struggling with this past semester, between the fatigue and the memory loss I didn’t know if I’d make. Today at 9:30pm I finished my final paper of the year and submitted. I gave it to God and he gave me the strength to persevere. When I was sobbing I looked at the verse of the day and it said,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
James 1:2-7 NIV
A little after that it goes on to say, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
James 1:12 NIV
I had never had such peace as I did when I read that. I don’t interpret this to mean everything will work and be sunshine and dasies, but that out of the ashes something will come if it. I don’t know what the next day holds. All I can to do is put one foot in front of the other. Faith it till I make it. Put on my brave and give it to God.
You know in the Bible it talks about things growing and Jesus uses the comparison on plants. If you really think about it, plants go through a lot to even get to the surface. I wonder if that’s my life? I don’t mean to sound woe is me or seek pity, but life has never been easy for me or my family. I have nothing but fond memories of my childhood but once I started school things turned pretty crappy. Dad was sick a lot, I was bullied, I didn’t make friends easily. I could seam a lot of psychological issues from that but I won’t. I digress and move to the past few years. Dad died, we moved from my childhood home, and then I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a pretty rough day yesterday, I just didn’t see the meaning of it all and why o’ why did this happen to me and my family? It’s not fair, but then I heard this song
And I wondered if I’m being planted to bloom into something beautiful for His glory? I heard the lyrics and it kinda gives it some clarity.
“Down in the dirt buried deep
There is a promise there’s a seed
And with some sun and with some rain
A little shelter from the pain
With some patience and some time you’ll see It grow”
Maybe that’s what we are in life, seeds to be planted. We go through drought and rain, wind and sun, and then we break the surface and see the fruits of our labor. God promises good to come to those who love Him. I have to believe He will make beauty from these ashes or a flowers from these seeds.
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…