Out of the ashes.

“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.

Giving Thanks.

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.

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Light and shadows.

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.

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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.img_2745

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.

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Life and little bit of this and that.

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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…

Some advice from the sick person.

I’ve noticed that a Cancer diagnosis or really an chronic illness is a death sentence to many relationships and friendships. You can almost be assured that people who you thought would be there, aren’t and people you never expected, will. I’m feeling some type of way about this right now. I’ve never been miss popularity, my personality is between you either like me or you don’t. I’m always kinder than necessary but don’t mistake that for weakness, I can be venomous when called for. However, I surround myself with the best people I know. Real recognizes real, I’m a firm believer in that. My point with this is to give you some advice from the sick persons perspective. When my dad died I thought my world stopped, but then when I was told “it is cancer” I stopped breathing, the world stopped moving and the realization that I could die hit me harder than a train collision. If I thought losing my dad made me take stock, well I don’t even know what this is. Every day I’m alive is a blessing, every moment I get to spend with those I love are moments to live for. If you know me, you know I’m an introvert. I don’t have a ton to say but you can be assured I’m always thinking but what this means for me is that I’d rather send you a text than talk to you in person. This diagnosis has made me realize how much time I don’t spend with people I love and care for…

So this is my advice to you, as well as myself; don’t worry about saying the right thing, just. Be. There. Make your love and presence known. We know you’re sorry and hate this for us. We hate it too, trust me. But don’t let that keep you from us. Spend time together even when you think you don’t have time, you do. Make time for those you truly care about. You aren’t promised tomorrow. Call, text, email, send a carrier pigeon. But be present in this life. Spend every moment you can with those you love. Some more truth from the sick persons perspective; we get lonely. We already have something that sets us apart, we generally can’t do some of the things healthy folks can or maybe we’re in pain and just can’t get out of the house. Either way, we feel left out and so far removed from those who are closest to us. Don’t let that keep you from making plans with us. Trust me when I say we know our limits and we’ll let you know them. My point is, you’re scared for us but we’re scared too. Don’t let that keep you from us. We aren’t promised tomorrow.

The blog I wish I never had to write.

I’ve racked my brain trying to find the words to write but I keep erasing them because they seem false. If only that was the case. I have Uterine Cancer. I appreciate everyone asking how I am but I’m not ok. I’m in quite a bit of pain from the surgery. My world has been turned upside down. I’m angry, so angry. What did I do to deserve this much grief in my lifetime? Did I bring this all in myself? It’s not fair… I don’t have any answers for you. We don’t know the stage or grade yet. I don’t know what they’ll want to do moving forward. I see the gynecologic oncologist on Wednesday, the 20th. I appreciate the concern and ask for prayer, for healing, for faith, for strength, for answers.

To mama,

momI love you more than you can possibly know. You are the best mom anyone could ask for, you let me be me and find myself in this crazy world and when it hurts my heart you are there to lend an ear and a shoulder to cry on. I’m so much like you, I’m always kinder than necessary, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I’m fiercely independent, I love to read, I love to travel by myself and explore new places but I always love to come home. I’m a lot like my dad too, I have a heart bigger than my who body, I have one hell of a temper, I’m fiercely loyal, I care more than I should, I’m constantly thinking, I love to tinker and can fix anything, I’m not great at sharing my feelings. I miss him, I know you do too. It’s hard here without him. I wonder sometimes, too, why it was his time to go. He’s forever in our hearts and never far from our minds. He made the world a better place and was one of a kind. You know what we were talking about tonight? The one thing I didn’t tell you is I hope he is playing a part in picking him out. You know what’s going on in our lives now and you know how incredibly hard it is, but one thing I know that you don’t, is how incredibly strong you are. You are who I want to be when I grow up. We can do this, despite the days that tell us we can’t. Thank you for being you and showing me how to be. Thank you for letting me explore and travel and do and just be. It means more than anything.

I love you, forever and always.