From a blog originally posted August 3, 2012
July 23 will forever be a day that shaped our family. The previous Monday was also a game changer, when the radiologist told us he was almost certain I had cancer. He told us we needed to see a breast surgeon as I needed to have significant surgery.
The moments I remember about July 23 are only bits and pieces. We did not expect the pathology of my biopsy to have come in yet. First thing when the breast surgeon sat down, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “I have the report this morning, and you do, in fact, have cancer.” From that point, I felt like Charlie Brown in school. Wah, wah, wah... Mastectomy...wah, wah, wah... you will lose all your hair... wah, wah, wah... aggressive cancer. I kept looking at my dear friend we brought along to take notes. With tears in her eyes, she was frantically writing. She kept telling me she was getting it all.
We left the office and sat in the car for a very long time and cried. All three of us just wept. I said I wanted to meet with our pastor, but he was at lunch. So we all decided to go to Whole Foods and buy something to eat. Isn’t that what you do when you have cancer? Decide it’s time for Whole Foods? I wandered the aisles and found some berries and water.
The tears continued as we met with our pastor and his wife. We prayed and simply shared what information we could piece together from our meeting. My sweet note taker called our medically minded family who wanted specifics. I remember calling my father-in-law who is so dear to me; he could not even speak. He actually hung up on me.
Several weeks later, Jason and I still feel in a fog. We are constantly managing kids and endless appointments, some humbling and discouraging, others hopeful and encouraging. Every night we look at one another and cannot believe this is our new normal. We process the endless appointments and try to come up for air. Yesterday, Jason and I went for a walk and talked about his job. It was five blocks of bliss where we never talked about cancer.
We have so much help, but I don’t want help. I want my mundane life from two weeks ago back. Yet, this is our story, our new normal. We are fighting to see the grace, but it is certainly a fight.
Today my big sister flies home to Indiana. Her support through this hard week was amazing. I see now that the people I love now have a new normal as well. Cancer changes things. Cancer not only changes your appearance, it changes your outlook, it changes your ability to have small talk. Cancer steals joy, cancer wants to steal my identity. But cancer also makes me appreciate every snuggle, every kiss. It causes me to look at my moments as precious and the people around me as gifts. Cancer has changed my chemistry, but it has also changed my perspective. I have lived as a glutton, gorging myself on life without truly tasting it. I hate cancer and I love cancer. Jesus has a lot to show me in the coming months. I pray I am an apt student.