Kara’s Collection: Gulp!

From an article originally posted June 5, 2013…

I know a few people that this post is going to upset. Please forgive me in advance. From nearly the beginning of this journey, it was made clear that moving forward after cancer can be difficult. One goes from constant, in your face, life changing, interrupting, painful treatment to.... Well, for me, today. Dr. Doug talked to me about the sick and the worried well. From the start, I didn’t want to be the worried well. I wanted to be DONE! My life back, my old normal back to my new normal. Emotional drains done, fear done! Cancer GONE. With hormone treatment for ten years and a hysterectomy on the horizon, it was enough to think on. It only took a small portion of my brain. Cancer always looms, always tries to steal peace. Every ache, every abnormality steals peace.

When I finished radiation a nurse sat me down to discuss going forward. She ended by telling me to do breast exams. WHAT? Didn’t I get rid of those? Didn’t I go through excruciating surgery to not have to worry about that again? Well, no.

So, I complied. I found an angry lymph node. I tried to ignore it. Kind of like you ignore a bruise that is so satisfying to poke over and over and OVER. I told Jason. We couldn’t take it in. I decided to wait until we were done with vacation to give it attention. I wish I knew how to make a pie graph from day one to today to show the mind space it occupied. I didn’t want to tell people because I’m sick of it. Sick of my story feeling like it will never end. But every day... Well, it just sucked my life away. If I did mention it, I saw worry grow in people. So I quit. But I did make an appointment with my trusty oncologist to get it checked. An hour before my appointment, I lost all my peace. So I contacted our pastor Mark. I wanted to know someone was praying. Friends came to keep the kids and prayed.

Suffice it to say, the doctor took one look at me and said my whole system is angry from radiation. He said I’m so badly burned right now my lymphatic system is on red alert. He will be watching it and is confident it will calm down as my burned skin calms down. He had tests run and talked through future stuff with me. I love my oncologist.

Then Jason and I drove home. In silence. Tired silence. I realized I hadn’t eaten. Partnered with the anxiety and the taking of blood, I felt tanked. I thought I would be the best at survivorship. I’m not. I may be the worst. Maybe because I tried too hard to carry this alone. That whole toughie act isn’t so tough. I guess I will have to be needy, dependent, spent, and begging for grace. It’s not a bad place to be. I’m just tired of it.

I know I will hear from some of you. Be gracious to me. I didn’t want to not tell you, I just didn’t want to be sick anymore.

On a brighter note. It’s time to celebrate this gift. Love. I love her. Went with her friends last night to watch the Croods. Love! Kind of our story, moving from fear to living. It’s not easy, but worthy.