“That’s me in the corner, That’s me in the spotlight, Losing my Religion…”
Move over Rover, Cancer has taken over…
I’m almost done with my fourth line of treatment (technically my third line of chemotherapy). This one is doing what every other regimen has done, kept me stable, and kept the cancer at bay. I should be satisfied, but I am not. I want it gone. Since camp I have lost four friends to this insidious disease. I hate what it has done, not just to me, but to my family. Things that are certain, are no longer certain. I think the most disruptive thing it did was cause me to question my religion.
I have always heard that God never gives you more than you can handle. Then the first uncertain thing happened. My son was diagnosed with autism when he was two. I read a blog post, or a poem, called “A Trip To Holland,” so instead of Italy, we are going to Holland, land of Tulips and wooden clogs. Holland had many adventures– to include adverse affects from immunizations, seizures, child abuse at school, etc… But there was always God and Jesus to take the burdens.
Then my dad died. It was unexpected, but expected. Dad was not very good at taking care of himself. He believed in miracles. He made his dreams come true. He lived in the best place in the world, Disney. He loved and lived. He passed away from a heart attack. This put our family into a tailspin. I stayed with my mom a few weeks, and my daughter stayed there for a little bit longer. My mom was thrown into widowhood, and I was thrown into a slight depression. At this time, I started to notice that my back pain from 2014 was returning. I thought it was from switching from outdoor running to treadmill running in the humid summer.
In October, my daughter started stating that she was going to commit suicide. She would have tantrums that turned violent. I was kicked in the face at one point. She started to put on weight. It was unreal. We eventually had to have her hospitalized at nine years old. We discovered that she had ADHD. Again, ADHD is something we can handle.
In November and December, I started to feel more and more symptoms. I felt tired all the time, I would go running, and feel done. I wrote it off as stress, depression, whatever you can call it. I also felt a huge amount of guilt. I was too tired to do my normal routine. Looking back on the schedule– I got my daughter into counseling appointments, Occupational Therapy, sleep studies, and eating counseling; Ryan needed ABA therapy, OT, ST, and Neurology every three months, which was a drive to Pensacola Beach; and I was seeing a personal therapist and marital counseling.
In January, I went in again to complain about whatever was going on. I was tired, I was having difficulty breathing, I had a backache. Something was wrong. I ended up leaving in tears, after the doctor forgot about my appointment. I switched to Tricare Standard. Saw a new doctor. She ended up suspecting that I had a silent heart attack. I had an odd heartbeat, and she could hear fluid in my lungs. I got a lung x-ray. I had a large pleural effusion in my right lung. Within two days, I was diagnosed with cancer, stage IV.
Every day since then, I prayed and begged God for my life. I prayed that He would cure me. That He would take this burden from me. I prayed that my children would not be left motherless. I have seen, and experienced what happens to children when a parent dies. Even at 40, it is difficult, but kids are 12 and soon-to-be 14. I can’t take the thoughts what it’s going to be like without me– I know it sounds selfish, but that’s the thought that depresses me the most. I don’t want to die early. I want to see the milestones– I want to see my son walk the graduation walk, I want to see my daughter get into her dream college (which right now is “the best college ever” for math and engineering), I want to see my daughter married, I want to meet my grandkids. I don’t want to be the picture in the corner, or the person that people will tell my kids to get over already (I have heard someone say that to a child of a cancer patient). I don’t want them to tailspin out of control. And God is not listening. He has stolen four friends on this Earth. And now none of the treatments are working completely, but it is not gone. I hop from one treatment to another. I have been abandoned and my children are being abandoned. How can I believe in someone who is not supposed to give me more than I can handle, when I cannot handle this? How can I feel that He has this, and the burden is not mine, when it is hurting my family? So here I am sitting in my corner, in my spotlight, slowly losing my religion…