So put on some music, grab a bubbly and be ready to be enlightened; here is my cool cancer perspective:
1. I am blessed.
Even though this is my first thought, it is the last I came to write about. I have had a daughter die, lost an unborn baby, had two precious girls born 6 weeks premature and lost the innocence of my delivery, had a son born 8 weeks premature who has faced more setbacks in his short life than most have in a lifetime. I have dealt with ignorance of strangers, 'family' and 'friends'. I have fought for a very long time.
After my diagnosis, I thought 'Life sucks, why am I even here?' I had no fight left in me. But then the blessings came. My Cancer is a blessing. Through my mourning, my sorrow and my dark hours God showed me the light. I treasure every minute. I try to live each day as if it were my last, because I could die any day. The family that has dropped everything to be by my side amazed me. The friends who have gone above and beyond what a normal friendship is to make sure I wasn't alone, we didn't starve, or we had money for gas, parking and medical expenses literally leaves me speechless. I have met amazing women fighting the same fight as me, who have shared intimate details of their life with me. I have had so many prayers from complete strangers. The people who have taken time away from their family, friends, and jobs to be there for us is incredible. Lastly, I am a blessed mother and wife. My children are amazing. They are smart, gorgeous little beings. They don't see my bald head or my rash, they see me for who I am. I have a husband who endlessly loves me. It's not easy to love someone who is dying, but, in our own way, we make it work.
Look at all the things I listed. I am bursting at the seams with blessings. I could name a thousand more, but I named the most important ones. Find the blessings in your life, they are there! You just have to be grateful and open enough to see them for what they are: A gift from God.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
2. There is a season and a reason certain people are in your life.
Some friends and family have stepped up and some have stepped back. I am learning that I need to concentrate on what is in front of me. Like I said above, I am blessed; my family and friends who are here are here for a reason. I believe that reason is to bless me. I need to let the people who are here now know how much they mean to me. Ashley wrote a great post about friends, which I pertain to family as well. Some of the people here with me on the journey have no idea how much they mean to me. I need to tell them more often. Like Ashley says in her post, I want to be the kind of friend that I would want to have. I now know what true friendship is and what true family means. I am not angered by the people who have abandoned me- there is a season and a reason there were in my life and gone now; and I am okay with that.
"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
3. Things could be worse.
I sat down in my chemo chair, usually surrounded by older women, but today was different. I sat down across from a beautiful young woman with her friend, and something about her was different- she was 33 weeks pregnant. She found out at 7 weeks pregnant that she had Breast Cancer and would need chemo upon weekly targeted therapies, deliver her son and within two weeks need a bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy. There was no way to do any scans on her, and she had no idea if her cancer had metastasized elsewhere. She not only had to worry about herself, but her unborn son. Her innocence was stripped away. The normalcy of what should be a joyful pregnant woman was shattered. There was nothing normal about this. This bring me to my third point- I have 3 overall healthy, gorgeous children whom, despite their issues, are here, alive. The twins were the most normal pregnancy I had, and I enjoyed every single minute of it. This woman would never have that chance. So next time you think you have it bad, remember, things could be worse. Enjoy your life for what it is really worth because if someone like me, or this young, first time Mom can- so can you.
"Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful."
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
4. God is a true mystery (And who am I to try and figure Him out?)
I sure do feel like Job most days, but like in Job I am reminded my place. Where was I when the Earth was formed (Job 38:4)? Have I ever walked in the chambers of the deep sea (Job 28:16)? No. I haven't. I know nothing about the lion, mountain goat, wild ox, or hawk (Job 38:39-41; 39:1-30). I respond like Job and say "Who am I to try and figure out that which I do not understand? I ponder things I do not understand and 'wonders beyond my comprehension'." When God speaks to me, I will listen. I have faith. No matter what is directed at me, I will not question. My God loves me unconditionaly. He gave me his only Son. He has blessed me with far more than I deserve. If I could sit across the porch from God, I'd thank Him for all He has given me.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Last but not least . . .
5. Life really isn't that bad.
Now, this doesn't just pertain to me, this pertains to the millions of people that think their life is wretched. I read every day on Facebook about how horrible so-and-so's life is because of one trivial thing or another. If you have the above things in perspective then trust me, your life really isn't that bad. There is no point complaining, or hurting yourself because God is great, you are blessed, you have people that love you and there is always someone fighting a greater battle than you. If I can figure this out so can you- so suck it up and enjoy your life!
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Notes from Cancerland: It's been one month and one day since my last chemo. My labs came back great today which meant I was good to go for chemo numero dos. Unfortunately my calcium was too low to get my shot of Xgeva. I have to start taking more Calcium every day. The nurse measured my right breast tumor and said it felt 'spongier' and appeared to have shrunk 1 centimeter. I started Abraxane today and had my dose of Herceptin. I won't need Neulasta since my infusion times are weekly. Abraxane went off without a hitch! Just praying for minimal side effects now! Rock On!!