If I am completely honest with you all I’d have to admit that the last month or so, I felt like I’d fallen in a pit and I couldn’t quite hoist myself out.
I tried. I really tried. I’d wake up in the morning and think, “I’m just going to have a great day today and these are all the things I’m going to get done…..”
And then I’d do the things I absolutely had to, like go to treatment and work for a couple of hours and then I’d come home a sit on the couch and stare out the window. I didn’t want to talk much. I didn’t want to answer e-mail or texts. I didn’t want to engage in much of anything. I was pretty okay with just sitting.
I also thought about dying. A lot. Like planning my funeral and imagining all kinds of death bed scenes. Crazy stuff that had never been in my head before. I was having a really hard time figuring out where this was coming from. I couldn’t really be in a better place as far as cancer activity in my body. There isn’t any that we can detect at this point and so why was I obsessed with death when all things pointed to the fact that I wasn’t going anywhere soon?
Then several things happened over the last week or two that have helped me climb out of that pit.
The first was when my new radiology oncologist looked at me at my last visit and said, “You know. I know you have the reputation of being the cheerful cancer patient and all, but you don’t always have to be. You’ve been through a lot. It’s okay to feel that sometimes.”
The second is that we’ve been blessed with some really beautiful, warm sunny days. Like the kind of days that you can get away with just a jacket. The sky has been unbelievably blue. We don’t get days like that in February. Usually the first three months of the year are a slog through gray dreary days punctuated with a snow fall here and there. These past few days have been a gift.
My sister came and stayed with me. She feeds my soul and I love her so much. JD was out of town so we even slept in the same bed again like we did when we were kids. Except this time she didn’t wake me up every morning wanting me to braid her hair. But I totally would have if she’d asked.
I have a wonderful lady that does some energy work with me and helps me just sort through my thoughts and points me in the right direction. She let me know that at about this time in a journey like this, it is very common to hit a sort of wall and have to work a bit to get through it. And also that the radiation affects the neurotransmitters and can make you a feel a bit out of sorts.
Then this morning, we went to our church where the music was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. Our pastor also gave the best sermon on not making wrongful use of the name of the Lord that I’ve ever heard.
And then we went to Bob’s class where he was teaching Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl”. Now, don’t be feeling like the only one who has no idea what this poem is about. It’s out there. But the lesson for me was that you have to sometimes get to the very bottom of the pit before you can begin to climb out.
I feel like that is what has happened. And to be honest, it is hard for me to even admit I was struggling. But I need to voice it in order to move on. Perhaps it will even help someone who finds themselves in a similar situation. Once a few people told me it was a normal place to be, I was able to accept that and start feel better. I’m beginning to reconcile my faith with the very human emotions of walking through something really scary.
I don’t think it is any coincidence that all of these things happened one right after the other. God has shown His faithfulness through so many people and places and things during this whole journey. This time He chose to use a doctor, music, an alternative practitioner, a college professor, family, friends and a beat poet to move me out of a hard place. I love His creativity.
I think my problem revealed itself in the first couple of sentences of this post. I was trying to get out of this place by myself. That’s not how it is meant to be. I’m still learning that very important lesson. I’m grateful for His patience with me.