What a journey this diagnosis has been. Five months that I would not want anyone to ever go through, but so many graces along the way that I may have never experienced. I know there have been challenges, and I’ve shared some in this blog, but I want to set my sights on the many, many graces.
Many of those graces have been through reconnected friend and family relationships. Nothing like cancer to bring people together huh?
When I was first diagnosed I thought “how can I keep this private”. I wanted to be strong enough to do this on my own. I am always the one offering help, I’m not suppose to be the one receiving it. Boy, did God have different plans for me!
What a humbling experience, receiving comfort, help and love from other. Unconditional blessings from so many. But reconnecting with so many has been the sunshine in my days.
Cousins I have lost touch with…calling to see how I’m doing and expressing their love and strength of me. Friends reaching out for lunches and calls. Family embracing me tight. Oh the amazing blessings I am receiving.
Friends that were so important to me in the early years of my marriage. Many of us married the same year and had babies the same year. Then life happens and moves to different towns creating Christmas card relationships, yet always close in heart
But cancer reunited us. And I am so joy filled.
* a friend that has brought dinner, taken me to appointments, been a chemo buddy and shared her deep faith
* an out of state friend who now regularly calls to see how I’m doing and makes me laugh
* high school friends, who’s wife and I were long-haired brunette soul mates sending cards and gifts of dinner
* my brothers family never failing to send hilarious and heartfelt cards every single week
* each of my sisters taking time from their families to stay with me, cry with me and laugh with me
* my brother and sister-in-law who have been here every week with a homemade meal or two, filled with healthy ingredients to help me heal
* a wonderful pastor that understands and encourages, as he too is a survivor
* a simple unexpected text or facebook message of support from a distant friend
* so, so, so many more friends with prayers, lunches, and love
With my daughters return to Phoenix and my husband and son doing so much through the evenings and weekends, it has been an incredible and humbling journey with a parade of loved ones.
Earlier this month, my younger sister came in for a visit. I had not seen her for a year, but talked frequently on the phone. While Kevin was bringing in her luggage, she came in to hug me. Now picture this, it’s late, I’m home waiting in pajamas, no wig or scarf, no makeup to hide the dark circles, draw in the eyebrows or thicken the few lashes left. She embraced me and said “oh, you look like a cancer patient”.
I could have been taken back, I could have been offended or saddened. But surprisingly I was not. I am a cancer patient, she just said out loud what many are thinking and what I see every day in my mirror. But it DOES NOT define me, it may describe my physical appearance this month or year, but it is NOT who I am!
I embrace the side effects because of all the relationships it has reconnected. Cancer for me has had many side effects, but I’m focusing on the positive ones, all the wonderful people that have reached out through cards, text, meals, calls, emails, visits and chemo buddies to fight with me as they love me through it.
When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.
Grace embraced through all the love and support of family and friends, thank you all for every moment you have thought of me or prayed for me, I am truly blessed.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself…Mark 12:31