Sunday, November 10, 2013

Big News

Besides, of course, the big news that I am checking into the hospital for chemo tomorrow for the last time! I will be there through Friday and will get to ring the glorious bell before leaving. For those that don't know, when you finish chemo you get to ring a bell in the infusion clinic and all the other cancer patients clap for you. Expect a video.

As I was saying, though, there is other big news. We are moving... to... WISCONSIN! I never in a million years dreamed I would one day be living in Wisconsin, but we're doing it! Michael got an incredible job offer from an incredible company (what can I say? He's brilliant) and I'm really excited about it. He'll begin work at the beginning of February and it just feels like the perfect thing to do. After a crazy year, I just need to get out and start fresh somewhere as a non-cancerous woman.
Cheese seems to be the only thing anyone
(including myself) knows about Wisconsin.
But really, what else do you need to know
when deciding to uproot your life and move
Other than that, I don't have much to say, just pictures to share. These are not particularly flattering, but they are some really special, intimate pictures that I feel capture what a lot of the last year has been like for Michael and I.

Too tired to turn and face the camera. Even
though neither of us is looking, I kind of
love this picture.
That one time Michael brought the Atari for me to play at
the hospital.

I don't remember this, but judging from the shirt it was
last week.

I think this picture might be hard for some people to see
because I just look so sick and so tired, but this is what
the real, no-makeup, no-wig, sick-in-the-hospital cancer
looks like. Oh, and my arms are up like that because
Michael was just walking in for a surprise visit. Those
are my "hug me" arms.
Texas trip

Because I know everyone loves PDA on
the Internet. Just kidding, but it's my blog
so I do what I want. Boo ya. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giving Credit where Credit is Due

I am very aware that not everyone who reads this shares my religious views. With that being said, I do not apologize for the things I believe in. I do apologize if anything I say comes of as offensive or naive. I assure you that I have nothing but love for all of you. I have cried on the phone to an atheist who brought me great comfort, laughed with a dear gay friend as he cheered me up. An agnostic friend has made it a priority to call me regularly to see how I'm doing. These people, all people, are precious to me for the goodness that is within them and I hope you all know that I love you for who you are.

That being said, I want to share some really sacred experiences with you about having cancer. Things that have pulled me through and given me a renewed desire to live.

1. We believe in something called the priesthood. Here on this earth the responsibility of using the priesthood to bless others rests on the men of the church. They use God's power to bless the lives of others (men, women, children, the sick, tired, lonely, elderly...) It seems to me that every month or so I feel like I just can't do it on my own. My body and spirit are breaking and I don't know what to do so I often ask Michael for a blessing. The words he speaks are inspired and often have the immediate effect of my body being encompassed by peace and the love of my Heavenly Father. Time and time again the words Michael speaks in those blessings address fears and concerns I haven't even spoken about with Michael. One time before I knew I had cancer, but was experiencing excruciating pain in my knees from "bursitis," I asked Michael for a blessing. He told me I would become an example to the women of my church and the pain  in my leg would eventuality diminish. I wrote those words down in my journal even though they didn't make sense at the time, and months later began sobbing as I read those words. That blessing was true. Through my experience with cancer, so many women have come and told me what an example I am to them and low and behold the pain in my leg, as a result of a painful but successful surgery, is usually nonexistent. Like many personal spiritual experiences, this one personally showed me that God was there looking out for me and was very aware of my circumstances. He knew even then the pain and suffering I was about to endure in order to be healed.

2. I went through a phase where I was constantly terrified of death. I didn't want to die and felt almost with a certainty that that would be my fate. I talked to a friend that is very very special to me, Amy, and she said something to the point of, "Maybe whether you live or die isn't really the important thing you should be focusing on, but how you live your life." I completely believe those words were inspired because she changed my life. When I stop to think about it I do start to feel anxiety about leaving this beautiful world that I love, but ultimately what's important is what I choose to do with my life now.

3. There have been many times when I have just laid down in bed and cried, feeling overwhelmed by pain, sickness, and the seemingly never ending road before me of just more sickness and pain. In those moments I truly have felt God's arms wrapped around me filling me with his love and peace. He doesn't always take away the pain, but he does always remind me of the love he has for me.

There are so many more things I could share with you about how God really has assisted me and my family on this wild journey. However, I think the most important thing is that you know that I know, that through all this I have never been alone. I have felt inexplicable peace during times of immense trials. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for loving me and supporting me through this crazy journey regardless of my sometimes imperfect faith and occasionally drowning myself in unwarranted self-pity.