Nine days ago I discovered I have cancer. Wow, so much has happened in such a short time. My emotions are pretty volatile. Most of the time I am calm and have such a sense of God’s peace and his protection about me. Then suddenly I am angry, or extremely irritable, or grieved and crying. The littlest things can set me off on one of these emotional breaks. I am not sure how to manage my normal life when something so all consuming has taken over.
I am an introvert. I need time alone to process, to recuperate, to restore my soul. The past nine days I have been overwhelmed with people – doctors, nurses, technicians. accounts payable, pharmacists, lab techs, friends, family members, and phone calls. I try to remember that cancer is a “family” illness, but sometimes I want to scream, “I am the one who is sick here! Can you all just get away from me and leave me alone” I have been poked and prodded, and probed way too many times in unimaginable ways. People casually discussing my private body functions. I know they do this every day, but I don’t.
Truthfully, I am eternally grateful for their knowledge, skill, and expertise. I am grateful for their compassion toward me and their desire to see me well. But I am very tired of people. Right now I just want to crawl in my bed and hide from the world.
In my short experience with cancer I have found that cancer doctors, cancer nurses, and cancer patients are the kindest people I have ever met, seriously. I hope people will be able to say this of me too.
Today I went back to the radiation oncologist to have my simulation done. This is the process where they measure my body and mark my skin to show where the radiation beams will be directed. They also made a custom immobilization device for me that will be used to hold me in the exact position each time I receive radiation.
During the simulation, I was lying on the CT table and was overcome with emotion. Reality seems to break through in tiny spurts, I guess because God knows that’s all I can handle at once. What am I doing here? How can this be my life? This is all so surreal. I start to cry. The nurse brings me a tissue and reassures me. They begin to move the table into the CT machine and tell me to remain still. How can I be still when I’m about to start sobbing? Focus, Laura, breathe deep, God is here. So I begin to sing “Jesus Loves Me” to myself. Not out loud or they will hear me on the intercom…I am mouthing the words over and over. I sing all the songs I used to sing to my children when they were babies. Keeping my focus on Jesus. He is here. I can do this.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
“…whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” James 1:2