Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Cancer Sucks - Life Interrupted
My first experience with cancer was during my teen years when my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Eventually, the cancer spread to the bones and although she fought a long hard battle, cancer won the war. I didn't really understand what cancer meant at that time but I knew I hated the word. At 17 years old, I drove my Nanny to Pinehurst and waited while she had chemotherapy treatment. I'll never forget how sick she was and how hard she battled for her life during that time. I'll also always remember the last time I saw her and how much it hurt to lose someone I loved so much before I was ready.
My next personal experience with cancer was when my aunt was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. She battled cancer for years and thought she had beat it several times. I thought if anyone could win against this disease it was Faye Carpenter. She was the toughest person I knew, but in the end cancer won the war. This time, I watched cancer take an emotional toll on my daughter when she lost her favorite aunt and someone who she had such a close relationship with. That was one of the most difficult times of our life and I prayed I would never again have to see my daughter experience the pain of knowing someone she loves has cancer.
Almost a year to the date of my Aunt Faye's death, cancer deicded to attack my family again. This time the battle is with me. Now, that word I hate so badly, the word that has taken so many of my loved ones is now trying to take me on. If you know me, you know I often joke that things rarely go "my way". I seem to have to fight harder than most for everything and my life has been one hard knock after another. Some of this is my own fault and the result of bad decisions and some of it just dropped into my life for reasons unknown. I've often complained that my life is difficult, that I have to fight for every little thing and that I always seem to need to work harder than most for much less. I know now that was God's way of making me strong and preparing me for this battle.
For as far back as I remember I have worked 2 jobs, sometimes 3 to support my little family. I always took for granted the thought that things were going along well, that I was making it and my life was "working". I never realized that things were fine as long as every little thing went as planned without interruptions or unexpected problems. Every once in awhile a little snag would come along but I was able to figure out a way to get by and keep moving forward. Then came cancer. I'm learning that cancer is nothing like the little snags in my life plan I have experienced before. Cancer tries to not only destroy your body, but your financial state, your emotional state and the entire life you have taken for granted.
I hate that cancer is making my life so difficult. I hate that it has interrupted my plans and taken away my ability to make decisions. I know I'm going to need to get past the anger of how this disease is trying to destroy my life and I'm going to learn to handle this and keep battling. I can learn to be tougher than I was. The one thing I hate more than what cancer is doing to me is having to watch what MY cancer is doing to my family. I can handle just about anything. I can deal with what cancer is trying to do to my life, but when I see cancer hurt my family it makes me more angry than anyone can imagine.
I have always tried to take care of the people in my life. I try to make everyone happy. It bothers me when people around me are sad or in need. This characteristic has gotten me in trouble more times than I'd like to admit, but its my nature and I'm not sure it will ever change. I don't really know how to put myself first or take care of me and that will probably be one of the hardest lessons throughout this. I want to make everything OK for the people I love. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt when I see the burdens they are dealing with because of me. I'm not sure how to deal with those emotions. I don't like that cancer is trying to take over my life but I HATE that it is trying to destroy the happiness of the people I love the most.
I saw a poster recently with 2 powerful words - "Cancer Sucks". That about sums it up. This disease is evil and can strike anyone without notice, but it doesn't stop with the one whose body it invades. It takes over the lives of everyone around its target and for that I hate cancer!