Friday, August 6, 2010

This Hurts

There have been a few times in my life that I have felt such acute emotional pain and fear that I knew I would never be the same. Like watching a dear friend sit with her 3-year-old daughter at her side during her mother's funeral, and when another precious friend wept over the coffin of her father. When we dialed 911 after a 10-month-old Goliath had a seizure in his crib...when I endured a hysterectomy and had to dismiss the dream of having the 4th baby that I desperately wanted and would have loved so much...when my brother walked through a seemingly endless, horribly dark time, and I could do nothing but love him and feel helpless...and a few others that are too personal--and sometimes still too hurtful--to share here.
Last Monday was one of those times.
Yes, the PET scan was clear. And I am grateful. What I am still trying to absorb is Dr. M's revelation that there are almost certainly cancer cells--however minuscule--somewhere in my body, just waiting to multiply and form new tumors. Cells have to be a certain size to be detectable by radiology. Just because we can't see them doesn't mean they aren't there. In my case, they probably are.
One of the reasons I love and trust Dr. M is that he is forthcoming with vital information. His job is not a pleasant one; I honestly don't know how he does it day in and day out. My cancer is pretty much guaranteed to come back. We asked him about a timeline for that, and while it was obvious he didn't care for the question, he gave a straightforward answer. If I participate in maintenance chemotherapy, I can have maybe 2 years of "normal" living. If I don't, new tumors can grow in 9-10 months.
That news stopped me dead in my tracks. In 2 years, my Baby will be just six years old. He will be learning to ride a bike without training wheels. Little Middle will be building those mega Lego sets instead of the medium-size ones he loves now. Goliath will be reading encyclopedias for fun and asking crazy questions about stuff we've never heard of. In 2 years, they will still need their mom.
There is still a lot I want to do. I want to have a cabin in the mountains where my Hubby and I can go to be alone. I want to take my kids back to Disney. I want to learn how to decorate cakes. I want to read new books. I want to teach until kids make fun of me for being old. I want to do a Beth Moore Bible study and not skip around on the homework. I want to volunteer and make a difference to someone, somewhere. I want to go to New York with my friends and to Europe with my sister and my mom.
There is so much living left to do!
And that is why I feel so much sadness and fear. Because I know now, with greater clarity than ever before, that my life and my dreams are threatened by The Sickness. Not only will it come back will keep coming back, over and over again. I will never again feel safe from the clutches of cancer. I will always wonder if it is there, secretly lurking and growing. I will always be aware that at this very moment, I might be dying.
Our Bible Study lesson (does anyone call it Sunday School anymore?) this morning was about hypocrisy...why non-believers are so turned off by the Christian community as a whole. We all agreed that it is because our lips and our life don't match up a lot of the time. In other words, we say one thing and do another. I don't want that to be me! I want to be genuine, so that's why I can't say that I'm not scared. My world was rocked last week. I am looking hard for God, but for the first time I feel mad at Him.
At the same time, though, I know that the medical timeline is not the same as the one God has for me. I believe there is still plenty of space for a miracle to happen. There doesn't have to be another recurrence. I am overwhelmed by what I know could happen, but my faith is firm. I will be purposeful in trying to follow the instruction from 2 Timothy 3:14: "But don't let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believe..." (The Message)
Lord, this hurts. I need you to be the strength that I just don't have right now. I believe that you are still good and your plan for me is perfect. Please help me to be real and honest for those who are watching, but most of all, for you. Dry my tears and turn my sorrow into joy. You are more than enough for me.


Stacie said...

Well said. As always. :)

I don't think God is surprised with the anger that we get at times like these. And I think he's giving you a great big hug for running to him with your fears and anger.

I pray that the fact that cancer has a high odd of recurring will not keep you in fear. For that will only make it harder for you to enjoy the life that God has blessed you with. Clearly, you are special Child of God. And he's keeping you here on earth for a good reason.

I say all of this with love, so I hope it comes across that way. There is nothing wrong with being angry with God. And I commend you for running TO Him with it. Not away from Him.

Hang in there! Your boys are so blessed to have you as their Mommy.

I love reading your blog.

Much love,
Stacie Smith
Mommy to Gavin (AT/RT survivor)

Mom said...

I love you with my whole heart. You are the bravest person I know. If I could take every bit of your hurt and fear in me, you already know I would. It doesn't work that way, does it? So I will take every bit of your hurt and fear and all the what-if's that rock our whole family. I will leave them with our Lord, who is the Blessed Controller of All Things. After all, He holds you, my precious daughter, in the palm of His Hands. I love you. You are amazing. I am so glad I got to be your mom.

Mom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carlotta said...

Thank you for being so authentic. It helps me to know how to continue to pray for you and your family. I didn't anticipate this part of your journey. So thanks for putting it out there for believers and non-believers alike who often don't get to see this part of someone's relationship with our Father, this middle part.

Anonymous said...

You continue to amaze me, Allyson. How blessed your friends and family are to have you in their lives. I have cried out many times on your behalf, found myself being angry for you. I thank you for sharing; the real honesty.I will continue to lift you up in prayer. Thank you for allowing us to peak in your window during this journey. Your faith is a true testiment of ultimate trust (and TRUE faith) , even when it hurts!

Kandice said...

I know you want to volunteer and "make a difference to someone somewhere" but just by writing this blog you make a difference to lots of people everywhere!!! You are an inspiration to many..some you know and some you don't..Praying for you..a little angry with you..and LOVE you!!!

Lew said...

Thank you for your openness and willingness to share with us. I don't know you personally, but your blog ministers to me everytime I read it. May the Lord fill you with his love today.

Kandice said... a little angry with you..I didn't meet at you..but along side of you..Sometimes I don't get God either!!!

wilsonfamily said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings with us, Allyson. I was unable to verbalize my thoughts so I thought I would just share a few (or alot) of verses. We ALL love you!!!

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. (Psalm 69:29)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." (Psalm 91:14-15) is impossible for God to lie... (Hebrews 6:18)

Be still and know that I am God... (Psalm 46:10)

I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. (Jeremiah 31:13)

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

For He Himself is our peace... (Ephesians 2:14)

Jesus said, "Behold, I am coming soon!" (Revelation 22:12)

Ps. LOVE the new pics. on your blog! But wondering...where's Abby? :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Allison,
You do not know me, but I have been following your blog. I am a volunteer in Ms. Pat's Children's Ministry with Sugar Creek. I am amazed at your faith, and also ashamed of my pettiness. Your courage and strength make me see things in a God's daughter's perspective. Everything you write makes me just ponder about your walk with Christ, how you tenaciously cling to His Word in everything. I am so thankful to know you, even if just through your blog, and I am also thankful of having met your mom. You are just amazing Christians. In your walk, you are ministering to me.
On another note, let me share with you The Sickness that has invaded our family. My mom, a frail little old lady, she is now 76, was diagnosed with lung cancer over eight years ago. There was no smoker in our house and she was fairly healthy. But The Sickness came. She was seen by a number of doctors just so we are certain of what we were dealing with. Two of the doctors have already said that she has only six months to live, any thing more than that is already a blessing. She went through chemotherapy and radiation therapy, surgery was not an option as the cancer is near the vital organ and it has metastasized already in the brain, spine and arm. And she was already old. All we had was faith and prayer. She went through another round of chemotherapy and radiation. It was awful knowing what she was going through. Our mother, the strong sacrificing person who took care of us, is now like a baby who throws up, can't sleep, can't eat because of the pain and just is miserable. And she was scared, a lot. But God is always in the business of miracle. And you are so right, He has his own timeline for each one of us. We had prayer vigils in different churches both here in the US and the Philippines. Eight years later, inspite the grim prognosis, my mom is still here with us, enjoying life. I hope that her story can give hope to you. God loves you so much, Allison. A lot of people are praying for you and your family.

Sandy said...

Your mighty army of friends and family with God as the leader has you in his/our arms right now. You aren't super human and neither are we. Your thoughts are coming from your heart and oh how we love you for that! I know that I have no idea what I would do if having gone through everything you have lived through! I would have flipped out, but you Alison have done it so accomplished! Hang in there because you are doing GREAT!

HUGS, hugs and more hugs!
Sandy Coombs

Lisa Buffaloe said...

Allyson, I read your post in tears. I continue to pray for your healing.

In your openness, fears, and trust, I know God is pleased. John 4:23, says "true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." Your truth is met with tender, open arms by our Loving God.

Clint said...

I love you so much! I wish I could take all the pain and hurt you feel upon myself. You are the most amazing beautiful person ever and we will fight this with the power of God and anything else we can throw at it. You inspire others, you inspire me. Your heart may feel crushed, but I know your spirit is strong and together we will make it stronger. You aren't going anywhere till I say it's OK, which is never!!!
Love Hubby:
P.S. I can't wait to get back home.

bhayes11 said...

Oh how my heart hurts for you, but at the same time I am so inspired by you. I wish so badly that I could "fix it" for you. I will continue to pray for you and your family.
Betty H

p.s. love the new look of your blog

The Horton Family said...

H. I understand anger. I am sorry you are now feeling it. I still do believe in miracles and I believe the Lord is going to give one to you. I am so sorry you are having to deal with the harsh realities of worldly things. I like that you have a good doc who cares enough to give it to you straight. Please know that I am praying. I will continue to. Along with so many others. You mean so much to us. You are amazing. And you have touched so many lives. God isn't finished with you yet. You are like Hermie and Wormie. :) You are a beautiful creation and we'll be friends for a long long long time.

Reckless said...

Now you made me cry. I guess we are even-steven. Still praying for complete healing. Still trying to teach Bonus that it is completely inappropriate to throw a fit and growl when a sleepover guest (who does not know you and Baby) does not pray for you at breakfast. I wasn't sure if I should hug him for insisting you be prayed for or yank him out of his chair by his arm for screaming at a guest during a prayer. Sometimes it's so confusing to be a mom...

mlfont said...

I understand being angry and hurt at God..two good reads I have been reading and re-reading..."Plan B" by Pete Wilson and "Disappointment in God" by Phillip Yancey. Can't say I always am always understanding of God's plans, but I continue to know he works despite our circumstances. Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears"

Anonymous said...

Hi Allyson,
Wow - your post was so amazing - you are great at being real and putting down what you really feel - I have felt the same way but was never able to put it down in such a way. I have posted only once before -I am the cousin of Angela S. - I have stage IV metastatic breast cancer with liver mets and remember the day over 4 years ago the mayo clinic told me I had 1 yr. to live maybe 2yrs. and 5 if I was really lucky and I would be on treatment for the rest of my life - I am now about 4.5 years out from that date and I do take a maintenance treatment once a week and some pills and a shot still but overall I have been doing good. I do not know what plans the Lord has for me or for you but I do know He is with us every step of the way. I will share my verse with you that God gave to me at the beginning of my journey - it is Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me." After some time He also revealed to me that "all things" included cancer, treatments and tests for cancer, living with cancer and worst of all dying. It was such a hard thing to get my mind around - if honest there are still days my mind has a hard time with it. I honestly did not expect to be alive today but here I am (weeks away from my 35th birthday!! WooHoo!!) - I have had rough days but have also had amazing days and moments during this time - I truly intend to suck in every moment of life that He will allow me here on earth!! I am often overwhelmed with fear of what will happen in the future but at those times I have to try really hard to focus on God and know that He has given me this day and that He will get me through whatever comes my way and more importantly He will get my family through whatever comes our way. I know it is so hard and so sad and it really really sucks but lean on GOD and HE will get you through - it's ok to be mad - talk it out with HIM - He wants you to give your cares and burdens to Him. He will give you the strength you need to get through this. Sometimes you might have to ask for it every minute of every day but He will give it to you. I love reading your blog and want you to know also that you are such an encouragement to me and you help to strengthen my own faith!! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us - you will remain in my prayers.
Kelly S.

P.S - check out the song "Broken Hallelujah" on you tube - it is by Amy Grant.