Time Stands Still

Truth

Truth

It’s been about two and a half weeks since my last post. I typically write an entry once a week, and have found this to be beneficial for both myself and my readers. I’m sure some of you would love for me to post every single day, but I assure you, my life doesn’t have the abundance of fodder to permit daily rantings. You’ve probably been wondering where I went. Fact is, I went on no exotic vacations. I didn’t travel to a warm beach somewhere and sip margaritas. I didn’t fly to the Big Apple and hop on the subway to see a Broadway show. I’ve been here the whole time. But I’ve been feeling like a cancer patient more and more these last few weeks, and it’s as if time is standing still.

While I am an advocate and promoter of living your life as you would without a diagnosis, it’s been difficult for me recently. Side effects from chemo, emotional roller coasters, and the second-by-second battle of the mind have really put a damper on my life. My diagnosis is getting in the way, and it’s quite the annoyance. I’m actually downright pissed… and irritated… and frustrated… and exhausted… and, and, and.

Chemotherapy is cumulative, therefore, it builds up with each dose. This often makes side effects more prominent as time goes by, and in my case there is truth to that. My brain is being affected. I don’t feel like myself. I’m experiencing more and more “chemo brain.” It interferes with my short-term memory, and makes planning things a big task. Even with as organized as I am, some things have been falling through the cracks. Unless I immediately write in my planner what needs to be done, what appointment has been made, or when I plan on getting together with friends, the information just disappears. For some of you this isn’t odd or unusual, it’s a part of your everyday life. For me, this is the farthest from who I am. I like to be punctual. Lately, that’s a hit or miss. I like to remember to-do’s, plans, and appointments. Again, lately a hit or miss. I’m forgetful and indecisive. My brain isn’t registering things as quickly. For instance, I have forgotten whether or not I had already scheduled my next treatment. I have been nearly an hour late to hang out with family. And, when Matt asks where I’d like to go for date nights, I rarely can offer any suggestions.

I feel stuck. I feel like once cancer barged back into my life, everything froze. This second time beating cancer has been more trying. It’s hard to see everyone else’s lives continue on. Jobs, babies, the purchase of new homes, travel. Healing. Though I am genuinely and sincerely happy to see our friends and family continue on through life and in no way am saying “pity us,” it’s a bittersweet feeling. There are so many things that Matt and I want to do in our lives. We look forward to being parents someday, and I ache for that moment often. We look forward to moving to a different state and buying a home. We look forward to being able to travel (anywhere). But, right now I feel stuck. I know that someday these things will happen, but right now it’s as is our future is in a thick fog.

Fighting cancer is hard. And, often people have no clue how hard it truly is. It’s not only a fight for your life, which is difficult enough. It’s staying strong through multiple treatments. It’s standing firm in faith through scans and tests. It’s a one-on-one spiritual war. It’s all the aforementioned, combined with idiotic insurance agents, overwhelming medical bills, and other life drama. It’s not just a fight. My diagnosis has transformed every moment, every nook and cranny, and every aspect of my life. That’s just a fact.

Many of you hate needles. Many of you hate going to the hospital. Many of you hate feeling sick. Imagine getting poked with needles hundreds of times in a year. Imagine having to rush to the ER whenever you experience an unusual symptom. Imagine throwing up so violently you can’t catch your breath. Imagine the worst pain you’ve experienced and multiply it. Cancer sucks. And it pisses me off.

I’ve been asked several times, “How do you do it?!” Most of the time, internally, I am on the floor in hysterical laughter at this curiosity. The answer is, “I have two choices. Life or death. And I choose life.” In addition, I am thankful I have my faith. Without God, I would be dead already. Without my faith, hope would not exist. Without my Savior, I would be weak. But through Him, I am strong. Although cancer is the hardest battle I’ve fought, I refuse to be anything but victorious. It won’t rob me of my dreams and goals. It won’t steal my life.

Time may feel like it’s standing still for my husband and I right now, but one day, the hands on the clock will move once more. However, in the deepest part of my spirit, I know that time isn’t standing still at all. Every day and every moment in this journey is a day and a moment closer to our future. And although I can’t always see how God is working, I know that He is. I’m thankful that he didn’t punch out on His time card, and that He is still moving the pieces in my life.

You know what I look forward to the most? Being a cancer survivor. Looking back and being able to say, “It makes sense. I see how that journey fit together. I see what God was doing.” Until then, I fight to the finish, no matter how hard. Because, after all, I only have two choices.

Psalm 37:5-7 (MSG Version)

“Open up before God, keep nothing back;
he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him…”

 

4 Comments on Time Stands Still

  1. colorado-glo2girl
    March 9, 2013 at 12:31 PM (6 years ago)

    Stephanie, you really are an amazing woman. I cannot imagine how hard this is for you and your family, but I am praying and will continue to pray for on this incredibly challenging journey. May God continue to be glorified through your life.

    Praying expectantly, Joyce Bilodeau

    Reply
  2. Michelle Dalton Paswaters
    March 9, 2013 at 4:26 PM (6 years ago)

    Love to you and Matt, sweet, sweet Stephanie. Spent time lifting you up in prayer with the family last night. I hope you could feel it :)
    Aunt Michelle

    Reply
  3. Julie Hanna
    March 9, 2013 at 5:54 PM (6 years ago)

    love you two amazing people and praying for you both xxx sincere love and hugs from Trev & Jules

    Reply
  4. Debbie Kane
    March 11, 2013 at 8:41 AM (6 years ago)

    Stephanie, I have been “hit or miss” on reading your blog. I only found you a couple of months ago and at that time, you were surviving your first battle with cancer and I was reading your previous blog posts about your feelings about losing your hair and a few other issues. You made me laugh and cry with some of those posts! I don’t know if you read any comments I left for you. But I too am battling cancer since January, 2010. Diffuse, Large, B-Cell, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (stage 3). I have been “in remission” since January, 2011. HOWEVER!!! WHO KNEW??? “Remission” does NOT MEAN you are cancer free! Oh, no, no, no…. it just means your cancer is currently “managed” or “under control”… which sounds to me like we can expect that it will most likely return again in the future. THAT SUCKS! In reading your blog post today… I was a bit surprised to read that you described my life as it goes every day. My body is so damaged by the 8 rounds of 5 poisonous toxins called “R-CHOP” that I had infused into a port in my chest for 13 long hours, every three weeks between May, 2010 and November 2, 2010. The “brain fog”… ahhhh… I know it well. The forgetfulness, the inability to comprehend speech, the inability to eat most foods, the vomiting until you can’t breathe… I know all of these symptoms and unfortunately they are STILL my every. single. day. life. :-( “How do you do it?” is a question that others ask me day after day. What they don’t realize is exactly what you said. You have only two choices. To live or to die. I TOO CHOOSE LIFE! My body is significantly broken in so many places. My immune system for one. I can no longer “easily” fight off even the tiniest infections. So, I have to avoid crowds, small children, pets and foliage. I wear disposable gloves in the grocery store or when riding in someone else’s vehicle. I wear them when I have to go to the hospital or doctor’s office or any health clinic type setting. My environment MUST be as sterile as possible. But alas, this is the EASIEST of all the damage that chemo did to my body. I could list every diagnosis that I have been “labeled” with since the day I happily learned I was in remission, back in January 2011. I didn’t know then, what I know now. I live 24/7 in such immense pain. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes (two of which turned black for a year and now won’t grow long..instead they grow thick, green and ugly). I still have to use a walker because of neuropathy. And I still vomit every day. No matter what. Some days it’s just a little. But what really gets me is when I wake up and find myself already vomiting while I was sound asleep! That is just horrible… and yet no one. Not one person in my husband and my life really knows about any of this. Because I am a “shut-in” so that I don’t catch infections… no one comes over. No one even calls. We do this alone…. or so you would think. It just so happens that I serve a LIVING GOD! My God is an AWESOME God. He reigns from Heaven above… with Wisdom, Power and Love… My God is an AWESOME GOD! Stephanie, I am very, very thankful for this horrible cancer experience. You wanna know why? Because it means that God trusts me! Do you get that? He trusts… ME!….. Me, this little ol’ nobody special… has gained our Father’s trust! He trusts me to trust Him. He trusts me to stay strong. He trusts me to not give up. He trusts me to share his awesomeness with others. He trusts me to look outside my own horrible issues and find someone who needs help, needs encouragement, needs resources (which I collect diligently so that if anyone I meet needs something, I turn to my “resources” file!) It is sometimes very hard to remember that this experience was “approved by God” for me to experience. Sometimes it is very hard to stay focused on being thankful for it. You see, my entire life, I always told everyone that “I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE”. That is what I felt was my purpose for being here. To make a difference in other people’s lives. I have died and come back twice now in my life. And I do not care if anyone reading this or hearing me say this, believes it or not. Those two experiences will NEVER leave my mind. I learned some unique things during those brief moments in the realm of death. They were both VERY brief… but yet so much information was gleaned within each of them. I have a purpose and I am so Blessed and in awe that God actually trusts me with this HUGE responsibility. I am so humbled. So honored. So Blessed. In spite of all the Hell that is seen with physical eyes and physical understandings… I remain thankful. I call it an “Attitude of Gratitude”. Stephanie, you are not alone. I think you already know this. But do you know it enough to carry you when it is the middle of the night and everyone you know (including Matt) are fast asleep and it feels like you are about to die for whatever reason/symptom is going on at that very moment? That’s when it gets hard, right? I know that place too Steph. I really do. I’m not saying I have all the answers. But I do have some! And I learned them by EXPERIENCE. Not by reading about it on someone else’s journal, blog or YouTube site, lol! Nope.. had to go through it alone, while those who love me just stand by watching helplessly. The truth of the matter is that cancer sucks big time. BUT “this too WILL pass”! And when it does, oh boy! We’ll have a great time then, right? Listen, I know there was a lot of negative stuff here in my comment. I did this for a reason. I wanted to grab your attention so that you could relate to what I am going through. So that you can see that you really are NOT the only one going through the hell that is cancer. I wanted you to be encouraged by the fact that there is someone else out here who also believes in a mighty and powerful God. Someone else who in spite of their faith… has moments where they just want to scream, cuss, and spit nails! PMS times a million, lol! I also wanted you to know that I spend all my “available and capable” hours researching cancer. For 3 years I have done this. I try to weed out the goats too. The ones who would dare profit off of someone in a vulnerable state of mind. You know.. those who would dare offer worthless “snake oil” products that promise an easy cure, but turn out to be very expensive urine as it passes through the body accomplishing nothing but frustration and hopelessness. And I am here to tell you that I have come across some very good stuff. So, if you would like to take advantage of my long, hard hours of researching answers and remedies… PLEASE do so! I come in love. I come in Peace. I come to offer any and everything I can… totally free of charge. I am here for you Stephanie. You. Are. Not. Alone. Love, Debbie Kane, Tomball, Texas, Email: jkpromos1@gmail.com.

    Reply

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