In Tears, There is Strength

Grief: (n) “Keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.”
Loss: (n) “The state or feeling of grief when deprived of someone or something of value.”

These last two weeks have been particularly full of overwhelming emotions. I’m learning that grief is similar to waves in the ocean. It ebbs and flows. One moment I’m fine, and the next I find myself weeping, unsure of the exact reason for tears to fall so easily from my eyes. My own emotions surprise me. They can quickly appear out of nowhere. Take today, for example. All morning I’ve been productive around the house and even got a good workout in. Yet tonight, I find myself feeling somber, sad, and choked up. I struggle to write.

I’m continuing to grieve the loss of the life I once had.

Grief is a process, I’m discovering. It doesn’t happen all at once. Certain moments can trigger tears as effortlessly as they can laughter. Throughout this past year and a half, I’ve cried more times than I can count. I’ve dropped to my knees in heaving, wailing bursts. Tears have been shed in grocery stores, parks, restaurants, and church. Grief does not have a timeline nor a schedule. It doesn’t require a specific location. It can disappear for days, weeks, and months, and reappear at the drop of a hat.

I don’t enjoy crying. Like many others, I was taught to suck it up and be strong. Yet, no matter how hard I try to remain “strong,” I can’t push away the weak feeling that envelops me. I hate to admit it, but right now I’m sad. Having cancer sucks. Fighting cancer sucks, too. It’s exhausting. It’s tiring. It’s stressful. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never felt so weak in my life as I have throughout this battle. This is emotionally and physically draining. While I know that there is purpose in my suffering, I can’t help but grieve the immense loss we’ve experienced. I can’t help but grieve the dreams we had imagined for our future.

Through this, I’m understanding that crying and grieving are essential to my healing. And, that in my tears, there is strength.

In moments like these I focus on something someone bigger than this. I cling to the promise that God is sovereign and faithful. He is here grieving the loss alongside me. He allowed this diagnosis so that my story would be bigger than I ever dreamt it could be. Through these tears, I look forward to the future that God has orchestrated, and the blessings He will pour down over my life. Three things remain… My God, my marriage, and my life. Aren’t those the most important after all? Everything that comes next will be a bonus!

Tonight, I cry. Tomorrow I may not. Grief comes and goes. In these tears, there is strength.

Matthew 5:4 (MSG)

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

9 Comments on In Tears, There is Strength

  1. Amber
    May 29, 2013 at 10:40 PM (6 years ago)

    Beautiful put my sweet friend- and so very right you are. Grief comes in waves… but out of the ashes we rise. Love you.

    Reply
  2. colorado-glo2girl
    May 29, 2013 at 10:41 PM (6 years ago)

    Stephanie, I continue to pray for you during this journey God has planned out for you. I think about my own girls (30 & 34) . You and your husband have had to deal with so much so soon and yet your faith is such an inspiration to me and many others I am sure. I can’t relate to your struggles but I have walked through many trials that felt so hard I didn’t know that I would make it. But God is Sovereign and He is Faithful and He is ALWAYS available. I continue to pray that you and your husband continue to lean on Him for everything.

    Reply
  3. Bill Rudel
    May 29, 2013 at 11:15 PM (6 years ago)

    These three things will I bear on my heart: (circa: 1750-1800)

    These three things will I bear on my heart, O Lord:
    1. “The Lord was on our side,” this for the past:
    2. “The snare is broken,“ this for the present;
    3. “Our help is in the name of the Lord,” this for the future.
    I will not and I cannot be fainthearted, whether in my contest with Satan, in my intercourse with the world, or in the upheavings of my wicked heart, so long as I hold this “threefold cord” in my hand, or rather, am held by it.
    —Alfred Edersheim

    Weeping will endure for the night, but, Joy comes in the morning.

    The Lord Bless you guys, Stephanie and Matt.

    -Bill Rudel

    Reply
  4. Debbie Kane
    May 30, 2013 at 12:30 AM (6 years ago)

    Stephanie, I no longer know if any of my replies make it to your eyes. But in case they do, I continue to reply to your posts that reach my inbox at G-Mail. I too battle cancer. Over 3 horrific years now. My biggest sufferings stem from the significant damage that those 5 toxic and highly poisonous chemicals that were put into the chemo “cocktail” I was prescribed and had infused into my body over a 13 hour period every three weeks… for a total of 8 rounds during 2010. I did not experience the fear that many do when first hearing of a cancer diagnosis. That is because I had previously been caregiver to two individuals I love who also had cancer. One during the 1980’s… the other was my beloved sister who battled and survived cancer 3 times total during the 1990’s. She too has been left with a significantly broken body btw. But now that her last cancer has been in remission for 14 years, that is usually a sign that she has indeed won the battle. For those who don’t know… remission is merely a “state of being” wherein the cancer is called being “managed”. Recurrence is always possible during the first 10 years after treatment. Remission does NOT mean you’ve won. At best you’ve won a “slight” reprieve… with the hope of each passing year that you actually make it to year 10 without recurrence. I too know this “grief” you speak of. It DOES come in waves. I myself am a basic shut-in even though I achieved remission 27 months ago. But unfortunately, my health challenges ever since are worse than my year of chemo. The pain is unbearable most days. The opiates needed just to be able to move are horrendous. I have no immune system worth speaking of and have had to learn to live in a sterile environment shut away from young children (including my grandchildren… (which I “disobey” doctor’s advice frequently over the last few months because I am fed up feeling like a prisoner to my body… to a “basic rule of advice that is supposedly “in my best interest”…. and hence gamble with the risk that I might “catch a cold” that could ultimately kill me because my body has little or no ammunition to defend itself from even the weakest forms of germs.) I have to wear disposable medical gloves if I attempt an “outing” to the grocery store. (Yes, that is my entertainment these days… I get to go grocery shopping once a month… whoo-hoo! :-( yeah, right.) I too cry more than I care to admit. My poor husband who is now also partially disabled and no longer able to work, has been my care giver for almost 4 years. (During the 6 months prior to my cancer diagnosis, I was diagnosed with a rare form of glaucoma (and two other serious eye diseases… all of which are now again “in remission” because glaucoma is not curable either… only “manageable”)…and even went totally blind for 5 weeks after the first of 6 eye procedures. Then 3 weeks later, just when we thought we were on the road to recovery… BAM! “You have cancer deep in your abdomen Debbie”. “OK God, I replied. I’m not afraid of this. I have had a lot of practice helping others get through this… so I know what to expect and with YOU, dear Lord, by my side dear Lord, … I know I have nothing to fear!” Now, it’s “Hey God… are we THERE yet???” “How much longer God?” And “Hey God… are you sure that I will really be able to do Your work through my victorious recovery?” “Why am I still so disabled?” “Hey God, my husband doesn’t look like he can do “THIS” anymore… we’ve lost so much now you know.” “Hey God, why did you take his mom home when she died of cancer while I was too sick for him to leave me and say his goodbyes to her a year ago?… He is riddled with so much guilt of having to choose to either stay and take care of me… or leaving me to fend for myself and rush to her side before she died.” And “Hey God, why did my beautiful daughter-in-law, mother of my oldest grandchild, die UNEXPECTEDLY from cancer because of a misdiagnosis that was noticed too late to save her last October 22, 2012? These losses on top of my serious broken body and all of it’s critical damages are overwhelming us and weakening us Father. I am trying hard to do your bidding… but my brain is starting to fail me here.” And “Hey God, I didn’t mind losing our business and only form of income to cancer. We learned humility as we ran out of money and now live only on government aid and charities. We even didn’t complain much when we had to return our only form of transportation, forcing us to turn to various neighbors for running us up to the grocery store every month…. but now our home is up for public auction on July 2nd and we have NO shelter to turn to. Are we really going to have to live under a bridge? Will my immune system hold up living homeless???” And “Please God, can you answer audibly JUST THIS ONCE? I’m getting scared here. They’ve now added diabetes to my long list of critical health problems and I have two dangerous wounds that are unable to heal now… what do you want me to do?” And “God, my husband is sinking into depression fast now. He can’t take the vomiting I do every single day for 3 years now… Can you give him a vacation from watching me slowly deteriorate? I love him so much… but he’s sinking fast. Please God… PLEASE?” Yeah Steph, I get you. And I am crying for and with you. You are right. Cancer sucks big time. Who knew it could get THIS bad? I love AND receive the prayers, I really do. I am thankful more than I am not thankful. (I call it an “attitude of gratitude”). But my body inside is ripping into shreds from all the daily vomiting and my bottom is ripped to shreds from all the constipation issues. My feet are so swollen from the nerve damage and now diabetes that is confirmed… that I cannot even fit into a size 11 shoe. And my pain doctor yesterday called me a liar and all kinds of names because for some reason my last 3 urine tests did NOT show that I had been taking the Oxycodone he prescribes to me, which I take one pill of 30 mg. four times a day! He said that the lab reports don’t lie and so he has accused me…. ME!!!! of not taking this one of 3 pain medications… and believes I am a “street druggie” selling my medication for money!!! Stephanie, I was so shocked and had my very first nervous breakdown. How in (the hell… forgive me this language just this once PLEASE!) but HOW is that even POSSIBLE! I could not make it through even ONE day without that stupid opiate…. let alone go 3 months without it. And he just kept saying that the lab results “don’t lie” that only “people LIKE ME lie”! Oh. My. God. Why is all of this happening? Am I dreaming? Am I already dead and did something horrific to displease you that I have gone to hell for my sin??? What? Please God What is happening? What do you want me to do that I am not doing. I adore you. I am humbled before you. I ask you every single night to help me search my heart and show me where I may have behaved in a manner that did not please you that day… so that I might ask your forgiveness and repent. And I then fall asleep every night with you my sweet, sweet Lord… asking you to bring to my remembrance ALL of the blessings and miracles you have bestowed upon me… so that I can tell you just how thankful I truly am. I love falling asleep saying thank you over and over and over again… every single night as you bring visions to my mind of all that you in your unconditional love, your infinite mercy on a sinner like me, your grace, your faithfulness, I BOW IN YOUR PRESENCE dear Lord… for YOU ALONE are worthy of all praise. I remember the story you had my daddy tell me when I was 8 years old: “I felt bad because I had no shoes. Until I met a man who had no feet.” I really DO remember that story and I try hard to behave correctly. No matter God… it’s just me on a bad night again I guess. Forgive me. I DO trust you… search my heart… you’ll see I am speaking the truth. And Stephanie… I guess I just want you to know that I really, really, really get you. And I get this last post on your blog. I am thankful for it actually…. For because of it, I can ALWAYS count on being reminded of things that I already know… that we both serve the most awesome and amazing God. No matter WHAT happened to us “today”. Again, I don’t even know if any of my replies, comments or messages are getting to your eyes or not. Doesn’t matter. God sees.

    Reply
    • Stephanie Madsen
      May 30, 2013 at 1:09 PM (6 years ago)

      Debbie, I do receive your posts and really appreciate them! I don’t respond here on my blog, but instead respond in emails to the email address you’ve provided. (jkpromos1@gmail)

      Reply
      • Debbie Kane
        May 31, 2013 at 2:48 AM (6 years ago)

        Thanks Stephanie… for letting me know that you are reading my posts. For some reason, I don’t recall getting a reply from you on my email until this one… But I have had computer issues, so perhaps that is why I have missed your kind replies. I just re-read my post. Wow. I am NOT my usual positive self at present… am I? I am so sorry. Those of us who are suffering truly don’t need people in my unfortunate mind set regurgitating such negativity. It’s a wonder you were gracious enough to even reply to this latest comment of mine. I am so, so, sorry. Wanna here something more positive? I have been preparing to go live with a website called “Go For The Health”, wherein I have been researching, studying and documenting alternative therapies for cancer and other illnesses. Separating the “sheep” from the “goats”, so to speak. Then, more recently, I decided that hosting a website is still a bit too much for me physically to keep up with at this time, soooo I decided to start a blog like you have done. YOU gave me this idea! If I hadn’t found “Derailing My Diagnosis”, I would never have had the idea to start a blog first… and the “health info” website later! So, my “blog” is called “We Can Pay It Forward”. I purchased the domain name from Go-Daddy several months ago… but I know NOTHING about setting up a blog. NOTHING at all, lol! So, today I signed up (like you) with Word Press. I think I have most of it set up and ready to go… but since this company DOES NOT have a customer service department that you can call and ask for technical help, I am not positive that I did everything correctly. I did call one of their guys that you are supposed to “pay” for his time with you as he helps you over the phone… but he wouldn’t charge me, because as I introduced myself and he asked me certain questions about my blog attempt, I believe he must have taken compassion upon me. Anyway, he is saying that I somehow have to link my Go-Daddy (paid for) domain name “www.wecanpayitforward.com” to the Word Press account. I have NO IDEA how to do any of that… nor can I figure out how to select one of the Word Press’s FREE templates either. So, tomorrow (well since it is almost 2:30 AM right now, lol… I guess I should say “later today”, I am going to call the company called Netstar, who ALWLAYS hosted my “pre-cancer” home based advertising company. They always kept track of the several domain names I owned… making sure they were all renewed on time every year, etc. Plus they did an amazing job (for several years) hosting our business website. So, I am hoping they can take a look at my Word Press, self made blog site, that I spent most of today setting up. Yeah, it took almost all of last night (Wednesday night… I never did go to sleep on Wednesday night… and now here it is Thursday night… well really 2:45 AM on Friday morning and I have STILL not fallen asleep yet. So, I actually have not been to sleep since Tuesday night… and even then only slept 4 hours. Insomnia is one of my MANY diagnoses from chemo damage. But nope… not gonna do it again tonight! I am NOT going to talk to you about my negative stuff with you again. I already feel ashamed of my behavior with regards to my comments on your blog site last night. For now, this reply is too long already. I do want to say one more thing before I close out this letter to you. You have helped me on several occasions with your blog. I love your candor, your blatant honesty, your sometime total disregard to put on a “proper” Christian “air”… saying all of the “correct” things ALL THE TIME, and most of all… your total adoration of our Lord Jesus Christ! You also have exceptional writing skills. I enjoy that a lot too. It makes it fun to read your writings! I too am a creative writer at heart. I’ve been asked to write books and short stories numerous times over the last 3 years I’ve been engaged in battle with the big “C”. Most recently I’ve been referred to the publishers of the folks who put out the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. All in due time…. All in due time! I am going to refer you to others as well (unless you ask me not to). Because your writing gift is so obvious. Stephanie, I am thankful for you. I hope you realize that by now. And even though I am now 56 years old… I wanna laughingly tell you that “when I grow up, I wanna be JUST LIKE YOU, lol! hahaha! Goodnight fellow warrior. Sleep with God’s perfect peace tonight and hopefully we can connect again very soon. Abundant Blessings to you girl… in ALL things! Peace to you… Love in Christ, Debbie Kane :

        Reply
  5. Ryan Lloyd Sorrells
    May 30, 2013 at 8:47 PM (6 years ago)

    Keep hanging in there Stephanie; you are a true inspiration and you will conquer this thing called cancer I just know it. God bless you and your family. PS I have attached a link to my channel on you tube; hopefully it works! Take care my friend and rest well; you are amazing. Keep posting and I will continue to read; I never miss one. :)

    your friend,

    Ryan

    Reply

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on In Tears, There is Strength

  1. […] is an inexplicable thing. It ebbs and flows. I’ve spoken about it before HERE. Some days are easier than others. But through grief, wisdom is born. Grief can last for weeks, […]

Leave a reply to Ryan Lloyd Sorrells Cancel reply