Monday, September 30, 2013

one year later

The last year has been so weird. At times, it's felt like there have been many more years stuffed into this one, but looking back, I can't believe it's already been a whole year since I first found the lump. It's been a life changing year. I know that I've been greatly blessed, but I also feel that I've missed out on some pretty important things (there are whole months that I can't remember anything but the "bad", pain, chemo, nausea, missing the girls, anxiety). I know part of it wasn't really my fault. Surgery and chemo were completely necessary to rid my body of the cancer...pain and nausea were both part of the process. I knew then that I physically couldn't handle the girls being home during the roughest times. Looking back, there is no way I could have handled it emotionally either. It doesn't change the fact that I feel I've missed a huge chunk of the past year with them.

Part of the reason I feel that way is because I think I shut down so that I could just get through everything. I didn't realize it while it was happening, but I can see now that I just went through the motions for a while (not constantly, but for more time than I'd like to admit). To be totally honest, I've really only stopped doing that in the last few weeks. I'm tired of being a hollow shell...I want to feel everything fully again. It's hard processing through the last 12 months. So many emotions well up (disappointment, bitterness, anger, remorse, sorrow, joy, apathy, excitement, agony, embarrassment, confusion, peace, hope, and many others). I've got to start making my way through the muddle; otherwise, I'll be stuck going through the motions for the rest of my life.

Honestly, this year has been a whirlwind. Sometimes it all seems like a nightmare, but then I see the scars and my cropped head and I'm reminded just how real it's been. I keep going back to that first appointment when I was told I most likely had a "pesky cyst." I tried to make myself feel relieved that I had just dodged a bullet, but in the back of my mind, I was still concerned that something more was going on. I felt anxious for two months. I was hoping that going back to the doctor would ease that, but instead, my world was shaken. I left the hospital after having the biopsy fairly certain that I was facing something major. I couldn't enjoy Christmas because I was on pins and needles waiting for the clinic to call and tell me what I had. I tried to make sure the girls had a wonderful time, but it was so incredibly difficult because I wanted to crawl in bed and shut the world out.

After getting that dreaded phone call, I'm pretty sure I entered a somewhat catatonic state. I did what was expected, but I honestly don't remember much of anything except the intense need to get everything over with as quickly as possible. I'm still amazed that I had surgery two weeks after getting the diagnosis...I'm glad it happened so quickly because I didn't have time to second guess decisions or dwell on the situation.

It's also incredibly hard to fathom that it's only been nine months since my bilateral mastectomy. So much has happened in that small chunk of time. I completed chemo and had so few side effects...the main one was no hair (the only hair I missed was the stuff on my head...I kinda wish the other just stayed gone). I completed all but the final reconstruction step...that one happens on October 10. (Only by God's grace and mercy have I been able to complete this whole process almost a year to the day of first finding the lump...and just over nine months from surgery day.)

My hair is now growing like a weed. I'm pretty sure this is the fastest it has ever grown. I have a pixie "cut"'s crazy curly, and people that don't know what I've been through assume I just chose a super short style. I am so ready to be able to put it in a ponytail again.

I am sitting here near tears because this year has been so hard! I was stretched and pushed past what I thought my limits were. God moved mightily in me during this year. He moved mountains in my life. I've read (and am now rereading that I'm a little more clear-headed) a couple books that have challenged me to seek God like never before and to let go of my fears. I'm learning to find God in the things that I wouldn't notice if I wasn't searching for them. I'm learning how to rest in his word and to not listen to the fear and doubt. This year was a year of trial, but I'm hoping that it paved the way for me to dig in and grow deep roots.

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