I’m feeling quite reflective tonight. I’m thinking back at this journey we’ve all shared and wondering, knowing what I know now and having a choice, would I relive this past year. In a word, YES.
No one likes illness, disease, fear, pain, trouble and the like. But, can you really think of a time in your life, where you really grew as a person, discovered something about yourself, your faith, your potential, that didn’t involve pain? I know, it’s a terrible way to have to grow. . but, it really is the only way.
I would never, in a million years, volunteer for this journey. If you’d asked me in February, “Hey, what d’ya think? Let’s try cancer on top of diabetes and see what happens.” I would’ve absolutely rejected the offer and gone on my merry way. But, not given a choice, I have to say that this has been the most amazing experience in my life and I would never trade who I’ve become for who I was.
I’ve learned that in EVERY way, at every hour, for every reason, my Savior reigns. He has never failed me. As I’ve searched His word each day, He has breathed the words to life each day as I have had need. He has guided our decisions, removed fear, prompted us to take action and helped us rest when we grew weary. That doesn’t mean He took away the pain or removed all the obstacles, but He guided us through each step, each day to this point and that has solidified my faith in a way I never could have imagined.
I’ve learned that people are truly kind and generous if you let them be. It’s really hard to ask for help. It requires an admittance of limitations. I want to be able to do everything I want, when I want to!!! We’re all a little bratty, deep down inside. . don’t tell me I can’t do something! We’re afraid that if we ask for help, we’re weak, fragile, unable. I’ve found that it takes much more strength to face your limitations and say, “I can’t do this alone.” I’m grateful to be surrounded by people who have just been waiting for the opportunity to jump in and take care of me. I am truly blessed to be so cared for in so many tangible ways. Thank you for making this lesson a bit easier to learn.
I’ve learned that the marriage vow of “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health” truly means something. It doesn’t mean barely survive the better or worse. It doesn’t mean try to get by. It means we, together, will THRIVE, grow and make amazing discoveries through adversity, sickness, or worse.
I truly don’t know how I would’ve ever faced this without my DH. He has taken care of me physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. He never let me give up, give in or compromise. I’m going to be completely honest here. . don’t judge me. I feel mutilated. Truly. . disfigured. I look in the mirror and I think, how can he stand to look at this body, my new reality. I joke that the left side of my chest looks like it’s been beaten by Ali, it’s swollen and bruised with stitches from my armpit to my sternum. The right side faced Mike Tyson, same size wound, but there’s a fist-sized hole that looks like he took a bite out of me. It’s ugly and uncomfortable. Then my DH comes in the room and looks at me as if I were the most beautiful creature he’s ever seen. I don’t get it. . but, I will take it. That kind of love. . I have no words.
The first time I saw the surgical sites, he and my Mom were in the room with me. Neither of them cared to look for themselves, as curious as they must have been. I watched in a mirror as the Dr. peeled off the dressing and both of them were set on studying my eyes, wanting to support my reaction, my pain at that first glimpse. You don’t learn about that kind of love unless you’ve lived it. Thank you both for loving me that much.
I’ve learned that laughter truly is the best medicine. I’ve commented several times that at my worst, I would receive a visit from someone and by the time they leave my bedside, I feel like a new person. I don’t know what it is, but all of you, visiting me at the hospital, dropping by the house, bringing meals, calling on the phone, sending cards, know that you are the reason I’m home, healing and thriving today. Laughing allows you to breath in all that positive energy being shared and breath out all that nastiness making you sick. So laugh often, laugh hard, laugh until your face hurts and you gasp for air. Then call me so I can laugh too.
Finally, I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever imagined. I’ve learned that I bounce rather than crumble. I’ve learned that strength is in knowing when to fight, when to rest and when to submit. I’ve learned that joy brings strength. . don’t let anything steal your joy.
Would I do this again? I certainly don’t want to relive it all and I certainly won’t volunteer to be a lab rat. But, knowing what I know now. . I wouldn’t trade this past year for anything. I wouldn’t be the tough Amazon Warrior I am today without this boot camp, would I?
Let’s finish this!