Living with Cancer

I originally titled this page Surviving Cancer.  I thought it was fitting because yes, I’m surviving cancer.  After some thought, it also seemed a bit misleading at first glance.  It portrayed a past tense, as in I have already survived cancer and now this is my story, which isn’t really true.  I still have cancer.  I’m surviving (verb) cancer.  I’m living with it, still.  And loving {almost} every minute of it.

The short of it is, a freak accident in my back yard led to the discovery that I had leukemia.  There was no connection between the two events, but I am profoundly thankful for them both.  The number of life lessons that were packed into this tumultuous incident was overwhelming.

I’m ready to share.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia on Sept 13th, 2012.  I will probably talk about and mention the big ‘C’ {cancer} quite often here in my ramblings.  My goal is to help you not feel uncomfortable about cancer.  It’s not a curse, there should be no stigma.  I didn’t do anything to deserve this cancer.  I didn’t do anything wrong.  I shouldn’t have lost the friends I did, I shouldn’t have had to watch people begin to distance themselves.  I don’t deserve the head tilt, it shouldn’t make anyone feel awkward to be around me.  It’s apart of my life.  You probably wouldn’t believe the crap people try to give me.  Like having cancer is my fault and even though I have to live with it everyday, talking about it with someone makes THEM uncomfortable. Ugh… but I digress.

By the grace of God cancer is a giant driving force behind much of my motivation, life-decisions, and epiphanies.  It’s brought an incredible amount of awesomeness to my life.  I say that in every sense of the word. My life is Awesome.  I’m not making light of it, I promise.  It’s really just the intrinsic ability to change perspective.  There’s power in that. What most people don’t understand is that cancer doesn’t define who I am, ruin, or rule my life {most of the time.  At the time of writing this, I’m quarantined to my house for a tanked immune system.  blah blah blah}.  I actually have quite the opposite attitude about it.  It’s chronic. {I might as well get used to it}.  There’s no cure. {I have to keep treating it medically}. I will live with it for the rest of my life {as far as current technology is concerned}. But not once will I let my life skip a beat because of it.  When I find myself ready to retreat I remember all the grace God gives me to live another day, and I wake up and squash cancer like a bug.

every.single.time.

There are a lot of ways I could handle living with cancer for the rest of my life.  Including, but not limited to, wallowing, complaining, screaming, grieving, emotionally eating, shriveling up, hiding.   But I won’t.  As the saying goes “Cancer Sucks”.  Yes, it very much does. But you know what doesn’t suck?  My life.  I love my life. Every messy, painful, and milk shooting out your stinkin’ nose moment.  I have had good days and bad days.  Hard months, and breezy months.  It is what it is, I praise God for just having another day, good or bad. Period. {Wow, she’s so ‘in your face’!}  Well, I can’t sugar coat it.  I’ve got cancer.  I wanna rock it.

And don’t ever feel sorry for me because I have cancer.  I don’t ever, so why would you?  Instead, join me in the journey of conquering my trials.  I promise you laughs of encouragement, and bittersweet tears.  I won’t minimize a single moment, because I know how it’s all so very real.  But it doesn’t ever have to bring anyone down.  I have this amazing opportunity to share what it’s like having God by my side while I walk this incredible {and hopefully long} journey.  That’s the advantage of faith and a relationship with Jesus Christ.  The sucky parts will always be sucky.   But we’re not alone.  This is not our home.  The best is yet to come.

1Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

                                                       Psalms 103:1-5

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