A Few Things

I've had a few things floating around in my head about cancer that I wanted to document. Some of them are kind of random, but since this is my on-line journal for the family, I'm jotting them down anyway.

Ever since we got the news last week of my lower CA125 level and the 2nd break from chemo, so many people have congratulated me, texted me, emailed me, FB'd me, etc. with messages of how good God is. And He is. So good. But I've wanted to say 100 times since then that God would still have been good if my news were bad. Obviously, it's easier to celebrate when our prayers are answered the way we want, but I think the true test of our faith comes when we're able to still acknowledge His goodness to us even when the answers aren't so easy.

My diagnosis has deeply affected my children. Camden internalizes everything so I never know quite what he's thinking. He vacillates between being compassionate and sweet to seemingly hard hearted. In fact, the good news we've received twice now in the last month has been greeted by absolutely no reaction from him. Rory, on the other hand, is terrified. She cries so easily every time I'm sick. She worries and worries about every doctor's appointment. Even this week, she has cried daily with worry over my scar tissue. When my mom arrives to spend time with us, she doesn't want my mom to do anything for her, only her mama and I am sure that stems from the so many days/weeks this summer that my mom came to help us because I was absolutely unable to care for them myself. I wonder daily how this is affecting them long term. Today she said to me at lunch, "Mama, can I tell you something? I'm going to be so sad when you die." And then she sobbed. As did I. But I also reminded her of Jeremiah 29:11, which we've adopted as our family verse and I think it helped.

I recently read an article by John Piper called Don't Waste Your Cancer. It really challenged me, and I wish that I would have read it earlier in my diagnosis. It puts words to some of my thoughts as I navigated this cancer journey as well as challenging me to do better.

And along those same lines, this post by Ashley at Lil Boo Blue is similar. The particular paragraphs I relate to are towards the bottom of the post talking about choosing to be positive, choosing joy. Cause it ain't easy what she is going through and what I went through. But we can either let it overcome us and cry all the time, or we can start each day new and just put one step in front of the other.

A really good example of someone who is choosing light in the wake of cancer is Vicky.

I avoid internet research and also reading organizations with groups of cancer bloggers (Mothers with Cancer, for example). Mostly because I can't manage the statistics and reality of those who are losing their battle with cancer. I am able to move forward with my own battle by living a little bit in the dark.

I've gotten pretty good at taking one day at a time, the good and the bad. It's why I could go back to chopping vegetables last week. While I am thrilled at my most recent news of 2 months off and the thought that those tumors just might be calcified, I am also very realistic about what my future could hold. And it's okay. We'll deal with it as it comes, both the good and the bad.

And, finally, something cancer has taught me: let Rory wear the pretty clothes. No need to save them in the closet for a better occasion.

Told you this was a little random.


Joy said…
Melissa, you are so right. God is good all the time even when His answer might be "no".

Mortality is hard to wrap your mind around at any age, much less 8 and 5. I hope your time away from chemo (hopefully forever) helps them not worry as much.

And, absolutely, wear the good clothes! : )
Wow. This is a beautiful post. And so, I don't know how to describe it... because we are talking about cancer and really bad stuff, but I'm so encouraged and inspired?!

I think that's what it comes down to. YOU have encouraged and inspired so many people by how you have chosen to treat this time in your life with your diagnosis. (At least I've been deeply moved by it.) I know there were bad days and ugly moments, but honestly, you have inspired ME to have more faith in HIM through this. Watching your trust and faith in Him during the darkest times made me look way more closely at my relationship. (This is not about me, I know.) I'm one of the people who said something about "HE is good!" And I realize that he's been good to you and watching you all along. No really, I do. But a two month reprieve?! Possible calcification?! I mean... that's amazing to me. And no matter what comes next, He does have a plan for you and it's greater than you ever could have imagined. (obviously) But I still don't know how you went back to chopping vegetables!

You and your whole family are so very special. Thank you for giving so much to us, your readers, during this time. Now, I hope you ENJOY these next two months to their fullest. (And I hope it helps dull the pain that Camden and Rory are carrying in their hearts.) And go put on all those fancy clothes and take some pictures! :-)
Uhm, wow. I didn't feel like I was that verbose! Sorry!
Another post that I could hardly read to my husband without tears. Thanks for sharing those thoughts with us so honestly. I love that Rory can share her heart with you so easily. What a blessing. The decision to let Rory wear her pretty clothes is priceless and timeless. We all need to learn that lesson...quit saving everything for something special; NOW is special. And, yes, God is good and will be good no matter what unfolds in our lives. Praying daily for the four of you.
Kelly said…
You are so right, Melissa, and I absolutely love your attitude and joy. God is good all the time, and finding a way to rejoice even in the hard times and acknowledge His goodness even when we feel down and out is the way to go. You are so encouraging, and thank you for reminding me of this truth!

And, the last bit about letting Rory wear the "pretty" clothes? Love it! I have been allowing Briar to do this lately as well, and it makes her SO happy. So worth it!
Wendy said…
Yes indeed, God is good ALL the time...ALL the time! Appreciate this post so very much. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so openly with us, Melissa. You are very inspiring. Enjoy these next few months. I know you will! Big hugs to you and your beautiful family. The pictures of your mom and the kids on the trampoline are priceless...LOVE em!
Joyce said…
Melissa, I thought the same thing; I am so glad for the reprieve and I'm thankful....but in my mind I was thinking, He is still good when the news is bad. He is God, we trust Him! Love you and so appreciate your sharing your thoughts.
I love this post! Especially the last part about Rory and her pretty clothes. You are right that God is good all the time! But I bet that it is hard for people to say that to you when the news is bad. Even though THEY know and they know YOU know. But He is good. And I'm so glad the news was good this time, too!
Monica said…
One of the things I love about your posts is your openness and honesty. Thanks for sharing!
Vicky said…
Ahhh, that was so sweet of you :) I just found Ashley's site a few days ago- she writes a lot of things that ring true and has given voice to lots of the things I have thought, but not articulated as well as she has. Don Piper's DWYC is one I've printed out and keep with me!

Oh Rory- so touching and has to be hard. Please give her a hug from me :)

Thanks for putting a smile on my face tonight :)
KrisJ said…
Girl you are amazing and God is good and getting to witness your miracles help lift us all. My friend was just diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and its been nice to have a little cancer knowledge through you already. I think you are so amazing and I appreciate so much how you have shared your journey. And man do I wish we lived closer so we could have some fun shopping lunch dates!
Jenny Sue said…
As a mom that had to watch my little girl watch me struggle through chemo and cancer, it is hard to trust their hearts with God. We want to fix it and comfort them. Anna Beth is just reaching a point where she feels safe again and it has been almost a year since my last treatment. She watched her mommy get wheeled out of the house and into an ambulance and she too was afraid of my death. The only thing that seemed to calm her fears is prayer. Every time she showed fear, we prayed. We thanked God, we praised Him and then we asked Him to help us trust Him more. I remember nights that Brian would lay in the bed with her and literally pray her to sleep. I am trusting God that everything her little heart went through He will use for His glory later in her life. God is good all the time but some of the hardest times to remember that is when we see our children hurt. We are praying for you, and your family. Praying that God continues to heal not only the cancer but also the scars left as a result.

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