Six months ago today is a day I will never erase from my memory. The morning was a chaotic one to say the least and the days prior were the most pain I've ever been in in my entire life. A series of unfortunate events continually unfolded following surgery, from going to the ER, getting thrush, not being able to eat or take my pain medications, to passing a kidney stone, and urinating blood. But the optimist in me kept looking for a ray of hope, telling myself "it can only go up from here."
That afternoon, Jeremy had been over to sit with me for a while. We watched Elf to try to brighten the Christmas spirits and things were going pretty good. When he left I decided to start watching the series New Girl. I needed something light hearted to binge watch to escape from what I thought was misery. A few episodes into the series I fell right asleep. It was a dreary cold day and one of those naps where you fall asleep in daylight and wake up to everything dark. I was completely distraught, even though I had only been asleep an hour or so. I checked my notifications on my phone and saw a missed call from my surgeon who had just performed my cystectomy a few days prior. We were pretty close and had been texting back and forth about my symptoms and the pain I was having, as I had gone to the ER the day before. I figured she was calling to discuss how I was doing. I was walking to the kitchen to get some water as I called her back, having no idea that what she would say would change my life forever. She hesitated to even get the word "malignant" out, as she was completely blindsided as well.
My hand holding the phone became shaky and I felt a lump in my throat like never before. Tears filled my eyes. It was an out of body experience (to put it lightly). I kept saying "okay.. okay.. okay.." over and over again to what she was saying, thinking to myself, "just hang up the phone." (As if hanging up the phone would allow me to pretend I never got the call.) I was shaking so vigorously I couldn't see through the tears to hit the red end button on my phone. My surgeon kept talking and I couldn't listen anymore. When I finally ended the call I involuntarily collapsed in the corner. My mind couldn't begin to process what she just said. As cliche as it sounds, I kept thinking it wasn't real. I didn't know what to do or who to call. How I was going to tell my family members to come home over the phone was beyond me, but I tried. Of course all of them wanted to know what was wrong and telling them in that way was the last thing I wanted to do.
My dad came home from work in what seemed like 2.5 seconds after hanging up the phone. I was sitting there in a puddle of tears. He opened the door, his eyes already heavy, and completely lost all composure. We layed there on the bathroom floor together, hugging and holding each other, crying, and comforting one another through the silence.
That was the moment I surrendered my life to Christ.
I saw someone who I knew to be so powerful, be so innocently vulnerable at the name of this disease. He had no power. He had no way of curing it, and no way to stop it from happening. I knew I needed something even bigger than my dad come along side me in this journey.
The more I allowed Christ to take a role in my decision making, let him control my outlook on my diagnosis, and gave my life to him - the more peace I found. The days ahead held a lot of fear, but through it all I learned how to transform that toxic fear into a growing faith.
The song Oceans by Hillsong became my theme song. The lyrics spoke so true to the way I felt.
Everything that has happened in such a short amount of time is completely and utterly God's work. Six months ago I had such a different picture in my mind of what today would look like. Something sad, dark, and scary. But it's a beautiful sunny day, I'm spending it with my family in a place that has always been my heaven on earth, and God is so good.
I've realized that it's all a decision. Every thing in life is a decision. Things happen out of our control that we couldn't possibly comprehend, but how we use the experience is completely up to us to decide. I use to feel sorry for myself. But I've learned that using my energy for pitty parties is pretty hopeless.
Cancer isn't always the end, sometimes it's just the beginning.
It's changed every perspective I've ever had. Not getting cancer, but the decision to surrender my plans for life to the Creator, and to live a life for something and someone higher than myself. Old relationships have flourished, new ones have formed, and even the ugliest days have an underlying beauty.
He has lead me where my Trust is without borders, and I will continue to walk upon the waters, wherever he shall call me.
I extend my sincerest grattitude to everyone who has supported me in any way, shape, or form.