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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wish For a Normal Life

This is my journal entry written on
Sept 2 2005

My spirit is heavy today. My prayers are for God’s mercy. I feel myself begging for God’s healing. It seems Andrea will not be healed in an instant, but I know God heals over time as well. My desire is for her to be healed; my wish is that it would be in an instant, without doubt a miracle of God.

Without a doubt, what am I saying? Is there doubt if Andrea is not healed in an instant? God forbid. Yesterday Andrea’s tumor marker results came back and hip was hurting. When I called the doctors office to get the test results it brought back so many feelings. Whenever you call for a test result or wait for them it brings this ordeal of cancer back in full force with all the memories, thoughts and fears that come with that. The fear, the threat of death, thoughts of being alone, of a funeral, the sadness they all come back to you in an instant. Whatever barrier you have built to keep out such thoughts is overwhelmed when you call or wait for a test result. How your prayers are answered is about to be reveled. Hope will turn into reality and if that reality is death you would rather stay right where you are, oblivious to the pain that awaits you.

Life settles into a routine when you are in treatment. You allow yourself to forget the reality of what you are going through, you get to push cancer away and focus on the fact that you are hurting it as much as it is hurting you. It is your time to fight back at your unseen opponent. In your mind the tumor is suffering with every drop of the chemo. I hope it is crying in pain as the drugs attack its very existence. It is your time of vengeance. You hope it is suffering more then you are. I hope it is in more pain then the pain I see on Andrea’s face

But when you call for a test result you know you will soon find out who is winning this fight, and who has been doing the majority of the suffering. We know that the odds are one day we will get the call that we are losing this battle. The physical reality is that one day we will hear those words we dread, words that signify the separation of our lives, our love, and our friendship. So with each test result you pray for God’s miracle to be reveled for a miracle is your only hope. But in the back of your mind you know this could be the day…the day you find out there is no hope left. This is life with cancer. A daily battle to fend off your worst fear, trying to “live” to live a life with some sort of normalcy so if and when you do get that news you at least will have enjoyed the days you had. You make chemo, CT scans, doctors offices, needles, blood draws, sickness, fatigue, nausea, self induced aches and pains, cancer caused ashes and pains both of which are strikingly similar all “normal.” This is how you have to live or you give in and your only prayer becomes for a quick death to end the suffering. It is a crazy way to live. It is hard enough to face death, but it is a cruel joke to have your only chance to live to be a treatment that takes away any every aspect of a “normal” life leaving you sick in your last days. Life ends yet you have to continue living. So you make your life normal. It is all you can do. Chemo becomes a time of fellowship, Bible study, laughter and talk of life’s events. Doctors and nurses become your best friends. Pill bottles line your counter top; your hobby is now reading and learning about cancer. Your interest in life is what new study is out there, and what new drug is showing potential. You language becomes different, you know the names of drugs, you become an expert on the side effects, and the risks. You study cancer’s calling cards, its symptoms. Your daily conversation is about what aches and pains there are, what they mean. Were they there yesterday? Are they worse? What do they mean? Did you lift something yesterday that is causing the pain or is it cancer. Every ache every little pain comes under consideration as cancer, and thus as a potential sign that your time is up.

So I pray for instant healing, for a great miracle, the one in a million story, a Lance Armstrong story. Why do I do this? So we don’t have to keep living like this anymore. So we can end the fearful days of a test result, when those aches are verified or denied. I do so in hopes that life would be “normal” again. How sweet it would be to be “normal” again…to live life without cancer. Every once in a while we allow ourselves to imagine what that would be like. Like talking about being on a beach when it is January in Alaska, it just brings a smile to your face for that moment, right up until you walk outside and the cold slaps your face and the darkness envelops you. Then the smile fades and you realize this is your life, this is normal, and you put the gloves back on and get back I the ring. And you hear the click as the doctor puts the CT scan on the lighted board or you call and ask, “Is Andrea’s tumor marker back? What are they this time?” And in the moment in time between your question and the nurse’s first words your mind goes through every emotion of life and death. Will you be relieved or accepting of your worst fear? You hear the nurse; you sense the answer in her voice…“I’m sorry to have to tell you…. And you quit listening and you start adjusting, normal will have to wait.

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