“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” – Kenji Miyazawa
It's a strange thing. Having cancer. It does something to you. It not only attacks your body but your mind as well. I talked with a friend this morning who is a cancer survivor. She comes to me almost everyday now to see how I'm doing. This morning I shared with her the craziness of my emotions lately. One minute I'm totally fine, feeling in control and that I can do anything. The next, I'm a wreck. I want to cry and occasionally I let a tear or two fall. I feel like I'm going crazy on the daily. She told me that she understood because she did the exact same thing. That was a comforting thing to hear. Ok, so maybe I'm not crazy. Maybe I just have cancer. Maybe something like this is just really scary. Sometimes I just want to run away but then I remember the cancer is in my body. So there's really no escape.
Yesterday, I was applying a serum to my eyelashes to help them grow longer. They've been broken and brittle for such a long time that I finally decided to give them some help along the way. But yesterday I stopped myself because I realized then and there that it was probably futile because they would fall out eventually. Can I just be vain for a minute? I don't want to be bald! My mother always told me that hair was your crowning glory. What happens when I lose mine? It seems insignificant compared to the alternative if I don't get treatment, but I just want to take a moment to embrace the feelings associated with that. I know that as I learn to sit with these emotions and accept them as my reality, it will help them pass that much sooner. I know that it's probably gonna happen and I need to start preparing my heart for it. Not because I actually want it to happen but because my strength to endure it all and endure it all well is gonna constantly be challenged. I am feeling the need to spread out the pain as much as possible. I don't know that it's actually possible but I have to try. So how do I fight that? I plan and prepare. A dear friend of mine has agreed to shave my head when the time comes. We'll make a party of it. I will embrace my new normal of having no hair but I won't give cancer the satisfaction. 10 days is the standard between the first treatment and hair loss so I will cut it off beforehand. It might be a while before it grows back but I'll save myself the trauma of having clumps falling out.
Even believing that I'll survive, I don't lie to myself thinking that this recovery period won't downright suck. Although I do believe that somehow all of this will be ok. I have two more days until I meet with the surgeon. Two more days until I know what I have to look forward to with treatment. It's so close yet ohhh so very far away. I want to know now. I don't want to wait forever to learn my prognosis. But I've done my reading. I know it's not gonna be easy. I also know I'm going to survive it. So I'm left in this state of having to reconcile my faith with my fear. In the scriptures the Lord says, "My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion." If this doesn't qualify as being tried, I don't know what will.
This will be a journey for me. I'm somewhat excited to see how all of this plays out. I feel that if nothing else, I will gain a stronger testimony during all of this. So, I guess it's worth it??? How many times do we get to knowingly walk through the refiners fire? I mean that only to say that in my personal experience, trials seem to come out of no where. I look around and find myself in the thick of it. It feels like it came and there was no way to prepare for it. But this is so much different. I have time to do all the research and prepare myself for the crazy that coming. I get to choose to get treated or not. How all of this goes is my choice. Mine. It's a much different approach to things but I've made my choice. I'm going to live. So into the fire I go and I look forward to seeing the refined me on the other side.