Almost 10 years ago, I went through the darkest days of my life. Scary days- when I wondered if life would ever be okay again. Pain-filled days that spilled into the night and seemed to all run together. Days where I was literally helpless and had to depend on my church, friends, coworkers and family for everything from helping me to the bathroom to driving me to the Doctor to taking me for walks to regain strength.
They were the days that followed my double mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries and there were hundreds of them. Those dark days.
How glad I was when they were over. Done. Healed up, energy back and living life with the expectation of forever perky.
I was a survivor in the earliest possible way- no chance of breast cancer ever again and I was feeling good. Finally.
For about 4 years.
Then the complications began.
It was subtle at first so like I normally do, I claimed being fine and pretended nothing was wrong. And one week turned into several, turned into months, turned into years. And several visits to the surgeon, each one a little more obvious there was a problem. The perky was not forever.
And now here we are in a place so distant yet way too familiar.
Monday morning, I'll drop my boys off at school and then head to the hospital for major surgery. Undoing what took 4 surgeries and 13 months to accomplish the first time, and we'll start over.
Can you keep a secret? I don't want to.
I'm struggling with this one. I know I'm not supposed to fear. I know God is bigger than my fears.
Have you met my younger kids?
How many different appointments we juggle for the two of them?
Do you have any idea how much laundry I do?
And how often I wash my hair?
Complications, well they like me.
So there's this battle I've been having for a few months now-
What if... Stop It, God's in control.
What if.. Stop It, don't be afraid.
What if...You know better, Robin!
There's something unsettling about knowing what to expect. The first time I went through this, I expected it to be six sweet weeks growing closer to Jesus and then back to normal.
I planned to spend hours upon hours in prayer and bible study- just relaxing in post op vacation, propped up in my chair pouring over the Word. And praying. Lots of praying.
The reality was that I couldn't read- at all- without my insides feeling like they'd explode. I couldn't focus on anything for more than a few minutes. I couldn't pray. I was empty. Instead of praying and reading and thriving- I survived. The ticking clock was my enemy and my friend. It reminded me my life was slipping by and that life would eventually come back.
People made me anxious.
Noise made me cry.
I couldn't breathe without pain for months.
Perspective changes when you're on a different side. Looking back, I see how God was teaching me about real prayer and worship. It isn't always the audible prayers. Some of the sweetest times with my Jesus was the 3am talks without a word spoken. Eyes wide open, perfectly still in that hateful recliner in the dark; waiting for the train whistle that became my friend, signaling the sun would come up soon. Waiting for the joy He promised would come in the morning. Waiting morning after morning after morning.
And finding it, when I remembered that joy ain't just a happy feeling. It's the settled assurance that God has everything under control and I can trust Him. It was learning humility- 'cause when you can't go to the bathroom by yourself you find yourself humbled by the friend who gives new meaning to going with you. It was learning to ask for and receiving help from others; both people I'd known for years and some I didn't know at all. It was learning empathy- for people who suffer- without an end in sight. I found it when God slowed me down to stop- and it, that joy didn't feel anything like joy at the time.
And He is doing it again. Slowing me down to stop.
So, I'm struggling with the dread of the days ahead and the chance to experience joy again- in new ways that I expect God to show me.
Whatever the days ahead are- REX ALLEN thank you in advance for taking on the hard stuff not once, but twice. I love you more than you know.
Got your Mammogram? What are you waiting for?
Happy Saturday y'all!