July 19, 2017. The day our life as we knew it, would be changed.
The day I learned that I could drive while having a panic attack at the same time. The day I couldn’t hold it together in front of strangers, in front of my father-in-law. The day we fell off of that mountaintop and landed face flat into a valley.
Since that day, a lot has happened, to say the least.
I found out who my friends are. I found out I had friends I didn’t even know I had. I found out I had FAMILY I didn’t know I had. Heck, I found out I had perfect strangers who loved me.
I learned that my anxiety has left the building. Bridges I never used to be able to drive on, they’re my best friend on treatment days, when they’re the quickest way to and from the oncologists office.
I’ve learned that the small things (anxiety, for one!), are really just that, in the big scheme of things. They don’t really even matter.
I’ve learned that during my grief, during my tear-fests in the restroom, during my angry times at life around me, that I need to embrace this challenge, that I need to rejoice in this suffering. Because Miguel is still here!!!! There have been true tragedies happening around us since 7/19/17, where lives have been lost instantly, dads/husbands/sons have been taken away without preparation. Miguel is still here. WHAT A BLESSING!!
Through the last month, I have learned how to get to Taco Casa & Chicken Express across the highway and back without having to get stuck in the construction madness. And how NOT to take that one extra exit for my much-desired Starbucks treat, because if I do, it will take me across creation to get back to the treatment center, and it’s just not worth it, even though I needed coffee!!!
I’ve learned how I may love to cook, but that I love eating other people’s food better. HAHA! Seriously, the blessing of the many meals we’ve been blessed with, have seriously overwhelmed me/us in an incredible way. We’ve needed every single one of those meals, for one reason or another. I cannot wait to pay it forward one day.
I’ve learned that Miguel snores and it no longer bothers me. He’s alive!!!
I’ve learned that him being sick doesn’t bother me. It pleases me to help him out. To get up and get his meds ready for him every morning and night. To run to 7-11 for a ginger ale or to the store for A-1 sauce for his mashed potatoes (the only thing that ended up tasting decent the first go-round with chemo). I learned that when I would have to be away from him, that I didn’t want to be. The new normal was what I needed.
I’ve also learned the love of strangers. How the words from someone you’ve never met before, is enough to keep you going for another day or two (or more!). That candy on your doorstep is the best gift ever, even when you didn’t even know you wanted it (though, it wasn’t like you’re thinking — I didn’t eat any of it — it was for Miguel, during the times nothing tastes good and he just needs some hard candies to suck on during the mouth sores part of chemo). 🙂
And my kids. Boy, oh boy, my kids. I have learned how strong THEY are. While they have learned what the word CANCER is, they’ve also learned what compassion is. What grace is. What love is, and what it means to be thankful. Sure, they still fight every single day, but they also now know gentleness, quietness, sweetness. Love. Love of the Father, and love to their own father. Andrew even accepted Christ into his life and was baptized this last month. God is still there.
I’ve learned to not be afraid to ask for help. Or to just take it when it’s offered to me. Big lesson in this area. Slowly learning it and it gets easier every day, once I remember that helping myself helps Miguel as well.
I’m TRYING to learn to take care of myself too. 😉
I’ve learned that driving a million errands with fighting kids in the car and coming home to a messy house and a ton of things left to do, is actually comforting to me — it’s the old normal that I didn’t know I craved so much.
I’ve seen the devil at work in my life almost daily. But more than that, I’ve seen the HAND OF GOD on my life EVERY SECOND. (guess who has been kicked to the curb more times than I can count?!)
I have seen people praying who never prayed before. People talking who didn’t talk much before. I’ve heard stories after stories of pain and healing. I’ve seen relationships mended when it seemed impossible prior.
I’ve heard words in songs that I never heard before. I heard God talking through license plates on the highway.
I’ve learned how to celebrate the small victories in this journey — clear PET scans! A little airway movement through his nose! Gentle(ish) side effects!
Through this month, I’ve seen how God was working on this journey way before we even knew it was coming. WAY before. God blessed us with Miguel’s mom and stepdad, who came to live just a street over from us, before we even knew about this diagnosis. He knew what He was doing! We love our ‘Buela!!!
I’ve learned that I am nothing special. I am doing what God has called me to do. I am walking beside Miguel in this fight. I am praising Him in this storm and dancing in the valley despite the many attempts I had, trying to climb back up to the mountain top where life was easier. That’s just not where He wants us right now. And that’s okay.
Christmas is upon us in a few months. Thanksgiving, pumpkin patches, family gatherings, trick-or-treating with the kids. I can be sad that we’re having to go through this at this time, or I can be pleased as punch that at least we’re given a chance to go through it. We’ve been blessed by the short(hopefully!) fight that we have in front of us, who can complain about ANYTHING else?! Cancer patients can still see pumpkins, can still eat candy, can still enjoy fall and the blessings and joy that Christmas brings!
I’ve learned a lot through this last month. But what haven’t I learned? I haven’t learned what it’s actually like for Miguel. The struggle is very real for him. I see it daily. And there’s more to come. But that’s where faith comes in. And my strength. I speak positive words around him because yes, they’re easy. But they will also get us through this. Speak life, I was told, at the beginning of this madness.
I may get very frustrated at times. I may miss my kids more than I would normally. I may hate this disease and all that it takes from us. I may have moments of weakness and not wanting to face this anymore. Anger. Grief. All of that. I may definitely feel all of those emotions over and over again at some time or another.
But then I look before me. And there HE is. Miguel may be a few steps behind me in this journey, because the chemo makes him slower paced (hahaha love ya babe!), but God is right there in front of us. He’s walking this path ahead of us. He knows the steps we are about to take, the road and where it will lead. So what is there to fear, what is there to worry about? I shall take His hand and Miguel’s in the other, and we will get through this. No matter the outcome.
It has been a month. (and man, has it ever been a month!!)
I choose to see what a beautiful month it has been.
God is good. And if you don’t believe that, or don’t know Him, you should! Life is so much better with Him guiding you through your journeys. Trust me. I know.
One month down. We got this.