It’s 12:21am on Thursday, June 10th. I have to be at the hospital by 6am to surgically have a port placed in my chest for my upcoming treatments to fight cancer.
…and I cannot sleep.
Honestly, I felt like I have kept it together fairly well since the week of my diagnosis (which was six and a half weeks ago at this point). But when I got the call earlier today (well, technically yesterday now) from the surgical nurse to confirm my arrival time for surgery I felt the pressure building behind the emotional floodgates. I hung up from that call and immediately felt all the emotions I have tried so hard to suppress.
I felt fear.
I felt sadness.
I felt frustration.
I felt pissed off.
I felt myself feeling the true weight of it all.
I allowed myself to feel it all.
I texted a fellow breast cancer warrior and said, “Whelp, apparently the call from the surgical nurse is when all the fear, anger, sadness and frustration I’ve been fighting slapped me in the face like a 100 ton wrecking ball. This sucks (*there may have been an extra word used within that sentiment, but…). I know it’ll all be fine, but WHY in the actual hell do we have to walk this journey?”
“I know girl. I know. I’ve been waiting for this for you. The emotion waves are real and they come and go. Let yourself feel all of it because it’s all warranted. It’s ok to be irate (*she may have used an extra word within that sentiment, too, but…). This is so unfair.”
…and then I pulled it together, asked some of my prayer warriors to come alongside the moment and moved on with the day.
But here I am that many hours later still feeling those emotions lingering in the darkness as I lay in my bed typing this.
The past five days have involved someone backing into my car, a crazy rash taking over part of my body and having to rule out a case of shingles, bills filling my mailbox, trying to work as though everything is normal…and yet you know what? Those things feel so much less important than they would have had I not been given a cancer diagnosis at the very end of April. The perspective shift is so clear, and it’s one I do not want to lose sight of.
Tonight a friend tagged me in this post on Instagram, and I took a screenshot. I want to look at it tomorrow as I sit alone for six hours of chemo right after coming out of anesthesia for a port placement surgery.
Because despite the most terrifying call of my life. A mammogram. An ultrasound. A breast biopsy. Another mammogram. Another ultrasound. An MRI. Another ultrasound. A lymph node biopsy. A blood draw. A genetics test. Two surgical consults. An EKG. A COVID test. Surgery in five and a half hours. Six hours of chemo. An injection on Friday. An echo of my heart on Monday. Days of feeling absolutely wrecked physically (and maybe mentally/emotionally, too). There is beauty. So, so much beauty.
There’s been prayers over me. Random stop-ins at my house. Cards. Flowers. Pies. Gifts. Text messages. Calls. The most generous gifts of my life. Encouragement.
Those things were there before a cancer diagnosis, but I now recognize I took them for granted. I let days pass without counting my blessings. There was so much beauty I so clearly failed to pause and appreciate.
No more. No more taking the beauty of this fragile life for granted. I’m aware of how delicate it is.
Signing off at 12:46am. May I sleep knowing He loves me. He’s got this. He knows…
Today, my friends. Today is the beginning of the end of this nightmare, but I’m praying hard I intentionally continue to find and recognize beauty woven amongst it in this detour chapter.
Published June 10, 2021