Quitting

I have the passionate desire to walk away. To quit. Scrap the mission. To cry, “Uncle!” I want to quit sooo bad! It’s sooo very too hard to do this.
This is where folks tell me or, if the tables were turned, I’d tell them to lean on God, to draw strength from the source of everything. I KNOW THAT!
I am failing at being strong. I am failing at trusting again. I am failing at faith. I am failing at rejoicing in God’s strength being made perfect in my weakness! I suck at discipline. My heart is broken in multiple places. I want to quit. And even as I want to, I can’t. Tonight, I pray at my son’s daycare program. Sunday, I preach at my internship church. I have papers to write to maintain my license & I have classes to complete & a degree to finish to be an ordained minister. I actually believe that this is what God called me to do. I want to see it through but my current life & method is failing. I feel like I am failing. I am so glad that this is my pseudo anonymous blog. I need to get this out. I need to start over. Maybe I need to quit. How can I start over? How do I begin again? How do I recover & heal. It’s all too much. I have feelings of abandonment, poor self-esteem, I worry that people think I’m weak. I am weak. I worry that because of it, I will lose opportunities. My friends say that if someone rejects me then well, it’s their bad & they are wrong. If they hold my humanity against me then they are not the people I should want approval from anyway. BUT THAT DOESN’T PAY THE BILLS! But those people don’t pay my bills either. They just make me crazy. The thought of their disapproval, disdain & gossip kills me! I let them hurt me & meanwhile, they are not even worried about me! They don’t care! I do not want the approval of these folks. They don’t communicate well, they are self important, they are frontin’, they are cold hearted, they don’t keep promises & they don’t offer help. When they do, you are obligated & indebted. Oh & some of them are racist & some go along to keep position. I am angry & hurt.

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Self Investigation: Healing

When I was going through cancer treatment and surgeries in my teenage years, all I
could think about was getting well. I thought surviving cancer would be the answer. But, it turns out, that being the one who survived has actually led to more questions.
I have had many occasions to think about this idea of healing. What does it mean to be healed anyway? Early in my life, I believe that I was healed because I wasn’t dead. Other times I believed I was not healed because I didn’t have my leg and God hadn’t spontaneously replaced it for me. Healing can mean so many things. My experience with healing has been less a moment and more a journey of understanding, reflection and struggle.
About three years after my last cancer treatment and my last major surgery, my family drove to Iowa City for a check up. We had been making periodic trips since they had amputated my leg and released me from further chemotherapy treatment. On this particular trip, the doctors had informed me that since it had been almost three years without any reoccurrence of cancer that I no longer needed to have check-ups with them. Their only request was that I get a chest x-ray next year with my yearly physical.
After receiving the good news, we left the pediatric oncology clinic and immediately headed over the pediatric oncology wing of the hospital, the floor where I had received all my chemotherapy treatments, for a visit. We trekked the long halls of the University of Iowa Hospitals and arrived at 3JC West, the place where I had spent at least a week of every month of my sophomore year of high school, and asked the person on duty to page my favorite nurse, Cindy. Cindy was my primary nurse when I was going through chemotherapy. Cindy was strong and intelligent and encouraging throughout my entire treatment schedule. Once, she even got permission from my mother to take me to the movies and out for pizza during one of my stays at the hospital. She was probably one of the reason why I briefly considered being a nurse.
The front desk paged Cindy and soon enough, she rounded the corner and greeted us with smiles and hugs. We told her the good news and she caught us up on the goings on in her life and on 3JC West. Before we left, I asked her about Larry and Becky and Melissa. How were they? What were they doing? She informed me that they had all died. Larry from Cystic Fibrosis AND Becky from a brain tumor AND Melissa from stomach cancer. I was shocked. As we left the hospital, I could scarcely take it in. All three of them were dead.
When we got back to the car and drove back toward home, my mother informed me that Jessica had also died. Jessica and I had the same cancer. She and I spent one afternoon together one summer. She was at the end of her treatment and planning a remission/recovery party and I, on the other hand, was still going through the treatment. My mother had met her father at work. My mom was a customer service representative at Des Moines Water Works and he was a vendor. The receptionist at Des Moines Water Works had introduced them to each other because she knew that both their daughters were going through cancer. Jessica’s cancer had spread to her lungs and after a few surgeries they were not able to save her. My mom told me that she had not told me about any of my hospital friend’s or Jessica’s death because they had all died right around the time that I was getting well. I sat in the back seat of the car by myself and cried.
Even now, I still think about what it means to be that one that lived. It is both joyous and confusing to be that person. Of course, I’m glad to be well. Of course, I’m glad to be alive. I’ve been told more than once that God must have ‘something’ for me to do. To some extent, given my current vocation and field of study, I even buy that line of reasoning, but only to some extent. People say a lot of things, and often those things seem cliche and hurtful to those who have lost someone.
If I am alive and God had something for me to do, then does that mean that God had no plan for sweet, funny, Elvis-loving, Becky – my pizza & ice cream friend? Does that mean that Larry, the little skinny guy who always seemed to be up to something even as he walked the halls pulling his oxygen and IV pole behind him, didn’t make God’s plan list?  Does that mean that Melissa didn’t have a chance? That God didn’t ordain a thing for this teenager to do but that God did for me? It is sometimes painful to try to answer these questions. If I tried, I fear I will come up with some insensitive platitude. No matter what I’d say, it might leave someone out.
I remember as a sophomore in college, sitting on the floor in front of the television enjoying an episode of the 700 Club. I don’t know if they still do it but at some point Pat Robertson and his co-host begin to pray and give ‘Words of Knowledge ’ like, “Someone is being healed of a neck pain, right now.” Things like that. I was totally in the moment with Pat and the co-host when my roommate entered the room. She said, disdainfully, “Do you really believe in healing?” The tone of her voice totally set me off and I turned to her angrily said, “There was a girl that had the same cancer I did. We received to same treatment. Mine in Iowa City and hers in Des Moines. We both had our legs amputated. Her left and my right. She is dead and I am alive. So, YES, I believe in healing!” Then I turned my back and continued to watch the show. She made the intelligent decision to remain silent.
That was healing, as I understood it then. I’m alive and she’s dead, so I’m healed. It’s not so cut and dry for me anymore. I believe that healing takes place in a lot of ways and that, we, as humans, must be very careful about how we judge what is healing and what is not.  Ministers often have to walk a fine line. We are the carriers of God’s word and bearers of Christ’s love, we look for indications of brokenness and hurt in people and try to encourage them to seek wholeness and health in their lives. But we must also avoid offering cheap hope. Although I believe that spontaneous and miraculous healing is possible, I never want to convey that the more common, long journey to wholeness is any less miraculous.  We must be careful not to presume that we know, more than God, what an individual needs.
There are instances in which people want to be encouraging and tell others that God can heal them. Yet, the so-called, ‘encourager’ has set the criteria for what healing is. If the healing process doesn’t go the way the ‘encourager’ anticipates then often, the person in need of healing is blamed for not having enough faith. No one should ever be made to feel guilty for not healing on schedule. This very hurtful when it happens. We project our beliefs on other people to their detriment when we might do well to look deeper at where we get our theology and examine it to see if it is sound or helpful.
Although I can’t answer all the questions that I have about healing right now, I can say that I know that God is God. I cannot control God. I cannot put God in a box. God is not my short order cook or my ATM. God is more than any of us can imagine. God is constantly exploding our idols  and our limited expectations of God abilities. God shows us that our expectations of the divine are not exhaustive. There is always more.
There is no formula to ascertain whom God will heal and whom God will allow to suffer or even die. Being alive is not an indication of healing but it is an opportunity for healing to occur. I find some comfort in the idea that God will do what God does and that healing is always possible and always miraculous, even if the healing does not occur in the way that we anticipated or on what we asked to have healed. And with that, I welcome God even further into my life to heal me and to lead me to whatever I can do to point others to God’s healing power.
In retrospect, I believe that God was present for me when I was sick and that God’s hand was present as I healed. I also believe that God was present with my friends who died. And if they are in the presence of God where all things are complete and make sense, I’m sure they have more understanding of the process than I do. Nevertheless, I’m open to learn whatever God wants to teach me.

Here’s a paper I wrote for Pastoral Care class about an experience with healing.

When I was going through cancer treatment and surgeries in my teenage years, all I could think about was getting well. I thought surviving cancer would be the answer. But, it turns out, that being the one who survived has actually led to more questions.

I have had many occasions to think about this idea of healing. What does it mean to be healed anyway? Early in my life, I believe that I was healed because I wasn’t dead. Other times I believed I was not healed because I didn’t have my leg and God hadn’t spontaneously replaced it for me. Healing can mean so many things. My experience with healing has been less a moment and more a journey of understanding, reflection and struggle.

About three years after my last cancer treatment and my last major surgery, my family drove to Iowa City for a check up. We had been making periodic trips since they had amputated my leg and released me from further chemotherapy treatment. On this particular trip, the doctors had informed me that since it had been almost three years without any reoccurrence of cancer that I no longer needed to have check-ups with them. Their only request was that I get a chest x-ray next year with my yearly physical.

After receiving the good news, we left the pediatric oncology clinic and immediately headed over the pediatric oncology wing of the hospital, the floor where I had received all my chemotherapy treatments, for a visit. We trekked the long halls of the University of Iowa Hospitals and arrived at 3JC West, the place where I had spent at least a week of every month of my sophomore year of high school, and asked the person on duty to page my favorite nurse, Carol. Carol was my primary nurse when I was going through chemotherapy. Carol was strong and intelligent and encouraging throughout my entire treatment schedule. Once, she even got permission from my mother to take me to the movies and out for pizza during one of my stays at the hospital. She was probably one of the reason why I briefly considered being a nurse.

The front desk paged Carol and soon enough, she rounded the corner and greeted us with smiles and hugs. We told her the good news and she caught us up on the goings on in her life and on 3JC West. Before we left, I asked her about Luke and Barbie and Michelle. How were they? What were they doing? She informed me that they had all died. Luke from Cystic Fibrosis AND Barbie from a brain tumor AND Michelle from stomach cancer. I was shocked. As we left the hospital, I could scarcely take it in. All three of them were dead.

When we got back to the car and drove back toward home, my mother informed me that Jessica had also died. Jessica and I had the same cancer. She and I spent one afternoon together one summer. She was at the end of her treatment and planning a remission/recovery party and I, on the other hand, was still going through the treatment. My mother had met her father at work. My mom was a customer service representative at [utility company] and he was a vendor. The receptionist at [utility company] had introduced them to each other because she knew that both their daughters were going through cancer. Jessica’s cancer had spread to her lungs and after a few surgeries they were not able to save her. My mom told me that she had not told me about any of my hospital friend’s or Jessica’s death because they had all died right around the time that I was getting well. I sat in the back seat of the car by myself and cried.

Even now, I still think about what it means to be that one that lived. It is both joyous and confusing to be that person. Of course, I’m glad to be well. Of course, I’m glad to be alive. I’ve been told more than once that God must have ‘something’ for me to do. To some extent, given my current vocation and field of study, I even buy that line of reasoning, but only to some extent. People say a lot of things, and often those things seem cliche and hurtful to those who have lost someone.

If I am alive and God had something for me to do, then does that mean that God had no plan for sweet, funny, Elvis-loving, Barbie – my pizza & ice cream friend? Does that mean that Luke, the little skinny guy who always seemed to be up to something even as he walked the halls pulling his oxygen and IV pole behind him, didn’t make God’s plan list?  Does that mean that Michell didn’t have a chance? That God didn’t ordain a thing for this teenager to do but that God did for me? It is sometimes painful to try to answer these questions. If I tried, I fear I will come up with some insensitive platitude. No matter what I’d say, it might leave someone out.

I remember as a sophomore in college, sitting on the floor in front of the television enjoying an episode of the 700 Club. I don’t know if they still do it but at some point Pat Robertson and his co-host begin to pray and give ‘Words of Knowledge ’ like, “Someone is being healed of a neck pain, right now.” Things like that. I was totally in the moment with Pat and the co-host when my roommate entered the room. She said, disdainfully, “Do you really believe in healing?” The tone of her voice totally set me off and I turned to her angrily said, “There was a girl that had the same cancer I did. We received to same treatment. Mine in Iowa City and hers in Des Moines. We both had our legs amputated. Her left and my right. She is dead and I am alive. So, YES, I believe in healing!” Then I turned my back and continued to watch the show. She made the intelligent decision to remain silent.

That was healing, as I understood it then. I’m alive and she’s dead, so I’m healed. It’s not so cut and dry for me anymore. I believe that healing takes place in a lot of ways and that, we, as humans, must be very careful about how we judge what is healing and what is not.  Ministers often have to walk a fine line. We are the carriers of God’s word and bearers of Christ’s love, we look for indications of brokenness and hurt in people and try to encourage them to seek wholeness and health in their lives. But we must also avoid offering cheap hope. Although I believe that spontaneous and miraculous healing is possible, I never want to convey that the more common, long journey to wholeness is any less miraculous.  We must be careful not to presume that we know, more than God, what an individual needs.

There are instances in which people want to be encouraging and tell others that God can heal them. Yet, the so-called, ‘encourager’ has set the criteria for what healing is. If the healing process doesn’t go the way the ‘encourager’ anticipates then often, the person in need of healing is blamed for not having enough faith. No one should ever be made to feel guilty for not healing on schedule. This very hurtful when it happens. We project our beliefs on other people to their detriment when we might do well to look deeper at where we get our theology and examine it to see if it is sound or helpful.

Although I can’t answer all the questions that I have about healing right now, I can say that I know that God is God. I cannot control God. I cannot put God in a box. God is not my short order cook or my ATM. God is more than any of us can imagine. God is constantly exploding our idols  and our limited expectations of God abilities. God shows us that our expectations of the divine are not exhaustive. There is always more.

There is no formula to ascertain whom God will heal and whom God will allow to suffer or even die. Being alive is not an indication of healing but it is an opportunity for healing to occur. I find some comfort in the idea that God will do what God does and that healing is always possible and always miraculous, even if the healing does not occur in the way that we anticipated or on what we asked to have healed. And with that, I welcome God even further into my life to heal me and to lead me to whatever I can do to point others to God’s healing power.

In retrospect, I believe that God was present for me when I was sick and that God’s hand was present as I healed. I also believe that God was present with my friends who died. And if they are in the presence of God where all things are complete and make sense, I’m sure they have more understanding of the process than I do. Nevertheless, I’m open to learn whatever God wants to teach me.

End notes:

1. They do, in fact, still do the Word of Knowledge thing on the 700 club.

http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/BringItOn/healing-index.aspx . Additionally, the biblical reference often used to explain this phenomenon is 1 Corinthians 12:8.

2.   Not an exact quote by any means but a definite shout out to C.S. Lewis and Paul Tillich.

3. Names have been changed for privacy.

Psalm 55

A friend of mine posted this summary of Psalm 55 on his status on Facebook:

“Open your ears, God, to my prayer; Come close and whisper your answer. I really need you. My insides are turned inside out. Get me out of here; I want some peace and quiet and I’m desperate for change. I call to You, and my life is well and whole, secure in the middle of danger. I pile my troubles on Your shoulders—You’ll carry my load, You’ll help me out…And I trust in You.”  Psalm 55, Message

For the full passage, click here.

Rough Draft to 15 different poems, books, memoirs, sermons, confessions, apologies, blog entries and maybe one eulogy?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 12:30am, revised 09/18/2009

So, I lost weight, I went to the gym, I controlled portions, I ate a freakin’ grapefruit for my snack and I’M HUNGREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!!! I want a real snack. Ugh. See, I really want to be in shape. I want to be healthy, I want to get strong and sexy and chiseled. I want to be a swirl of curve and muscle with a layer of delicious softness. I want to look good. For me, for you, for my husband.

Oh, and don’t get me started on him. He’s been at the gym almost every freakin’ day for over a month and I just want to tell you that he looks terrible and I hope you never notice in your entire life how fantastic my husband is…because he isn’t like me. He doesn’t need attention like I do and if you ever touched him…well, somebody would die…not sure who though… Oh yeah, but back to me, I want to get in shape and healthy and strong and sane and continue what I call my super hero training. I have this little person that I need to take care of, this bigger person that I need to love, this calling that I need to obey…I can hear my womb calling, calling for another. The third. See, the second one got a away.

I bled for 20 days, I still can’t believe that little one got away and my goodness did that little one get away real, real slow. Iris told me, you have to come back, it’s ectopic, there is no way around it, if you don’t, it will grow wherever it is and you will rupture and it will fill you stomach with blood. So methotrexate, two shots in the butt. Weekly blood tests until she said okay…now about your pre cancerous cervix….But I want to try again, he wants to try with me, we could maybe make another little person. The third, hope she won’t get away. She, he? Any chance? Wish I could skip all the bad parts of the my first school year. Wish I could skip the ugly words, the surgeries, the giant syringe, the blood, the pressure, the bottle of pills, the wishing I could die…that a bus would hit me…the screaming…I sure wish I could skip all that and keep all the beauty that slid in between. Working to find a way to not speak of this school and it’s inhabitants with unbalanced hate.

Year two – recovery, recovery, recovery and set back and recovery and the threat of non-enrollment. See the dirt under my nails? It’s my skin and a little of my blood. I try to wash my hands, wash my mind, wash my self real good before I put on my robe and preach but I end up showing my wounds. Wounded Healer, my ass. I want to be a superhero. A force. I want to pray and preach and make beauty when I’m not screaming or looking in the mirror wishing I could change myself.

But I lost weight! I’ll be in the gym tomorrow right next to him because it makes me feel good (he makes me feel so good) and I’ll be at therapy on Wednesday. I’ll keep loving the most beautiful boy in the world everyday even when I’m telling him to STOP THAT! He dances when he walks, he sings when he talks, he laughs all the time, his hugs are perfect even when they are half-hearted because he is a big boy now…thank you.

Can’t wait ’til morning when he climbs into my bed and says, “Good morning, mommy!” And then hugs me.  When he goes to school, I think about all that I have not completed…incomplete, incompletes. So tomorrow… I will try again to eat, to exercise, to feel good, to love, to accept love, to kiss, to hug, to write, to complete, to hip, to hop, to don’t stop…again.

Awesome Post from Craig’s List: Cancer Rant

I love this post! As a Cancer survivor, I feel this person so much!

Cancer Rant


Original Post Date: 2007-10-31, 9:31AM PDT

 In February of this year I was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkins Lymphoma. I went through eight months of chemotherapy, everything looks really good, and now I am just waiting my post-chemo scans to indicate remission. I am finally done with chemo. Woop woop. This is very good news for me. I’m real happy about it and I am excited to get on with my life.I was a good cancer patient…no, a great cancer patient. I was tough. I didn’t curl up in a ball and hide, I faced it, I sucked it up, and got through it. I’m not looking for a medal, I just want to preface what I am going to say with the fact that I am not whiney or self-pitying, and that I realize that I am not the only one who’s had to deal with this crap, and that there’s worse things that could have happened to me. I have a wonderful family and caring friends that have formed a very lovely support system for me. I cannot thank them enough for all their help and love.That said, here’s my rant…This goes out to everyone I know – friends, family, co-workers, doctors, nurses, radiologists, technicians, friends of friends, exes, and others…

1. There is no “good” kind of cancer. Yes, this kind of cancer at my stage has an 80-85% survival rate. That’s great, I am happy about that – really, I am, but that doesn’t make it “good” or any “better” than any other kind of cancer. Cancer is a scary thing, the treatment is excruciating, and at the end of the day, if you happen to get “lucky” and be one of the 15-20% that don’t survive, that statistic turns from a “good” one to a not-so-great one. Really. That’s like one out of five. Can you think of five friends? Picture them. If one of them up and died would you consider it a “good” number of them? I didn’t think so. So please, don’t tell me I got the “good” kind of cancer – don’t even suggest it. Don’t even say, “Well, at least you didn’t get _________ cancer, that would really suck.” Uh, hello, this pretty much REALLY sucks. Next time you get cancer I’ll ask you if you think the kind you got is “good”.

2. Don’t tell me things I don’t want to hear. For some reason, it occurred several times that when I told someone what I was going through (which is kinda awkward anyway), they would say something to the effect of “OH, my (mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, insert any other relative or even remote acquaintance here) just died last year of cancer.” Or “Right, my (insert distant relative here) died of Hodgkin’s.” What the hell?? I have been diagnosed with a terrible disease and am undergoing intensive and debilitating treatment, and you’re going to tell me about someone dying? What? Seriously? It’s better just to not chime in here. Again, next time you get cancer, I’ll try this line out on you and you can let me know what you think.

3. DO NOT ask me about my hair. With the kind of chemo I had, my hair started falling out around treatment #3, slowly at first, then lots at a time until I finally, and very sadly, shaved my head. THAT WAS REALLY HARD TO DO. It’s about a lot of things…it’s about vanity and feeling ugly, it’s about the stigma of being sick and that being obvious to the world, it’s about knowing or not who you are without your hair/eyelashes/eyebrows, it’s complicated. And, I take ownership of the fact that some of that is really superficial shit – but it’s very real and it’s emotional. So, comments like “How’s your hair doing?” “Wow, it’s really thinning out!” “So is your hair just coming out in handfuls?” and “Is that a wig?” are not helpful and WILL make me cry. If you think this is stupid or oversensitive, let me say it again: next time you get cancer let me know how this goes.

4. Don’t tell me it’s going to be ok. Bottom line is this – I know I want everything to be ok, and I know you want everything to be ok – you wouldn’t be my friend/involved family member if that weren’t the case. Unfortunately, we BOTH know that it just might not be ok. We BOTH know that there exists the possibility that it’s not going to be ok and that the disease isn’t going to respond, or is going to come back, and that even if I am tough and brave, it could kill me. I have had to deal with that idea since the word “cancer” came out of the doctor’s mouth. In that moment, and in the hours and days to come, I knew that it could happen that everything was not going to be ok. If I didn’t know that, cancer wouldn’t be such a big deal. If that weren’t a possibility, we wouldn’t have shed tears when we heard the news. So, for my sake, don’t say that line. I know it’s the first thing that comes to mind, and I know you mean it well, but try something else that actually means something, like: “Whenever you need anything I’ll be there” or “This is going to be rough but I’m here for you” or “I’m on my way over with a last season’s Top Model” or even just “Give ’em hell, sista”. I know you may not get it, but next time you get cancer we’ll share profound understanding when I tell you that I know it may not be ok and that I know that’s real scary.

5. Don’t comment about my weight. Ok, here’s something that I didn’t know before I started this. Chemotherapy is NOT a weight loss plan – YES, they have indeed discontinued all the fringe benefits from the cancer card membership. Turns out, they give you steroids that make you hungry all the damned time. And, you feel like complete shit and don’t even have enough energy to walk up the stairs, much less to exercise. In the beginning when I was still trying to figure out how to deal with shitty side effects like constant vomiting, painful mouth sores, etc, I lost weight because I just literally couldn’t eat. But once I got that under control, the hunger would come on, and man, I can eat a lot. I was in pretty good shape (at the gym five days a week, healthy foods, etc) when all this started and now I have gained weight and am up a pants size. The once-muscle has turned into mushy fat and I’m not happy about it, but during treatment there was just no fix. So, the “wow, you’ve put a couple on, haven’t you?” or “I thought you lose weight on chemo” comments are not helpful and again, will make me cry. Next time you get cancer, see how you feel when I tell you to “hit the gym.”

6. Chemotherapy sucks. I think everyone knows that – I don’t know what the first thing is that pops into your head when you read that word, but I would venture to guess that it’s not something warm and smiley. It sucks, it really sucks. You vomit, are nauseated (which is so much worse than vomiting) all the time, you get terrible headaches, you can’t sleep, you get sores in your mouth and chronic yeast infections, you get seriously seriously constipated, your brain malfunctions and you can’t remember how to get to the bus stop or where you normally leave the toothpaste, your whole body hurts, your toenails fall off (wtf? Yeah) and now they give you shots to stimulate white blood cell production (at least in my case) that cause relentless, incapacitating pain that made you simply want to give up on living just to make it stop. Ok, I said it, chemotherapy sucks – and I am really good at being tough and not letting everyone know all the shitty stuff that’s happening to me at once, but you know it sucks. So, no, I am not interested in hearing you whine about a cold you think you’re getting, your scratchy throat, your eye/ear/sinus infection, your sleepiness, your headache, etc. I know you really don’t feel good, but c’mon man, suck it up – or at least go tell someone else who doesn’t have cancer. Next time you get it, you’ll drop kick the asshole that spends ten minutes talking about how bad their hangover is.

7. It’s a REALLY long road. Eight months is a long time to be sick. It just is, and I KNOW (I really know) that it gets old. In the beginning everyone called all the time, offered to go to chemo with me, sent lots of e-mails, came over to visit when I was sick….but after the months drag on it’s like people get sick of it. I understand that – ’cause I got pretty sick of it too. I got sick of calling in to work, not doing anything fun, not seeing anyone….even just answering the damned “How are you feeling?” question….I felt like it was better to lie and say “fine” than to say how I really felt because people kind of don’t know how to react or don’t want to hear it. I have a wonderful husband and mother who took exceptional care of me, even when they needed a break, even when it got old, even when they got sick of hearing me say I felt like shit. They did that because they knew I needed them. I needed other people too, I needed girlfriends to just come over with a movie or a dvd of a funny tv show, or to call me on the days they knew I had treatment, or to just call when they hadn’t heard from me in days. Some did and some didn’t. You know who you are and why you didn’t. Maybe you didn’t feel comfortable or maybe you were too “busy.” Regardless, I love you, and I will do it for you the next time you get cancer.

I really, really hope you never get cancer. I mean that for everyone – even if you’re a jerk, even if you write to me and rant meaningless bullshit about my rant, even if you really deserve to have something nasty happen to you – I hope you don’t get cancer. It’s awful. I’m not one of those “I’m a survivor!” types, I’m not one of those in-your-face super tough post-cancer freaks, I’m really normal and I will get over this. That said, if you do get cancer or if your friend or (insert any relative here) gets cancer, you can bet your bottom dollar that if/when I hear about it I’ll be on your/their doorstep with a big teary welcome to the cancer club hug and a mop and bucket to clean the floors, or popcorn and a dvd for the kids, or dinner so you/they don’t have to make it, or whatever it takes, for as long as it takes – and you won’t have to ask for it, and you won’t have to say thanks, because we’ll both just know. It’s a special club and we take care of our own.

PostingID: 465030621


Amen, Craig’s Lister, Amen.

Relax into Fall – 06/09/06

Here’s an email from 2006 about phantom pain and being an amputee. I wrote this to my pastor after she preached a sermon with the above title….

Today is the day where I am being challenged to do that. My nerve endings are firing off like crazy. Take the sensation of your foot falling asleep, turn it up to 10, 20, 50, 100 or 1000 and experience that feeling off and on for hours in the foot that you no longer have because you are an amputee. That was my evening. I did not handle it well last night but I started to focus and breathe and pray and now I am doing better. I believe that there may be a lot of amputees who could be chronically depressed, drug attics, alcoholics, cutters or just plain mean because they cannot figure out a way to deal with phantom pain and sensation.
I asked Lewis why he’d want to deal with this for the rest of his life and he said, “Because I love you.” Wow. So today, I am working it out. I am praying, focusing, breathing, using visualization, you name it. God has given me the tools to deal with and sometimes defeat this thing. I praise him for that. And its amazing how much better I deal with it, when I relax…..

Lose Yourself

You know, Eminem is ‘special’ but I feel him on a lot of these lyrics.

“Lose Yourself”

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin’
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s choking, how everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out, time’s up over, bloah!
Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that
Easy, no
He won’t have it , he knows his whole back’s to these ropes
It don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, but he’s broke
He’s so stagnant that he knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again yo
This this whole rhapsody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him

[Hook:]
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

The soul’s escaping, through this hole that it’s gaping
This world is mine for the taking
Make me king, as we move toward a, new world order
A normal life is boring, but superstardom’s close to post mortem
It only grows harder, only grows hotter
He blows us all over these hoes is all on him
Coast to coast shows, he’s know as the globetrotter
Lonely roads, God only knows
He’s grown farther from home, he’s no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter
But hold your nose cause here goes the cold water
His hoes don’t want him no mo, he’s cold product
They moved on to the next schmoe who flows
He nose dove and sold nada
So the soap opera is told and unfolds
I suppose it’s old partner’, but the beat goes on
Da da dum da dum da da

[Hook]

No more games, I’ma change what you call rage
Tear this m************ roof off like 2 dogs caged
I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed
I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
But I kept rhyming and stepwritin the next cypher
Best believe somebody’s paying the pied piper
All the pain inside amplified by the fact
That I can’t get by with my 9 to 5
And I can’t provide the right type of life for my family
Cause man, these g*****
food stamps don’t buy diapers
And it’s no movie, there’s no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life
And these times are so hard and it’s getting even harder
Trying to feed and water my seed, plus
Teeter totter caught up between being a father and a prima donna
Baby mama drama’s screaming on and
Too much for me to wanna
Stay in one spot, another day of monotony
Has gotten me to the point, I’m like a snail
I’ve got to formulate a plot fore I end up in jail or shot
Success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not
Mom, I love you, but this trailer’s got to go
I cannot grow old in Salem’s lot
So here I go is my shot.
Feet fail me not cause maybe the only opportunity that I got

[Hook]

You can do anything you set your mind to, man

Thank God for grace and mercy. Opportunity does knock more than once and God gives us so many chances to get it right. He has mercy on us daily. Every morning, in fact, his mercies are new every morning. I need every single one He’s got…especially now.

Level 3, Pre-Cancer

Okay, so I’m really sick of visiting the doctor. Really, really sick of it! So Iris calls me yesterday and tells me that the colposcopy did, in fact, confirm the Pap results.

I am so sick of this year. Miscarriage, now this. I am exhausted! She said she will go talk to the cancer doctors to discuss my situation. She said she may refer me to them. She said she’d call me next week with a plan of action.

Today, I cried….

Best case, they do the LEEP procedure and clean house. Clean, I want it clean and I don’t want to hear any of this garbage come out of a doctor’s mouth ever again. Negative effect of best case: next baby delivers at 37 weeks instead of 40 weeks. That is the side of effect since this will be my second LEEP. I can handle that. Right now, that is all I can handle. And yes, I know that He will sustain me.. I know that! He does it every time. He did it last time. He did it a minute ago. He’s doing it now but I don’t want to do this. I want to deal with regular uncertainty, not this.

One set of foot prints.

I am afraid and angry. I am sick of this. Div School. Miscarriage. Level 3, Pre-Cancer. Life as ministry tool? Lord, make it worth it, please. I know I have work to do so I’m counting on you to make it alright. Please.

Fear

Fear sucks. I hate fear. Fear paralyzes me. I have 4, count them four papers due because of fear. Well, not just because of fear. Part of it is that I’m still sad about the miscarriage. Part of it is fear. In my case, fear breeds procrastination. I’m a perfectionist so I worry, worry, worry that what I’m doing will suck. I worry that its not good enough. Back to the miscarriage. I am having trouble concentrating, I still want to cry sometimes. I am having trouble putting my thoughts together. Did I mention that I’m sleepy? Sleepy a lot! I want to stay in bed. I guess I’m not totally incapacitated by depression because I still love hanging out with my friends and I am still my social self but I’m struggling. Oh and then there’s the Level 3 abnormal Pap. Yep. So I’ve got a lot on my mind. Not cool. I need to get this done but I’d rather do anything but that. I just need to get started. I was talking to my girl, Mary the other day and I had a whole bunch of ideas. I was able to talk it out.  Can I get it on paper though? Not yet. The funny thing about it is that I want my writing to be part of my ministry! I want that so bad. Ugh!!! I know it will come together. I must press on.

So Slaughtered-So Thankful

So the 3 week summer language intensive was so ugly for me. The final did not go well. I have not seen the grade but I know I got slaughtered. When your teacher offers you a “do over”, you know how you did. Thank God for her for giving me a retake. So the rest of this week in dedicated to fixing that and studying so I can get through the next Hebrew class. I was talking to Mary Ellen and she asked me if the other students had taken Hebrew before. I believe all of the other students had previous experience with either Hebrew, biblical or modern, or another ancient language. I believe I was the only one in the class that had no previous experience. Interesting. It made me feel a little better. I’m most happy about how calm I am about all of this.