As December 15th approaches, my heart is filled with many emotions. That day marks a year since Mallorie was diagnosed with leukemia. This past year has been a whirlwind of change, sacrifice and growth. I can remember the feeling of losing my breath when we heard the words “your daughter has leukemia.” The room was full of family, but I felt alone. I had no idea what laid before me in this unplanned season of life.
The hospital became our home on and off for many weeks. Just when I thought she was getting stronger, she would be sick. I wanted to be home with my husband and other two children, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to express myself. I was running on anxiety and fear. Cancer changed me. Some of the changes are good, but some are not. There are days I worry she will relapse or catch something she can not recover from. It always lingers in the back of my mind. Every~single~day. On the other hand, I am more compassionate to others with illness. I have made many new friends. And I try not to take anything for granted. There are still days, even though she is in remission and doing so well, I get angry and frustrated at this monster. I often wonder if I will ever be able to relax.
It seems hard to believe we have come so far. I can remember the first few nights in the hospital at diagnoses thinking, “Will this ever get better?” Many doctors and nurses would tell me it would, it just takes time. They were right. It does get a bit easier. Treatments are less harsh. Appointments become fewer. Hospital stays less frequent. However, the thought of cancer and all it has destroyed never vanish from my thoughts. Not only do I worry for my child, I worry for all the other families and children dealing with cancer. So many children have been taken away. Families are broken. Dreams are lost. It makes me want to scream.
Even with all the doubts, fears and frustrations, I know deep down we are blessed. And I know there is always a purpose for the things that happen. I have amazing support and prayer warriors all over the country. It is hard to be a care giver of a sick child, plus be a focused wife, mom, daughter, friend and employee. There are times I feel like a failure, but then moments I even surprise myself. I have learned it’s all about perspective. I have days when I am alone, I break down. And in those moments, I think I become a bit stronger. There are days I am happy. There are days I am mean and selfish. There are days I want to quit. There are days I want to dance. There are days I want to run. But at the end of those days, no matter what emotion I am feeling, I know my purpose in this moment in time is to “be”. Be flexible. Be willing to love. Be open. Be okay with what I am feeling. Be honest. Be understanding. Be silly. Be ready for anything. Be available. And most importantly, be still.
One of my favorite verses is “Be still and know that I am God.” I love that verse so much I have it tattooed on my wrist. It reminds me I don’t have to have the answers. And when I am a complete mess, I can rely on God to carry me. He has been the only reason I have made it through my daughter’s cancer and all the other junk associated with it. I truly do hate cancer. It is a thief. It is a destroyer. It is a selfish beast. But I believe good conquers all evil. And when I get to tuck my daughter in at night or I see her smiling and hear her laughter, she is winning this battle.
Life is to short to play games and carry baggage. I try to let go of all the crap that comes at me. I am learning to become comfortable with expressing myself. I guess if I had to thank cancer for one thing, I would have to say thank you for showing me I am not prefect. I will stumble and fall. I will continue to make mistakes. I will cry and be angry. Cancer has reminded me to reach out to God. I don’t need to be a super hero. And I am discovering it is okay to just be, well, me.