On July 6, 2019, I celebrated two years of no Glanda and no cancer.
Immediately after my surgery two years ago, I was SO SURE that I was healed and that the whole benign-to-malignant-flip-in-the-operating-room situation was a miracle that none other than Jesus had performed so I could eventually find my purpose through it all. But as time has gone on and the questions and fears have terrorized me with vengeance, the miracle that has brought me people, writing, opportunity, and perspective has at times become some sort of nightmare I fight to wake up from.
The weeks leading up to my surgery anniversary this year were pretty scary…
Nothing felt safe. Nothing. And this was in no way how I had always imagined my two-year anniversary to look.
My two-year anniversary is a day that I had dreamed of since the pathology was first confirmed and since I heard the words, ” but once we get about two years out we will all feel a little better about things.” Dr. Carroll and I had a giggle over not remembering he said that recently, but let me tell you, I have clung to those words for hope on so many hard days with the expectation that there was, in fact, some sort of a resolution to come of the fear and anxiety that absolutely consumes me at times.
I’ve just always imagined of the two year mark as home base, a place of safety and security where I could rest and cozy up to the solidarity of my health. It was my something to look forward to even though I was slowly stumbling my way around the other bases at the time. It felt like a milestone where I could finally breathe knowing I had made it. I had survived.
Unfortunately, cancer’s not quite that cut and dry. A date on the calendar doesn’t wipe away emotions and health sure doesn’t shed any grace on delicate situations.
I have thought about cancer in some capacity every single day of the last two years. There are many days I feel the true weight of knowing my body made cancer cells at one point. There are days where I get overwhelmed thinking about how far I’ve come in strength and character and fall to my knees in thanks. There are other days where I sit in a filthy pit of destructive thoughts trying to claw my way back out to real life. And there are days I look in the mirror and feel like the lost and broken little girl that I was during that one other time in my life where I completely lost who I was.
If you haven’t gathered this from following along yet, cancer diagnosis and treatment is a bit like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded in terms of mental and emotional well-being. The turns that make your tummy drop and the upside down moments come without warning, and there’s definitely plenty of screaming. My instinct is always to apologize and pull away from those I have unintentionally burdened when I get scared of potentially what’s to come, but I continue to return to this place because there is someone somewhere out there that is feeling the same way but is also feeling very alone.
I told someone the other day that I never once imagined that my place of purpose would be cancer, and with a bit of a chuckle, I chewed on those words and swallowed them hard. But isn’t that the gospel? Going through something horrendously difficult for the ultimate benefit of others and the kingdom? Woof.
So what does two years post-op look like for me? It’s pretty mediocre. I’m far enough out to understand some of the deeper effects of what I’ve been through and far enough out to understand the risk that still comes with being a (former) cancer patient. It’s pretty weird to be honest, but I’m dang sure glad I can say I made it here to this important milestone.
Now, onto year 3! Onward and upward.