I have always tried to be extremely open & honest in this blog. That hasn't always been easy for me because I am a really private person. But I have done so because it is my greatest hope that this blog can help others going through what we are going through or that it will just minister to others needing encouragement. Today's blog will be one of the hardest for me to write because it is the most open I have ever been but I feel like it is all a part of the process......so here goes......... Today was one of the worst days I have had. Ever. It didn't just happen by chance. This has been building inside of me for awhile & I finally reached a tipping point. I have been so raw lately, so tired & so sad. We completed Joel's first full week of chemo in the hospital. I left the hospital on the last day totally worn out physically, emotionally, mentally, just about every way that I could be. I left & never wanted to return again. But I know that I have to-21 more times to be exact. I am exhausted from this first time & literally have no idea how I will make it 21 more times. I have been feeling such a sense of loss. It is almost like I have been in mourning. Cancer robs so much from you. It has put everything in our lives on hold. Joel & I love ministry & church & being really active in what is going on. For the next year we not only will not be able to do that-we will be lucky if we can even make most Sunday services. I have mentioned before that we were about to start the IVF process right before we found out Joel had cancer. We had been trying to conceive for 4 years & were so excited to finally start our family. We have been trying for so long & we were ready. I never wanted to be an older Mom. I have always wanted to be done having kids by the time I am 30. I will turn 30 this year while we are still in the middle of chemo. Dreams on hold-desires on hold-life on hold. We were at the point where we had just gotten somewhat established in our finances & got that wonderful "cushion" that we are told that we need. That is about to be gone due to our medical expenses. It feels like we are losing a year of our life. It feels like everything we have worked so hard for is vanishing before our eyes. How do I prepare myself for the next year when it is already so hard at the beginning? How do you keep your spirits up when you have nothing to look forward to but weeks in the hospital & endless doctors visits? I don't know the answer to those questions. But I know I have been thinking more & more about it lately & getting more & more sad. At this point I feel like everything has been taken from us. Everything. And it hasn't been easy.
Joel & I had made dinner plans months in advance to have dinner with friends this Friday night. One of the couples was driving in from out of town just for the occasion. We looked at Joel's chemo schedule & tried to plan this dinner for a time that he would be feeling better. Everything was lining up according to plan. Joel started to feel well & it looked like everything was a go. I was so excited for this night. It was the only thing that I had to look forward to for the past month. I needed this time to try to forget about how hard things had been for us lately & connect with friends that had been a huge encouragement to us. And then......Joel goes to the doctor today to get his blood levels taken. His white blood cells are too low. That means that he is extremely vulnerable to getting sick-so no restaurants-no friends-no dinner plans. I was devastated. It might seem like a small thing but to me it was just one more thing on top of everything else. I had anticipated chemo being hard but I didn't anticipate our having to be at home constantly & any semblance of our former life completely disappearing. That on top of stress from finances, stress from work, stress from everything else just hit me today & it hit me hard. I cried my way throughout the day. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a crier & I am not someone who is sad & emotional all of the time. I am a wreck. I don't even know who this person is sometimes. My friends would probably be alarmed to know how much I cry these days & how worn out & sad I feel. I just felt like when is it going to end? When are we going to get a break? How much more can I take?
I made my way home at the end of the day to see Joel. I walked in the door & went immediately to wash my hands so I wouldn't get him sick. I leaned over the sink & my favorite necklace caught on something & broke into a bajillion pieces just like I feel like our life is-broken into a bajillion pieces. That was my tipping point. I was now sobbing & Joel was looking at me like I had lost my mind. I picked up all the pieces of my necklace & angrily threw it in the trash. I ran to my bedroom & flopped on my bed crying. Not just a few tears but with everything I had within me. I went to take a shower & bawled in the shower. I pleaded with God. "God you told me You will not give me more than I can handle. I can't handle any more. I can't handle anymore. I can't handle anymore!!!!!" I stayed in that shower until the water ran cold & my tears ran dry. I got out & didn't feel any better & didn't feel like anything had been fixed. I still felt despondent & I still felt weary. But I had to get it together before I walked in that living room to see my husband again. So I wiped away my tears & headed to the living room. And that is when I saw it. Sitting on the kitchen bar. My necklace. It was a necklace again. When I was in the shower Joel had dug all of the pieces of my necklace out of the trash & put it back together again. I walked over & looked at my necklace that I loved so much & my eyes clouded over again with new tears. And that is when God spoke to my heart so softly yet so clearly. I will put your life back together again-He said. I have never heard anything more clearly in my life. I am hurting & I am broken. I am sad for what we have lost & there are moments where I feel like nothing in my life will ever be the same. I don't think that things are going to magically fix themselves over-night & go back to how they were. I know we have a long road ahead of us & we have a lot of healing to go through still. But I have never been more confident of the fact that one day our lives will be happy again. Our hopes & our dreams will be restored to us. He will fix what was broken & heal what is hurting. And we will be like that necklace, like-new & whole once again.