(November 18, 2014)
Two weeks. Fourteen Days. Three hundred and thirty-six hours. You get the idea.
It felt like I had to wait forever to go see the surgeon. I was an emotional wreck. The only people who knew anything was going on were our parents and my best friend. It’s hard to explain how I felt. I didn’t want anyone to know, but at the same time, I wanted to scream out to anyone who would listen that I could possibly have cancer. But most likely not. But maybe.
You don’t want to jump to the worst possible conclusion, but it’s difficult not to. Facing the reality of my mortality and my complete lack of control was SO HARD. I tried to be normal throughout the day in an attempt to not freak my kids out. We try to be as honest in our house as possible, but wanted to keep things vague when talking to our 2 and 4 year-old. When I just couldn’t keep myself in check and would start crying, I would just explain that “mommy’s body isn’t working right and it’s hurting right now”. They seemed satisfied with that answer, and would always lovingly run to the kitchen for a towel for me to dry my tears on.
I would go through my day and feel ripped apart. The thought of leaving my sweet babies motherless and my husband alone was just too much. I know that if I have to face death, I can rest easy. I know Jesus as my savior and while the unknown honestly freaks me out a bit, I know this: I really love my life here on this broken earth, so going to heaven, a place designed in perfection, can only be more wonderful. The part that freaks me out is knowing the pain that would endure for everyone left behind. And the helpless feeling knowing I can control nothing.
The days passed by and I was an emotional rollercoaster. For a few days I would feel amazingly confident and calm. I was sure everything would be fine. Then something small would happen that just seemed to tip me over the edge, and I would be a wreck. I dealt with my issues by eating trashy food and gaining weight. Other days I would clear my mind by going running. I was snappy at times and yelled at my kids when my patience wore thin. My husband was, as always, kind and patient. Speaking words of encouragement and truth while giving me extra amounts of grace for my craziness.
If I could only allow myself the same amount of kindness and grace. I spent almost the entire two weeks trying to suppress my fears. The reason I was on such a crazy rollercoaster was because I would bottle everything up until it would explode just a tiny bit and I would be allowed a small amount of relief, only to do the same thing over and over and over.
I had convinced myself that it was not okay to be upset about this. If I was upset and worried that I might have cancer and then found out my biopsy came back just fine, I would be a fraud. I would be stealing from all of those who actually were suffering from this awful disease. It was not okay to be anxious or upset.
If all of these thoughts were told to me by someone else, I would have told them they were being ridiculous! That they had every right to worry and I would support them as much as possible. But I am my own worst critic. My own enemy. My expectations of myself are frequently unattainable.
Somewhere along the line it finally clicked. Whether by my husband’s quiet reassurance, or that one final GIGANTIC meltdown where I sobbed buckets of tears, I realized it was okay. I gave myself permission to hurt. Permission to be scared. My appointment with the surgeon was just a few days away, but I finally felt as though I could continue living life normally and not gripped in constant fear and anguish.