Saturday, November 01, 2014

So, how do you FEEL?

Quite a few people have asked me this question.  I understand why.  It is a pretty big deal to be told you have breast cancer and then have a double mastectomy.  There are probably a lot of us who have thought some time or another that that would be a tough thing to have to face.  

Well, honestly, I am feeling strong, encouraged and positive.  And I have three big reasons why! 

1.  The first reason is that God has given me strength and courage and self-control.  And the result of that is PEACE!  I may not have control over my circumstances but I do have control over my thoughts and emotions.  Because my trust is in Him, I don't have to be overly concerned and worried about my life.  No matter what happens, I know that ultimately I'm going to be OK as long as He is with me.  And I know that He is!  Even if I have to suffer, I know that He will help me through it!  Even if I have to face death, I know that He will be with me every step of the way.  I must add that right now, thankfully, I am not suffering.  And I am not facing death.  I can only imagine how hard THAT would be!  But if I were, I know that His grace would see me through!  

If any of my friends are reading this that doesn’t necessarily believe in the power of Jesus, I understand that this sounds like a bunch of over-spiritual nonsense to you.  But just take my word for it, it's a supernatural, yet very practical thing, and you only experience it when you open your heart and mind to Him! 

In God's Word we are taught to take our thoughts captive and guard our hearts and our minds. I have learned that what the devil wants is to keep us trapped by our emotions and negative thoughts and keep us weak, fearful, feeling sorry for ourselves, and full of worry!  But I know that I don't have to live that way!  So I make the effort and the choice not to wallow in all the what-if's; not to dwell on all the things that can go wrong; and not to feel sorry for myself.  I choose to constantly remind myself and be thankful that I already have what is most important.  And once you truly realize what you have in Him, your future is secure and the fear of the unknown doesn't have the same hold on you as it once did.

2.  The second reason is because of the way God made me.  Because of my temperament I usually look at things from a practical perspective more than an emotional one.  Don't get me wrong, I am emotional about a lot of things, but I usually face challenges and decisions from a more practical perspective.  I can be a real crybaby sometimes too but when I am, I usually just need to have a good cry and that helps me to get over it, whatever "it" happens to be at the time.  I am usually able to process things and not let them overwhelm me.  I have noticed however, that sometimes it requires making a conscience effort to get to that point.

So, is it a bummer to have to have a mastectomy?  Yeah!  But it's not the end of the world and there are definitely worse things that could happen!  

3.  And the third big reason why I can honestly say that I am doing so well is because of my husband!  Before the surgery I tried to prepare him with the reality of what was going to happen.  I showed him worst-case scenario photos and gave detailed descriptions.  Throughout the whole thing I have seen that Jorge's biggest concern is that I am healthy and alive. He is a man like many others and I'm sure it hasn't been easy for him, but he hasn't wavered!  He has been calm, matter-of-fact, and uncomplicated.  Seeing his strength has helped me to relax about the final outcome.

Having said all that, do you remember the part about "having a good cry"?  Well, I did just that one night right before the surgery when I cried myself to sleep!  You might be surprised to hear what the most difficult part was for me, emotionally speaking.  That night as I cried, Jorge asked me if I was afraid about the surgery.  I said, "No, I'm not afraid.  I'm just sad.  All my life I dreamed of becoming a mother, giving birth and breastfeeding my baby.  Now, what little bit of hope that was left in me to someday be able to do that now dies once and for all with this surgery."  

Jorge and I have dealt with the issue of childlessness for years now and the Lord long ago brought us to a place of peace about that.  It's not something that I dwell on anymore.  I have chosen to trust that God has my best interest at heart and if He has allowed me to walk through the heartbreak of childlessness then it is for a good purpose.  I have learned to recognize, appreciate and even enjoy the positive side of childlessness.  Nevertheless, that was the hardest part for me, emotionally.  It forced me to re-live the heartbreak, disappointment and death of that dream.  I had to have a good long cry to get that one out of my system.  I imagine that it will be something that I will always have to deal with, on some level, this side of Heaven.

I still have moments here and there when that sadness hits me but they are fleeting moments that come and go pretty quickly.  It's not something I am struggling with and I don't dwell on it.  It's just part of life now.  And in all honesty, I think a lot of those moments happen due to fluctuating hormones!  Do I hear an "Amen" to that one, girlfriends?  

OK so this is a little embarrassing to share, especially with my male readers, but for the sake of transparency, I'll just pretend I'm talking to my girlfriends out there when I share this:  One other thing that I noticed in this whole process is that I had never realized or appreciated how cute and perky my boobs were until the last few weeks and months before the surgery!  Before, I had mostly noticed their defects and what I didn't like about them.  But facing a mastectomy shined a whole new light on them!  All of the sudden they were beautiful and just right!  Isn't it a shame that we are like that?  So often in life we don't appreciate something or someone until we don't have them anymore!  I was sad and disappointed that now that I finally really liked them, I would have to forfeit them.  So, take my advice, and appreciate them while you have them!

I really have appreciated the fact that people have shown concern for how I am doing emotionally and not just physically.  It means a lot to have people in my life who care about me and are sensitive to the fact that what I am going through is not easy.  So thank you so much for caring and for those of you who have specifically prayed for me in this area, well, God is answering your prayer!!

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I love you..and everything you stand for. Keep shining and smiling!