I promised myself when I started this blog that I would be honest with everyone. I’ve tried to shield people from some of the slightly more personal bodily function details that might be gross (sorry, but the next blog is taking down that wall). Emotionally, I think I’ve tried to be really strong; I thought I had hit the acceptance phase of grief. Perhaps I was still trapped in denial. I knew there was a chance that cancer might take my life, but I never allowed myself to believe it. I was going to fight and win. They’d write stories about my defying the really horrible odds. Ten years from now, our kids would hear how mommy had been sick and lived.
When I was a teenager, my faith in God went through a major crisis unrelated to the typical teenage doubts. I would pray, often in fact, for one thing in particular. God never seemed to listen. I didn’t understand: I wasn’t praying for good test scores, a car or even that some random boy would like me. I was praying for God’s help in a situation that I had no control over, a situation that left me at times severely depressed and, according to a counselor, suicidal. God never listened. It was fifteen years before my faith resurged and it was mostly thanks to one man: my husband. Finding him felt like the prayer had been answered, albeit late. Now, I’m starting to find that faith slipping again. God is starting to appear cruel.
Please allow me to backtrack and explain why.
While my CT scans were still not back –thanks hospital people!—the MRI was. As we’ve already covered, the results aren’t exactly the ones we were hoping for. In fact, Dr. Brooks agreed that being this far in (one-third the way planned), he was hoping that there would be some shrinkage. He wanted concrete evidence that we were on the right track. Though the tumor isn’t growing and, therefore, we know these drugs could prolong my life –if I want chemo three weeks a month until I decide I’m done or the cancer decides to stop responding to the drugs that is—they aren’t doing what we want, which is shrinking the tumors. He mentioned two oral medications we could try and the fact the he is looking into research studies I might be able to participate in. Dr. Brooks wants a drug that is going to work. He wants remission.
Yet, as he kindly told me today when I pushed for some kind of answer on where this might be going as the current treatment is failing, there is no cure. Cancer, in general, has no cure. Remission is the best case scenario and my cancer doesn’t exactly have the best rates of remission. Are there people that he thought would die in a month that are still living? Yes. Are there others that failed when he thought they’d live? Yes. I am, as he said, an anomaly and definitely not a statistic. Realistically, though, there’s a chance I am going to die. Chemo will buy me time; how much time we have no idea, but my specific type of cancer is especially bleak in the numbers game. I might have a year, I might have ten years…finding a cancer cure would be my only and best bet, but we need to at least find a drug that will put my cancer in remission.
I haven’t really been able to bring myself out of the funk since. I know I asked, it’s my own fault for being so damn inquisitive, but hearing him say that I could die, especially as this tumor is not responding to the traditional treatment, was very disheartening. All the hope I’ve held on to, the positive attitude, crumbled. Perhaps it was all a façade anyway. I think I was trying to be brave and strong for everyone else. Keeping cool under pressure is my thing. Maybe I really needed to hear just how vague and bleak it could be to truly manage the stages of grief. We all knew I had anger under control; rational people do not want to take bricks to car windows. I hadn’t really done the bargaining thing. I thought I had successfully navigated denial, not remained so steadily in it, and had even done the depression thing.
Instead, I find myself in a major crisis of faith, trapped in the stages of denial and depression. Honestly, what kind of “loving father” tortures his children this way? What kind of God dangles hopes and dreams in front of a girl, teases the thirsty with a sip of water only to prove it’s all sand? He gave me this amazing husband, taunted me with the hope of fifty years with him, children and grandbabies; now He wants to rip it all away? He ignored the pleas of a child in serious need of help, only to possibly take her life when she finally feels safe, loved and secure? How is that fair? How is that kind and loving? This isn’t some test to me; this is my life. I’m done with the “He won’t give you more than you can handle.” I can’t handle this! I don’t want to handle this! I want the life He offered me back. I want to believe in Him again and it’s so damn hard. I want my life.
I’ve said this a lot, but I am going to reiterate it. I don’t want to die. I had plans and dreams; my husband and I promised each other fifty years. Monday, we celebrate our first anniversary. I thought we’d be pregnant by now. We had plans to move somewhere else together and raise a family. I wanted that. I still want that. I feel like there has to be something I’ve done to deserve all this pain and suffering. Admittedly, I wasn’t a great child. I told lies. I did plenty of things I’m not proud of and wish I could take back, but I can’t.
Right now, I’m rather numb. Crying does that to me. I’m trying to dig out of this rather deep pit I fell into today. I’m clutching to hope like a limb on the side of a rock face preventing me from slipping further down. My desire is that I will be able to restore my faith and determination in beating the cancer so that I can have those fifty years.
Tonight, though, I’m letting myself wallow. Anyone want a brownie?