Saturday, February 21, 2009

Face to Face with Cancer

Next to the day I read my ultrasound reports, today has been the hardest day for me since this journey started.
Carl had to teach at the church from 8am to 4pm today. I had a 10:00 appointment to pick up my wig. I still had my hair though it was very thin and coming out in large handfuls. My plan had been to wear the wig until my hair had gotten so thin that Eric would shave it. I thought that it would be easier if Eric did it than someone else. But when I got to the wig shop, the wig could not be fitted correctly with my hair because it kept slipping off. Sarah recommended that I shave it all off then so she could fit it for me. I really was not prepared for that. I didn't think I couldn't bring myself to do it. I didn't want to go to church tomorrow with a new wig. I knew that if I drove to Eric's house and he shaved it, I would have to drive back to the wig shop with no hair at all. I felt like a caged animal with no where to go. Sarah tried to make light of it. "It is only hair" she said, "You still have your life." I knew that but it didn't help. Why was this such a difficult thing for me?
Feeling like I was trapped and taking too much of her time with my indecision, I told her to just shave it. The sound of the clippers made me nauseous. My hair all over the floor brought tears to my eyes. I purposely made myself think of the last few days with Brent coming home and the birth of two new grandbabies to try to drown out the sound of the clippers.
When she finished shaving, she put the wig on before she turned me to face the mirror. I left with a new style and a new color (the remnants of my red hair lying all over the floor).
Although I wanted to be in Carl's arms, I was thankful that he was'nt home. After about an hour of walking mindlessly around the house I stood in front of the mirror and forced myself to take off the wig. I looked like my Marine son, Brent.
It was then that I fell apart. I cried out from the depths of my heart. Why was I having to go through this. I have tried to live a good life. Did I deserve this? I felt total despair. I wondered how I would ever be able to let Carl see. I thought of Job and all that he went through.
After several minutes, I whispered a silent plea for God to get me through this. I didn't hear His voice like I have so many times before, but I knew He was there and He felt my pain. He understood.
In the quietness, it came to me why this was such an overwhelming step for me. I have really never been a vain person. Not into a lot of make up or fancy clothes. I believe beauty comes from the inside out but, I do think that it is hard for any woman to lose her hair. For me though, looking at my bald head was a stark slap in the face reminder that I had Cancer. So far this disease had not consumed me. Yes, I had surgery. Yes, I got my chemo treatment. Yes, I had been nauseous for six days. But I feel good and I don't look sick. Now as I look in the mirror, it is a stark slap in the face reminder that I have Cancer! I don't think I had been in denial, just chose to try not to think about it all the time. Now, there would be no denying it, to myself or anyone else. I was face to face with this disease.
I drove to the church and met Carl and he said I was beautiful. He hugged me and held me as I cried. He is so good to me. Carl and I went to Eric and Katie's. We watched Eric and his friends laughing and playing horse shoes. We watched Dylan and Jayda laughing as they jumped on the trampoline. I held sweet baby Cooper and silently thanked God for this moment in time that I was enjoying. I had a wonderful husband, beautiful supportive children and sweet grandchildren. When I got home, there was a valentine card in the mail from baby John whom I had taken care of in the NICU and his brother Anthony who I came to love. It said "You are the best nurce". Love Baby John and Anthony. What a a delight! Yes, I had my life and my life is good.
I also have my favorite promise Lamentations 3:23. He gives me" fresh new mercies every morning."
Tonight as I go to sleep, I will thank God for giving me this day, hard as it was, and for the fresh new morning and blessings He will give me when I awake.