Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"If you can't say something nice . . .

. . . don't say nothin' at all."

I decided to live by Thumper’s advice these last several weeks. Well, not around my family, unfortunately for them, but at least on social media. I wanted to spare you all from my impression of Sadness from the movie Inside Out, although I must say I have that character down pretty well! I decided that Savannah has been Joy, and I have been Sadness, and the poor thing has been stuck taking care of me for the last month. (If you haven’t seen Inside Out, you won’t get this at all. If you have, you’re feeling pretty sorry for Savannah right now.)

Yep, it’s been a tough month. Since I haven’t written in a while, I really wanted to have a light-hearted, uplifting, “God really showed me some neat stuff” sort of post. Instead, I think I’m just going to tell the pitiful truth.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so down in my life. The stress really peaked the last few weeks. If you are someone who wants to think I’m strong, you’re not going to want to read this. If you want to feel better about yourself, this is going to be your favorite blog post from me.

I have felt lousy physically, and I have struggled with an ongoing case of Optirectalitis (see earlier post for definition). I cannot think of a time where I have cried more tears of hopelessness than this past month.

Complaints of all that's going on:
  • knowing we are forcing the kids to start over at a new school (yet again) with them having no friends there and potentially losing some of the credit for the work they did in SC
  • knowing I have to find new doctors right away
  • thinking about Atlanta traffic and how my daughter is going to be driving in it soon and will have to start all over with her driving requirements 
  • not winning on the final house selection (we ended up with the boys’ favorite, which I was more unhappy with than I expected . . . see earlier post)
  • having to be out of our SC house by 7/31 while I was still in the hospital
  • stressing about the details and logistics of closings
  • worrying about transporting pets
  • fearing that I’m not really healing completely
  • getting the kids registered for school (which involved doctor appointments in GA, shopping, lots of communication with school counselors)
  • knowing we are going to be living out of boxes for months
  • etc. . . 
  • and just feeling useless . . . like I’m just here to be served and can’t contribute to anyone or anything . . . feeling like a patient -- nothing more -- just a patient -- who burdens others and can’t take care of herself 

. . . is what I would have written about.

I pouted, cried, whined, and complained my way through many of my days. Savannah was always there to listen to and encourage me. I dumped way more of my self-pitying thoughts on her than a teenager should have to endure from her mom. I’m so thankful God gifted her with such compassion and maturity to deal with my emotions, as Eric was working in Atlanta most of the time and wasn’t there to help her handle me most days.

I don’t say those things to bring you down or make you feel sorry for me. I only write about it now so you can know the dark pit I have been in and what my poor family has had to deal with. I’ve had some of those feelings throughout, but this past month, they stuck around and I wallowed in them. So, no . . . I wasn’t going to say something nice. It was best for me to say nothin’ at all.

However, I am thankfully coming out of my funk, and I can look back and see something nice to say . . . (and something that makes me laugh, although I shouldn’t).

God has answered so many prayers! First, the logistics worked out for everything! The appraisal came through fine for our SC house, and we closed without a hitch. Everything went smoothly for our close in Atlanta, and we are now in our house. Our movers were great and efficient. My lab numbers were good, and my doctor got me out of the hospital the morning of the 31st, so my sis-in-law was able to take Savannah and me to Atlanta at a reasonable time that day. Friends came over and cleaned our house and stocked it with food before I arrived. My brother and Austin made it safely to the house with the animals. (This is the part that I shouldn’t laugh at, but I do, because I wasn’t in the car. One of the cats pooped in the crate almost right away, so they had to ride with the windows down the whole way to Atlanta. Hey, at least the wind noise helped drown out the cats’ constant wailing for four hours! :-)) 

And this is just a sampling of the answered prayers we've experienced!

Oh, yeah, and my chemo treatments are officially over! That’s pretty exciting, when I stop to think about it. Of course, as I return to my Sadness character, I tend to be afraid that the cancer is not all gone. The doctor said we wouldn’t be able to use a word like “cure” for a couple of years. And we’re really not even ready to go there, because I haven’t had a PET scan to see if the cancer is gone from my spleen. So, I’m reservedly excited. I know many have prayed, and I believe God is healing me, but I also know He doesn’t guarantee that I will be physically healed. I hope that is His plan, but I am trying to rest in whatever each day brings. 

For now, I am feeling stronger almost every day. I don’t know how to describe it other than to tell you that I’m starting to feel like a real live person again, not just a patient, not just a body trudging through quicksand, but a real person. I’m weak and have to pace myself, but it’s like a huge cloud has been lifted.

And as I resurface into the land of the living, I’ve realized I still have something nice to say!

I have had so many people who have bombarded me with love through service, that when I am not being Sadness, I realize it's an amazing gift. Today, I am thankful, and I am hopeful, and God is good, and my friends and family are patient and loving and kind. All of this, in the midst of my self-pity is a gift I don’t deserve. That is something awfully nice!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17).  

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