Thursday, April 30, 2015

Strength

July 2014 - one month before his diagnosis

I read an article recently that talked about the toughest job of a cancer patient, aside from treatment, is putting on a strong, brave, positive, happy, it’s-not-that-bad front for the sake of their family and friends.  No sick person should feel the need to do that.  But this stigma in our society is so strong most ill people feel it is their obligation to put on such a front.  And anytime you are constantly trying to portray something that’s not genuine, it eventually gets exhausting.       

Sometimes, out of nowhere, my three year old will start screaming and yelling which quickly melts into crying.  Now if this is a selfish fit he’s throwing it’s handled one way, but if it’s just emotions he’s letting out because they’ve been building inside his little heart for too long I simply hold him.  He is all too aware of the change and the stress that has plagued our household these past nine months, and now he’s extremely sensitive to any kind of change.  It breaks my heart, but I know that it’s actually a good thing for him to be able to express himself that way.  The only way he knows how.  I want him to know that it’s ok to be sad and frustrated, and as he gets older I want to help teach him healthy ways to respond to these emotions.  “Tears release pain that words cannot express and the soul cannot bear” (a Nishan Panwar quote - thanks Google). 

While sharing our family’s journey of Carey’s cancer, I attempt to be honest in order to give a genuine picture of what all this is like, but I also filter out lots of the nitty gritty and try not to have too much of a complaining tone.  I think that’s in everyone’s best interest.

But just for now, I’m hoping you’ll let me share a little more of the nitty gritty.

Carey and I are scared.  Cancer is a scary beast.  We also feel angry, sad and confused when thoughts of a possible premature death sneak into our minds.  Should we be labeled as weak or negative because we have these feelings sometimes?  I don't think so.   

In preparation for Easter a few weeks back, Carey and I were reading through the Gospels.  I took notice while we were reading of all the emotions that Jesus felt as a perfect human.  He was sad and wept openly (John 11:35), he felt distressed (Mark 14:33-36), he felt frustration (Mark 11:15-17); he also felt betrayed (Mark 14:48-49) and abandoned (Mark 15:34).  It’s comforting to me that even Jesus – who was a flawless leader and servant (the ultimate hero) – felt such hurt and loss.  So it must be good for me to feel my feelings of hurt and loss and express them when I need to.  It’s not weakness, it’s not negativity, it’s not something to be ashamed of or attempt to hide.  It’s simply human emotion.     

All that being said – Carey’s doctors at Duke are very smart, but they are not God.  And though certain things seem impossible to man, with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  Another thing that struck me while reading through the Gospels is how many people Jesus healed simply because they drew near and asked.  So please join with us in drawing near to the Holy Spirit and petitioning for a miraculous healing of Carey’s body strait from the hand of God.  We are on our knees with this request at least once a day, and are so incredibly thankful for all of you who are doing the same.  We have faith that God delights in working miracles, and wants to grant us this desire of our hearts. 

I've said it before, but I'd like to say it again: Carey in the physical sense feels weak, but his strength is truly incredible.