I guess I should start with a warning for this post. It’s been a bad day. A bad couple of weeks really. And I’m pretty tired. Exhausted, actually. Like the kind of tired where you need days of sleep and a nice long vacation…which I haven’t had in many years. I could use a break – but no time for that these days.
My doctor called more than a week ago and gave me the “official” news. The PET scan shows a mass about the size of a peanut or small grape, in the middle of my neck, in front of my vertebrae lodged in a muscle. Lovely. And the best part is that it’s deep enough that a needle biopsy isn’t possible so it will have to be a surgical biopsy. The difference this time is that they think this may be a new secondary cancer, not metastatic thyroid cancer. Not at all what I was expecting. Although I knew the risks of a second cancer because of the treatments and all the xrays and scans over the years….I still wasn’t expecting that. The Radiologist and my Endocrinologist say that thyroid cancer doesn’t typically metastasize back – it typically moves forward and then down. But who really knows at this point, what I’m dealing with here. This cancer has not behaved the way they thought it would from day one… I have an appointment with a surgeon at UNC next week to discuss a game plan.
Top it off with work stress that has been UNBELIEVABLE in the last year, and I’m pretty much at my breaking point. One minute the contract is ending and the next, I’m interviewing for a job with the State. But not so fast, now they decide they are going to extend the contract until December – which I REALLY do not need. So many unknowns. And with the unknowns of this cancer on top of it, I’m utterly exhausted.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about stress and the effects it has on the body physically and mentally. There are so many medical journals written on studies conducted on this topic. 100% of what I’ve read, says that constant stress wreaks havoc on your immune system and your body as a whole. It raises C Reative Protein in your body, causes inflammation, interrupts sleep patterns – and sleep is where your body actually repairs itself. Stress causes sickness and depression and anxiety. It gives you brain fog and affects your attention span and your thought processes. It takes control of every waking minute of every day. It never leaves.
I was talking to a close friend recently who has also had cancer, and we’ve discussed this subject many times. She and I both completely believe that stress played a major role in our cancer diagnosis’. Some of you who know me personally and have been friends with me for many years, know that I cannot seem to catch a break. It’s one calamity after another, all the time. Just when I think the sun is about to shine on me, another storm emerges. With that said, there is always a silver lining to it – something good usually comes out of it. But after a while, you just have those days where you get tired. It starts to break you down and it leaves you so tired of trying. Tired of struggling and tired of fighting things you can’t even see! You have no control over any of it…..and, It’s exhausting.
We are all fighting our own little battles. Our own demons and the storms that seem to overshadow all the good in our lives. My Daddy has said many times in the pulpit – “If you haven’t had your trouble yet, just hold on, it’s coming”. And it’s true. We all eventually have those storms that seem to last forever and we are sure that nothing good can come from the pain we are feeling in the midst of it. But you know what? It’s okay to have days like I’m having today. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and exhausted and to feel like you just cannot take one more thing. I’m human. You’re human – and we all feel like this sometimes. And it’s in the middle of all this that I have to keep reminding myself who is in control here. I am fiercely independent and I want to fix it all and be in control. But no matter how bad I need that, it’s not going to happen. I have no control over this cancer and I have no control over this situation with work.
Although today has been hard with my physical pain and the stress of knowing I have no control over any of this, I just keep thinking that tomorrow is a new day. Maybe tomorrow will be a better pain day and maybe tomorrow will bring better news with work. Or, it won’t. Either way, I know in my heart “that all things work together for good to them that love God….” Romans 8:28
I pray for strength for you to endure what lies ahead and I pray that God will give me what I need to make it through another day – even on the days that I don’t want to do this any more. He’s always there, working out the hard stuff to show me the good that comes from it. There’s something good in every day – even on the days when you have to search a little harder for it.