Cancer-land During the Holidays

cancer-landTo say that my thoughts have been elsewhere lately would be accurate. Generally, they can be found wandering through Cancer-land, exploring what can seem like the never-ending terrain of scans, surgeries, treatments, and results. When one valley has been thoroughly tread upon, there is yet another rocky hill looming ahead.

Someone told me after I finished my last chemotherapy treatment, “You should be happy now! Surely you can see the light at the end of the tunnel!” No, unfortunately I’m still on that train, eating lunch in the dining car. 

I don’t know why I continue to be surprised by what others say. It is the rare person who understands cancer and its effect on your life, and it is a true friend who will stay with you through the ups and downs of treatment. Especially in this season of merriment and celebration.

Indeed, looking out the window last night, I was surprised to see Christmas lights glittering on houses throughout our neighborhood. Oh yeah, it is the holidays, isn’t it?

When your life is formed around doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and treatments, you can often forget that others are going about with the normal things of life, shopping for Christmas presents and attending parties. Unfortunately, regular folks forget that some of us are having surgery and getting treatment over the holidays. And that others are grieving the loss of loved ones to cancer.

“Merry” can be far, far away for many during this season.

Walking through Cancer-land right now, I’m learning to take it moment to moment. Merry I may not be. Even “thankful” can all too often be a memory. But as Joni Eareckson Tada states in “No Higher Calling: A Christian Response to Suffering” in the Beyond Suffering Bible:

“Take life in bite-sized, manageable chunks. Start giving thanks to God for small things….I learned that following the Bible–even saying the right thing with a hopeful spirit–was a way of placing myself under the shower of God’s mercy.”

I’m trying to take things moment to moment. Yesterday I was thankful for a visit from a friend. This morning I was thankful for a hot cup of coffee and some time in Second Life. And for kitties who bring lots of fun to my days.

I’m doing my best to follow Tada’s advice to say thanks for these little things with a little bit of hope. Saying thanks in the kitchen and living room and even the bathroom, because cancer affects all of your life and all of your body. And sometimes even just being able to drink a cup of coffee without pain is cause for being thankful.

Cancer-land is a place where many of us find ourselves during the holiday season. Some of us may not be merry or feel very much like celebrating. Perhaps, though, that being willing to say thanks for the small things in life while trudging up hills that seem way too tall is enough for the moment.

2 thoughts on “Cancer-land During the Holidays

  1. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, Krista, trying to put myself in your shoes. I can’t. I can’t even fit my big toe in your shoe 🙂 But your words have made me think. They help remind me to by kind to everyone, especially that annoying woman in the grocery store. I don’t know what she might be dealing with, what troubles she has, or what family member or loved one she might be worried about. I believe your insights help make me a stronger, better, person. I thank you for that.

    Sure do miss you at work, though! You will always remain at the top of my list.

    ~teri

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