A Thing Called Hope

DaringtoHope_meme_02

Between the pain and the chaos of divorce, hope has been a difficult thing sometimes. I think I have it in hand, but if flies away, leaving me alone. It flutters just out of reach on those hard days.

That is when I remember all of the loss of the past year, all of the endings. So much that it feels like my life will break in two.

Indeed it has, with part of my heart going with my husband. I truly understand now the meaning of “one flesh” and the heartbreak that divorce leaves behind. There will always be that emptiness in my life, one that can’t be filled with activities or fun.

Am I still entirely me? I don’t know.

But I know that I must continue, must keep moving forward with my life. Hope is still here, and it is time for some beginnings. Something good.

As Katie Davis Majors says in Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful,

“Dreams die and seasons end and terrible, unspeakable things happen that don’t make much sense, but God is not done with us yet. He uses the bending and the breaking and the dying to prepare the harvest, to prepare more for us. We reach high to the Son and He comes down and pulls us closer.”

Today I reached high. I was baptized, fully immersed and washed clean. A new beginning after so many, many endings.

I am ready for some good. I still have hope.

 

In the Middle of the Mess

Middle of the Mess

I had hoped that the end of my cancer treatment would bring renewal into my life, that of both my life and my marriage. Instead the opposite is true. My life continues to fall apart, bit by bit.

When dreams are crushed and suffering is long, it can be tempting to wonder “why” all of this is happening. Too, it is very easy to lash out at my soon-to-be-ex husband, pushing my hurt and anger onto him in that moment. But it doesn’t make things better.

The hurt and anger and heartbreak and anguish don’t go away by unleashing my inner “mean girl.” Instead it only starts the cycle of crazy once again.

As Erwin McManus says in The Last Arrow,

“Sometimes your geography doesn’t change at all, but the journey is still long and hard….Having the courage to live a life of honor and integrity may be the greatest battle you will ever face.”

Divorce is hard. There is nothing good or positive or normal about this situation. Add into that still recovering from my latest surgery and cancer treatment…life just seems impossible at this point.

And living a life of faith and honor? Each day I pray for the strength to make it through just that next moment, the courage to face my challenges, and an extra measure of love to extend to others. All too often I fail. But I get up and brush myself off, pray a bit more, and try again.

Life is just really, really hard at the moment. Could you please pray for me that I am able to live a life of faith, honor, and integrity, even in the middle of this mess?

Join Me in Becoming an Author?

becoming an author

This year has been difficult. Truly, truly difficult.

First, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and was no longer able to work. Having survived the surgeries and treatments, now I find myself in the middle of a divorce. And to top it all off, my father was recently diagnosed with cancer.

So I’m taking a big leap and deciding to invest in me.

Although I’ve been blogging for years, it’s not quite the same as actually publishing a book. And that’s what I want to do. Become a published author.

But taking that leap of faith can be scary, and investing in an online course even more so. Trust me, I understand! I stayed up late many nights wondering if I should really do this.

Signing up for a course, only to learn that it doesn’t deliver on its promises– OUCH!

Self-Publishing School is different – and that’s my personal promise.

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I’ve dreamed of becoming an author for years, and I’ve decided that now is my time to shine.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t write, have no time, or no idea you CAN become a bestselling author, and Self-Publishing School WILL WORK for you.

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Breaking Apart

Breaking Apart

It seems like joy continues to race ahead of me, taunting me with its presence in the lives of others. Finishing my cancer treatment was supposed to be a happy time, one of celebrations and new beginnings.

And yet…now a divorce.

The pain of this breaking–both physical and emotional pain–is indescribable. Having prayed and pleaded and discussed and loved, I only have emptiness. The man who once shared my bed and my life is leaving, looking forward to a life without those responsibilities.

I don’t know if I can love again. Perhaps I have missed that chance at happiness, that chance at having a forever partner.

Looking around at what was our home, I remember all of those dreams that we had and wonder what lies ahead. I now face what remains of my middle age alone. The prospect of that loneliness stretching on forever saddens me.

Although some apparently have divorce parties nowadays, I see nothing to celebrate. Marriage is a lifelong commitment–a covenant–and the breaking of our vows will only lead to heartbreak.

It is overwhelming. Somehow, though, I must move forward.

Adventures of the Flat and Infertile

PTEN, Cancer, and a Thing Called Hope

adventures of the flat

My next step in treatment is about to commence. Yes, the dreaded hysterectomy has been scheduled for next week.

Nothing like sitting in the waiting room of a gynecologist’s office to make you feel a bit conspicuous. Childless, flat, and there to schedule a hysterectomy.

When I met with the doctor and had my initial exam, I was somewhat surprised to find out that I wouldn’t be able to have a laparoscopic hysterectomy due to my size, fair skin, and lack of childbearing.

Who knew that being a petite, redheaded woman with breast cancer and no history of childbirth would be a drawback when it came to this surgery?

I will be undergoing a full abdominal hysterectomy, with the one large incision on my abdomen. The average hospital stay is about two days, with recovery about six weeks.

Honestly, I’m dreading this surgery, but I’m ready to have it done…

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Small Rebellions

small rebellions

During a recent discussion with my dad, we were reminiscing a bit, and he admitted that I was probably the easiest child to raise. I rarely rebelled and tried my hardest to excel in school.

When you live in a small town, though, and your father is the head of your school…well, rebellion generally isn’t on the menu.

However, sometimes girl nerds have to do their own thing. And back in 1989, that was attending the premiere showing of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

What was the problem with that, you ask? Well, I had a BIG geometry test the next day. Pressure, pressure. Still, I had been studying for the test for at least a week, and I really, really wanted to see the latest Indiana Jones film before everyone else.

My parents let me go, but I knew that I must do well on the test the next day.

That night was perhaps one of the best memories from my teenage years. I and another fangirl friend went to the movie alone and thoroughly enjoyed every single minute.

Even before the movie started, we had a surprise visit from the actor who played the scout master in the film; he talked for a bit and shared his experience in being part of such a big movie. We were thrilled to hear from someone who was actually there, someone who played a part in the latest Indiana Jones film.

That night I barely slept. It was the first movie premiere that I had ever attended, and I was ecstatic. I lay in bed replaying all of the scenes from the film in my mind and humming the theme song. Little sleep, but it didn’t matter.

My friend and I enjoyed bragging the next day about how we had attended the movie premiere and giggled about the humorous bits that only we could share. The nerd girls finally had something that the others didn’t.

And you know what? I still aced the geometry test.

Mother’s Day and Breast Cancer

Source: Mother’s Day and Breast Cancer

Mother's day cancer

My mother died in 1999 after a recurrence of breast cancer.

With little information at the time–no internet, only the beginnings of patient rights–we didn’t recognize the signs of a recurrence until it was too late. Her behavior began to change over time, showing signs of recklessness and forgetfulness. And then she suddenly had trouble walking, having collapsed at home.

Doctors in the ER informed my father that a scan revealed tumors along her spine. She was released home with pain medication, but little else to do as far as next steps. Her extreme reaction to chemotherapy in 1992 precluded any more chemo treatment for the recurrence, and so we were left with pain management and the awareness that her time with us would be limited.

After a call from my father, I drove home from college. She died the next morning on our couch.

Since then, I have regularly avoided going out on Mother’s Day, and that now includes social media as well. People say that the pain and loss of losing your mother–or any other family member, for that matter–lessens over time, but I believe it is more your learning to live with the loss.

And now this year, I have breast cancer yet again. The same cancer that killed my mother so long ago.

I am finding this day to be more difficult than I expected. My flat chest, many medications, and constant pain only serve to remind me of my mother in the most horrible way, that of a shared illness and possible death. And the celebrations that litter my Facebook stream only enhance that awareness.

My mother was loving but a rather complicated woman in that she had a misdiagnosed mental illness. If she had lived longer, she might have been able to receive the treatment that she needed. I know that she did the best she could considering her struggles, and I will honor her for that.

But I cannot join in on the celebration of this holiday, especially this year. I loved my mother despite everything, and the pain of her loss is still too great even after all these years.

If this is the first Mother’s Day that you face alone, please know that my heart and prayers are with you.