Give and Take


Today is Tuesday. I am still quite sore but I am doing better. I am terrified at the thought of Karen leaving. She has been managing my whole household. A big job. She has done the shopping, cooking, and caring for Clay. And I am still so unable to do any of this. I made a salad yesterday. I went to Kohl’s with Rob and Tucker. Tucker needed a suit jacket, dress shirt, and dress shoes. The twins are shadowing at Saint Joe’s Prep tomorrow. We are so excited. I had to take pain medication to leave the house. It was so hot in Kohl’s that I took my hat off and walked around with my 1/2 inch of hair. I felt so exposed and alien. My boobless, hairless, self. I am certain people know I have had a mastectomy. I want to be invisible.

I have been thinking a lot about what cancer has given me and what it has taken away. It is hard to express some of it. It has taken away the obvious health, my breasts, my ovaries, some of my friends, my ability to grow old. It has taken away my sense of a future with my loved ones. It has taken away my reliance on myself. It has taken away my desire to find self worth in my appearance. It has taken away time that I could spend with my family. It has taken all my energy to make it through a day with the pain.

It has given me things too. It has given me a powerful love of living in the day. It has given me an ability to be comforted by the Lord in my times of sorrow. Cancer has given me a reason to focus on God’s grace and forgiveness. Cancer has helped me to focus my attention on my loved ones whenever I am able. It has taught me that things that I used to think were important were actually superficial. God has walked me through this. But my friends have been holding my hands too. They have loved me and helped me all along this journey. Some people have retreated during this time of trial. Cancer has taught me that no matter how much we expect it or wish it people are not always who we want them to be. It has given me a real sense of walking with the spirit. It has given me an understanding of the beatitudes. It has given me insight and compassion for what it means to suffer and still have hope.

I struggle. And I am also at times at peace. Lately, I have endured a lot of physical pain. And pleaded with the Lord to diminish it. Much of the pain was physical but much of it was emotional too. When I first saw my body after the surgery I wished I was dead. I bawled for an hour alone in my hospital room. I wished I had died in surgery. When I first came home I was in agony. I wanted to swallow the bottle of pain pills and go to sleep forever. I looked in the mirror and thought there was nothing to live for. I know that none of that is true. But in the moment I felt that my cancer had truly robbed me of anything I had had. I am gaining a new perspective. Throughout this ordeal I have felt God’s presence and He is teaching me about acceptance. Sometimes I think I have a lot to learn about being a Christian. Cancer is a hard way to learn. But it is teaching me many things. Painful lessons about what it means to suffer and be comforted by God.

Today I am suffering less than yesterday. I know God is here with me and that I need to accept my situation for what it is. I know that I will live as long as He wills it. I know that cancer can not take away my love for my friends and family. Cancer can not take away my faith. My dignity. Or my grace.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Gospel of Matthew 5:3-10

4 Responses to “Give and Take”

  1. joshua says:

    one cannot know what you’re talking about until they have lived it. thanks

  2. tabytha says:

    Once again I am awed by your strength. I know you probably don,t feel it but I see it in everything you write. I have the upmost respect for you, Andrea. You have to be the most amazing person I have ever encountered. I know we haven’t seen each other in a long time but I am here for you feel free to call anytime. Tabytha

  3. Andrea says:

    Well, like so many others, I have been reading your blog flor a long time now. I just wanted to let you know that you are frequently in my thoughts. I am so glad that you are back to seeing some of the “silver lining” again. I think that is one of the things that makes you so remarkable, and also makes everyone comment on your strength. I think you are a fabulous person, and I wish you all of the best.

  4. Wendy says:

    You are beautiful body, soul and spirit. I love you.