Monday, August 12, 2013

Healing Your Heart After Diagnosis






Since I can remember, which was back to at least 2 years old, I have been an unshakeable optimist.  Optimism is like a fire that burns deep in my soul, that even under the most horrifying, gut wrenching, despair ridden times...it just won’t burn out.  I always have an inner knowing that things will be okay, that love will conquer and find a way through the madness. And, you know what, it always does.    

So, when faced with the big “C” word, at 30 years old, I immediately started to go in that direction.  I was upset, shaken, and confused, which I believe to be a “normal” reaction.  But I felt a sense of peace, and love, and just felt so unbelievably blessed to finally have answers after years of struggling with my health, thinking maybe it was all in my head.

As I described in my post “Appendix Cancer, IVF, and the Angel:  Dr. Loret-Demola,”  the surgery went better than I could have hoped for.  My recovery has been very strong and steady.  I’m finally back to work and starting to get back to my “normal” routine.  I put normal in quotes, because what is normal, really.  Normal is a definition that is different for every single one of us.  I’ve found that living with an illness, mine being not only the cancer which has currently been taken care of, but also the endometriosis, which will not be taken care of and continues to grow until I become pregnant and then have a hysterectomy, the hardest part for me has not been the physical aspect, but the emotional aspect.  I’ve been dealing with physical pain for so long, that it has become a “normal” to me.  I was prepared for that.  What I was not prepared for was the lingering after effects once you try to get back to “normal.”

I am one who always thinks very deeply, too much, really.  And I would consider myself to be one of the most spiritual people I know.  I have a deep faith and understanding within myself, and this past year has sent that soaring beyond boundaries.  But some days, I think to myself, “ Our lives our forever changed because of this situation.”  When dealing with thoughts like, “Will I survive this surgery?”  “What are they going to find?” “Will I have to go through chemo?” “Is my family going to have to suffer another loss?”  “Am I going to make my husband a widow?”  “Have I prepared him enough to take care of himself and how to cook his own meals, and take care of the finances?”  All of these thoughts go through your mind before hand, and it is scary.  It’s overwhelming, and it takes a toll on your heart, for sure.  My faith definitely helped me through that part of it which was before and after my surgery, until we got the pathology reports back, which were clear.  

As my physical strength improves,  I still find my heart needing some healing.  I’ve learned that that is a process that takes some time, and I am allowing myself to do that at my own speed.  Its not something that can be forced, as much as I wish it could.  I think this is a part of recovering that most people don’t understand, or even consider.  I’ve found this to be right up there with losing my grandmother as one of the hardest things I have ever gone through.  I know I could’ve been in a much worse situation, but this is relative.  It was tough and really a big deal to me.  Its really hard because some of the people that I thought I was closest to never even acknowledged to me that I was going through something, no text, call or anything.  But then people I would not consider myself to be close to or hadn’t seen for over 10 years, would send me a lovely note just to say they were thinking of me.   I fully understand that everyone deals with things differently, and I am no longer hurt by the fact that they pretended nothing was wrong.  I think sometimes people feel awkward to bring it up, or they might be afraid that mentioning it would upset the person.  I’m just saying, from my experience, I think most people would rather talk about it or at least acknowledge that they are going through something.  I know no one would have deliberately tried to hurt my feelings, I understand that each individual has their own busy lives.  Being social and carefree is something I wish would come naturally right now like it did before all of this, but I think that, too, is something that will come with time.  I have a hard time pretending things aren’t on my mind, and I’m horrible at hiding my emotions. I know with time this will get easier, it does every day.





Realizing who will be around when you are on hard times really makes you sit back and take a look at your life as a whole.  Its very easy to feel lonely, or that no one understands what you're going through.  Its easy to put pressure on your self or feel guilty for not bouncing back they way you had envisioned. My husband has helped me work through that, and I'm sure he feels the same way from his standpoint.  But we do it together and help each other.  Jared and I wish we had spent the last couple of years doing things most people in their late twenties and early thirties are doing:  working on their careers, having babies, socializing with friends.  But thats not the path that’s been chosen for us.  We have been chosen to endure things that generally happen later on in life.  And I know that this is the path we are supposed to be on.  Had I not been dealing with this endometriosis, they may not have found my cancer, and I could have left Jared, and maybe even children without a wife and mother in who knows how long.  That was pain I was meant to endure to get me to this point.  And my husband was the best, most loving, nurturing nurse I could ever ask for.  I know he learned from my grandpa, who did the same thing for my grandma.  If that doesn’t secure your faith that you are with the right man, and that he will be the best father you could ever chose for your future children, well, then I don’t know what will.  



This has been a beautiful gift for us.  I am constantly shown, day after day, the beauty of life and love.  Walking in my garden with my husband every evening is all I need to get me through the day.  My heart is healing a little slower than my body, but it is bursting with love.  I try to let that radiate in everything that I do.  I am so blessed.




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9 comments:

  1. Another beautiful and eloquently written essay on a very personal, yet ubiquitous, topic. It's true we all deal with these issues in our own way, both as it relates to ourselves and others, but your ability to express yourself in such a sincere manner is moving. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Thank you, Nikki! It's a little scary being so honest, but it's healing for me at the same time. I just hope that it opens people's minds a little bit, for those who have never been through it, and is comforting for those who have been or are going through it. Thanks for your kind words!!

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  3. You have an amazing husband, an amazing love, and an amazing strength! Heal on, sister!

    - Allie J

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  4. Thank you for sharing this.

    Life doesn't always give us what we want and you are an inspiration (and your husband, too!)

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  5. Stumbled on your blog from Pinterest to look at your post on covering a laundry basket but ended up reading this post too. So glad I did because I am struggling to have a positive outlook about my endometriosis after so many years of pain. First, thanks for reminding me that there are other women who understand what it's like and second, thank you for making me look at the pain with new eyes. My situation could be worse (I have not had to deal with cancer yet) and thanks to endo warranting frequent trips to the gyn, additional problems will no doubt be spotted right away.

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    1. Endometriosis is a debilitating disease, like any other. Unfortunately we don't know much about it still, and there's not much awareness about it in society. I wrote another post that you may be interested in reading similar to this one, but goes more in detail about dealing with is and fertility struggles we have had. http://www.talesfromacottage.com/2013/06/appendix-cancer-ivf-angel-dr-loret-de.htm

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  6. I'm waaaay older than you but reading your story just now is heart-warming & reminds me of my own husband's kindness during my "things" these last 4-5 weeks. I'd told him last year while worried he was having another heart attack that he IS my life. This last month or so I've learned I'm pretty important to him, too. This was our 44th Valentine's Day together. Hope you're much better now!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed this post, Alicia. Congrats on 44 years together! What a blessing to be able to walk through life with someone so special. I think when you have a relationship like that, it's not 50/50.... It's 100/100. Sending love and healthy prayers your way!

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