Not enough cancer.
It sounds ridiculous. Or maybe it doesn’t. But there is a little voice in my head I have to fight periodically that tells me “You didn’t have enough cancer to do what you’re doing. You were stage I. You didn’t even have chemo. Stop this thing and move on.”
I am forever grateful that a couple surgeries, a few months of a crazy reconstruction process, and a little white pill every morning for 10 years are the extent of my treatment (as long as it doesn’t come back, which it likely won’t, so there’s no point worrying about that.) But because my road wasn’t as long or as difficult as some, I have to fight the thoughts of being inadequate to provide support and encouragement.
They are lies. I know it. But knowing it doesn’t make the battle go away.
Don’t we all do that though? In some way, don’t we all look at our lives and have to fight the temptation to think that we aren’t enough, that our circumstances aren’t quite the perfect combination, that we might as well just shut up because we don’t really know what we’re talking about?
But what God keeps doing is bringing women to me. Through this blog, through my cell phone, through social media, and through my own personal life. And He doesn’t say, “Hey, don’t even try to encourage this one. She’s gonna be going through some serious stuff. There’s no way your words can bring her any bit of hope or comfort.”
No, he says, “Stop being a dork and just do the thing I’ve put in front of you. This girl needs to see Jesus through your soft voice. And this one just needs someone to say, ‘I’m available to you 24/7’ and this one just really needs you to let her look at your reconstructed chest because she is freaked out about what her end result will be.”
So I keep on moving forward in my after-cancer world. If you are reading this and have to go through chemo, know that I am sorry. If you were just informed of a relapse, I’m sorry. If you are living with Metastatic Breast Cancer, I’m sorry. I’m sorry this crappy thing is happening to you. I can’t begin to imagine the pain of losing your hair or the toll the poison drugs take on your body. I can’t fathom living day-to-day wondering when my cancer cells will find a way to morph and grow despite the regular chemo regimen. I am sorry, and I cannot empathize in a way someone experiencing the same thing as you can empathize.
But I can tell you that I will cry with you if you need that. And I will cheer you on through the long haul even if we never meet beyond the parameters of cyberspace.
My battle is not yours. And yours is not mine.
But we need each other just the same.