Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Little Catch Up...

  So I haven't written in a while... like 3 months a while...and honestly, it's been for no other reason than I haven't been able to put my thoughts together in my own head let alone try to share them with other people without feeling completely crazy (and believe me... putting it down "on paper" like this would definitely make me feel crazy considering it's more permanent than say, just talking to someone, and I have felt pretty crazy in attempting to do that).  I would love to say that I have a better handle on things now.  In fact, looking back to the beginning of this year I truly thought by now it would all be worked out... but it's not and I don't.  However I miss writing.. I miss the outlet of sharing my thoughts...so I'm gonna try and put it out there once again.
  Back in November of last year I got sick and in the midst of getting treated for a not so fun case of diarrhea (TMI I know), I found out I had a tumor.  When I came home from the missions field in December I got checked out again by an American doctor (with fancier American equipment) and she confirmed that yes in fact I did have a tumor and then she gave me all these scary statistics and sent me off to a specialist.  The specialist sent me for more test and then came up with a treatment plan that involved shots, hormone replacements and eventually a major surgery.  Two weeks ago I finally got my 22cm (the size of a fetus that's 5 months) removed.  CRAZY!
  I honestly can't tell you much about the surgery, I really don't remember that much from my stay in the hospital... other than what I've been told after the fact and that I had a blood transfusion... and I won't get my pathology report for a few more days (although no news is apparently good news so the fact that they didn't contact me immediately after surgery tells me that any chance of cancer has been cancelled out..hurray!).  But I can say that recovery has certainly be interesting.
  I don't think I ever realized just how much energy it takes to do pretty much anything.  My first week of recovery, going to the bathroom or even just walking from the kitchen to the adjacent room would tire me out for the day.  Thankfully I had a laparoscopic procedure so my incisions aren't so bad (although there are 2 more than usual for this kind of surgery) but man my body has been quite bruised up and I've really had to learn I cannot push myself beyond just simple things (at least for the moment).
  I've also learned some life lessons through this recovery process as well.  Like for one, what a real friend is like.  Before surgery, I didn't tell a lot of people about it.  I didn't want it to be made into a thing and I didn't want to get pity looks (plus the placement of my tumor is a little personal).  Once surgery happened and I realized I might need more help than I thought, I started reaching back out to those people who did know about it.  What touched me the most though, was when those people just did things for me without asking.... actually it's more than that, it's not what they "did" but how they just when made time for me...how they were just "there".
  In the past, when my friends have been sick or going through things, I've fallen victim to the need to "do" for them.  Obviously I care about them and thus I wanted to do something to show it.  Now I realize that my "doing" was really more for me than for them.  From my experience of the past few weeks I can honestly say ( at least for myself) what people want in their time of need is your PRESENCE more than your PRESENTS... I've always heard that... now I get it.
  So to all those people in the past who I've gone and "done" for, never asking what you really wanted and just assuming my "doing" was good enough because it made me feel better... I apologize.  And to all those people who took the time over the past few weeks to come and "be" with me, I thank you!  I know it's not easy to sit with someone when you don't have the answers or you don't know what to say and you can't just fix things....but honestly, I didn't/don't need you to fix anything.... just standing (or in my case sitting) thru this recovery with me... just "being" there physically and checking in and making me feel like I matter... it's means the world to me!  So thank you and I hope I will be just as good of a friend to you in the future.
  What I've also learned... although this is more of a continuation lesson (something I've been learning for  a while now)... is that I need to learn to just accept people for who they are and not who I wish they would be.  We are all human, we are all just trying our best.  Sometimes our best doesn't add up to what someone else wants from us, but that doesn't mean we aren't trying to love and be there.  In the past few months and especially the past few weeks I've had to start accepting that people's "best" is "good enough" (something that's hard for me to accept considering I constantly beat myself up for not doing or being "good enough").  I can say that trying to accept this has made life a little more enjoyable...or it's at least set me up for less heartache.  It's also made me evaluate what I can and can't handle and thus what I can draw closer to and what I need to pull away from.
  I definitely have a lot more to learn on this topic...on many topics in fact.  I have so much more growing up to do than I can even begin to explain.  However, for the first time in a long time I feel okay to admit that because I know I am working on it.  It may not be pretty at the moment but it will get better (it's kinds like cleaning your room... things always get messier before they get better).  I feel like I am getting back on track though...at least having surgery behind me sure makes me feel like it.  So stay tuned to see where things go from here...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What You Can Learn in a Week...

  Last week, was such a mumble jumbled, upside down, inside out kind of week.  And I guess for that reason without even realizing it, I ended up experimenting (in a way) in how I operate or do things in this thing we call life.  Whether out of desire or need (or maybe a combination of both), I tried new things (or old things in new ways), I stepped through fears and I discovered once again that my relationships with God and people are constantly evolving.
  For instance, I've been reading a book on boundaries and this week I actually put into practice something I learned in reading it... that is the art of saying "No".  I've never been good at saying "No", whether out of fear of disappointing people and being rejected or fear that I'll lose the sense of value to someone or something.  Yet I realized this week, even when people don't respond well to your boundaries... even when they fight back and kick and scream cause you're not being the doormat they expect you to be.... you still get to keep your value and their disappointment/rejection isn't forever.
  Then I had a few doctors appointments where I heard all sorts of statistics associated with big scary words that made my head spin and I felt the weight of a burden too heavy for me to bare alone crushing down on me, and I did something I have programed myself not to do....that is to reach out for help.  What I learned is that while not everyone is capable of caring my burdens with me, some people are.  I expected, based on my own experiences of the past year, that my friends would tell me to get over it, that I am on my own because they have their own lives to deal with and I'm freaking out over nothing.  Instead I found a listening ear that was unphased by my middle of the night call where I was crying and venting all my fears.  In fact instead of giving me all those nice sounding but completely unhelpful placated responses we all tend to give in situations like this,  I received a listening ear that cried with me and let the suckiness of it all seep into us both while carrying me to Jesus on her knees. 
  I also took the advice of someone who told me not to rip up my whole puzzle just because I couldn't make one piece fit where and how I wanted it to, which finally caused me to take my fingers out of my own ears long enough to hear God whisper in the wind "I am here".  In fact there is a portion of Psalm 139 where David ponders "Where can I go from your spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?" and I was reminded that what was true for him is true for me, whether I go up to the heavens or find myself in the depths, God is there.  I may want things neat and orderly, but God can handle my mess.  I may want all the answers and have to know why things are the way they are, but God is okay with my questions.  I may feel like I am lost at sea with no land in sight, but God is the wave of the ocean holding my head above the water.  I can rest in that.
  So, while last week wasn't an easy week... while it left me drop kicked and screaming... it also taught me some knew things and gave me new experiences and I guess that's a pretty good way to finish up one year and start another.  At least that's how I feel for today.

Friday, January 1, 2016

When Life Puts You in Time Out...

  Happy New year everyone!  Remember when you were little and you thought that by 2016 we would all be floating around in space cars like the Jetsons?  No?  Oh, well, maybe that was just me then.  Anyway, as I wrote yesterday, heading into 2016 I feel different than I have in the past.  Instead of creating goals and trying to figure out how I want the next year to go, I kind of feel like I have no idea about anything.  In some ways that's absolutely terrifying.... but in other ways, like I realized late last night (after quite a bit of wine, so maybe I should take this all with a grain of salt), maybe it should also be exciting.  Truth is, I don' know what this year holds or how it will all turn out.  I don't know what to look forward to or what to plan or not plan for, but one thing seems pretty certain and that is that this will most likely be a year of self-discovery.  It has to be.... (you can't get any lower than "I don't know" can you?!?!)
  I don't think that I've really spent all that much time investing in myself these past few years.  Actually, I don't think I've really put too much focus on myself at all since the year I lost 130lbs!  Before this new year started thought (so like, over the past several weeks and months), it's seemed like life keeps throwing me into the corner and putting me in time out.  It's like it's telling me, slow down, take a minute, think about what's going on.  Personally I have a hard time stopping to smell the roses.  I like to plow through life, going from one task to another, feeling like I am doing something but not really taking the time to really enjoy what I am doing.  Maybe life's trying to do me a favor.  Maybe what feels like I forced punishment is really a loving parents telling me I need to rest.  Maybe all of this will be for the best.  I guess we shall see....if anything, it will be interesting.  So here we go...Day 1 (Feel free K-Love or Fish listeners to start singing "It's day one of the rest of my life" by Matthew West here as we fade out!)