Some say how awful to receive news like that on Good Friday. I never really thought about it. Never really thought about cancer. Especially not in the midst of it. I'm not sure what those around me thought. I remember that I must have looked really awful. Not only physically but fashion'ly as well. My stylish nieces did not help me out in the department they are experts in-fashionistas that they are. (Although Jessie gave me a Coach purse to celebrate my last chemo.)
I called what was to come my "bump in the road". I didn't realize what the doctors meant when they said I'd have to have a bilateral mastectomy, (what is that anyway-bilateral? What does that mean? How many breasts is that-one or two? I thought it was a called a double? And mastectomy? I can't even spell that word without spellcheck), six rounds of chemo, twelve rounds of Herceptin and thirty-six radiation treatments followed by five years of a daily pill. (I think it was thirty-six. Maybe it was thirty-four. I can't remember. I do remember I hated radiation. I'd have taken another round of chemo over radiation.)
I didn't realize what the toll would be on my time, my family's time, my family's emotions. Chris and I never talked about the cancer or treatment during all that was going on. Only recently did I hear Chris tell someone that he used to wake up at night and touch me to make sure I was still breathing and alive. Was it that bad? Was I that bad?
The one time I broke down, really broke down, was in the office, maybe a week from the first chemo. My sister-in-law and I were in the back office and I blurted out my real fear about cancer and the journey ahead. I told her that I had prayed my whole life for God to use my life as an example that points toward Him. What if now, now that I had the opportunity, I failed? What if I broke down in front of everyone? What if I didn't have the strength and be brave enough to keep a smile and a be a witness? I was squalling by that point and so was she. Then I felt guilty for bringing her into my grief. I don't think I opened up like that again. I had to be strong for her. An example for her on how to deal and how to be strong because God was with me.
In October of 2010 a friend at the Health Department asked me to speak at a breast cancer month event at Sweetwater Hospital. A luncheon. There would be about 20 women there. My sister asked if I wanted her to come. I said no. I'd be too nervous with her there. I told my friend, the organizer, that it may be too soon for me to speak. I was afraid of the emotion I may show. Well, I showed emotion. I balled several times during my story. Then I balled at the end when a bouquet of flowers were delivered as I was fixing to sit down. My sister had sent them special for me. Afterward a lady whom I have developed a friendship with in politics came up to me. She is quite the lady. Graceful and elegant. She said to me, "Marna it was so refreshing and moving to hear and see the emotion you exhibited today. I had never saw that in you. You're always so composed." I realized then that maybe God didn't want me to hold it together. Maybe He wanted me to occasionally fall apart so that people could see I'm not made of stone. That I don't get myself through tough, hard things that crop up in life. That it takes Him to lift us up out of darkness. To take the "I" out of me. (Which my blog totally contains too much I!)
|Was this really me? Surreal.....|
At a funeral a year or so later for someone I knew an older lady my momma had been friends with years ago and I hadn't seen since chemo hugged me and exclaimed "Marna, you look sooo good! Last time I saw you, you looked really bad." Had I looked that bad? Had it been so bad?
Still today when I think about or tell someone that Good Friday is my breast cancer diagnosis marker they'll say what awful news to receive on Good Friday. I never gave that much thought. But now I think more-the further I live out from that day in 2010. I think about what Good Friday really means. Jesus died on that day. But He arose three days later. He was to be our Savior, you see? Good Friday was not, could not be a death sentence for Him. And it wasn't for me. Good Friday isn't a bad day. It's a day of hope and confidence in a future.
It's Thursday......but Sunday is coming.......... then the stone will be rolled away............