“3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2: 3-4
I’m not going to sit here and lie, It has definitely been a very difficult past few years. All of my grandparents used to remind me that God would never give me anything that He knew I, myself, could not handle. But there are still times where you have to ask God to just take some of it back. This is one of those times.
I’ve faced so much in such a short period of time, that one would think being diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, I’d be as strong as an ox. But I honestly don’t want to be as strong as an ox. I want to be as strong as me. Is that too much to ask for?
I guess what many people don’t realize is that for almost two years, I was homeless. From the Monday prior to Thanksgiving in 2013 until February 2015, my husband and I were living in one of “those” motels (complete with the complimentary crack pipe outside our window). I know that there will be so many people who will argue and say we weren’t technically homeless. And that there will be others who will be upset saying I should never air my “dirty laundry” onto a public page such as this…but none of them experienced what we went through from that first moment we walked into the motel until the very day we left the state in search of better things.
Even after our move from our home state, we found ourselves living in our van. Once again we were homeless. But just as it did when we were still living in Michigan, our circumstances opened our eyes to so many things we would never have even considered, let alone taken the time to visit or do if we had not been in that situation. Of spending my time being homeless and having to interact with people I would have normally never have thought of, let alone speak with; for all of that, I am grateful. I am truly grateful for God for granting me that opportunity to visit with them and to hear their stories. So many stories that so many go about their days without hearing.
Regardless of how much I feel I have changed today, there is still so much that I have learned. One of them is, I have figured out who my true friends are. Even in Michigan, while we were living in a motel, I began to watch as some of my friends would distance themselves from me. They would blame me for not being able to hold down a job (even though I was driving a cab at the time), saying I was a horrible influence on my beautiful daughter because she was forced to watch her father and I live in a motel instead of an apartment or a house. I was criticized for my weight and size, being told that I waste of space and would amount to nothing and would bring others down around me.
Harsh words, this I know…
And now God has graced me with Stage 3A Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Once again, I am beginning to see my dwindling friends, dwindle even more. But for every person I find missing, I turn and find someone with warm hug or a positive note card reminding me of my strength. I have found comfort in so many women (and men) who have battled a similar war and have come out on top. They are always the first to respond with the love that is needed, or the anger towards wherever the feeling came from.
They have become my first responders.
While I am extremely blessed to have an amazing roommate who I love with all of my heart, she is the older sister I wish I had growing up, she is my “mother hen” and is always checking on me. Making sure I am okay, if I’ve eaten enough, if I’m feeling okay…she is my caregiver and her son takes her role very seriously, often adopting the same attitude as her.
They have become part of my first responders.
I chose to begin this entry with that scripture because I think too many times we do things so we will get that “pat on the back” or the “at-a-boy”; when in truth, we actually should be doing things out of humility and humbleness. It is something that I need to be reminded of also.
When I first found out about my diagnosis, my first reaction was, “okay…what do I need to do to make sure this goes smoothly? What do I absolutely need to ensure I can beat this thing?” And finally, “How can I make this as easy on others as possible?”
Financially, having cancer is not cheap. And as I am left here twiddling my thumbs waiting for my disability attorney to inform me of a court date, I’m still let with nothing as I twiddle my thumbs. As horrible as it sounds…I tend to feel as though I’m standing on the corner with the sign and others are telling me “Sorry to hear about your diagnosis, maybe your should have done something different or been better prepared.” Although, I’m not sure how one can be prepared for a cancer diagnosis. As for doing something different…Triple Negative Breast Cancer is one of the rarest and most aggressive when it comes to the different Breast Cancer diagnoses.
So, I’m still left here twiddling my thumbs, or so it feels.
I’m still considered a “waste of space” by some and a “horrible influence” on my daughter by others. I’m still considered a “legal stranger” when it comes to my daughter.
And then there are others…they are the ones who are the keepers. They are the cheerleaders who keep the pompoms ready and the silly dances choreographed to help us smile during our darkest moments or days. These are the people who listen as we cry over how we are going to make ends meet or how we’re going to come up with the funds by being creative. These are the people who remind us that every day is a gift and we shouldn’t squander it over trivial items or pain.
Please don’t get me wrong…I still struggle with attempting to creatively finance the items I know I so desperately need (ex. new bed, van fixed, new recliner); but I’m also working on some projects to help create even more cheerleaders. Projects that will help those who are facing this scary journey know they are not alone.
***although if my roommate and husband had their way, I would no longer be allowed into any form of a store at all. This past Christmas, I brought three Rubbermaid containers filled with hard candy for all of the patients, nurses, and doctors, that were there. Valentine’s days is coming up and there is so much I wish I could do. But they have to reel me back in and remind me that I’m the one twiddling my thumbs waiting to hear about my disability, yet I’m wanting to shower all of the people I see sitting in those chairs with some love.
I know what it is like to have nothing…and I know how scary those chairs can be. It’s time to get really creative…
My love and thoughts are with you as you continue on your own path to recovery…
Current Playlist Song: “How Did You Love” by Shinedown