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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Life After Cancer

I see a counselor. It's amazing. I always leave feeling ten times better than when I walked in. There's just something about telling someone else about the crazy that's happening in my brain that is always so therapeutic. There were a couple sessions in a row when my counselor asked me this life-altering question:

What does life after cancer look like?

It stopped me in my tracks. I had never thought about it before, and had a hard time even wrapping my mind around the concept. My dumbfounded blurry-eyed gaze must have communicated my befuddlement, so he responded with a simple, powerful reply:

A study found that found that patients who believed that they would improve actually saw improvement at a higher rate than those with a neutral or negative outlook. I emphatically agreed silently thinking to myself "Uh, hello? Haven't you been paying attention?? That's like my THING." He looked at me and said "I need you to believe that you will have life after cancer, life without cancer." 

I was shocked. He was right. 

I believed that God would heal me. For sure. But I also believe that healing comes in many forms, including those we don't typically equate to "healing;" redemption has happened all along. I believed that my own healing was coming, but not enough to say that there would be life after cancer. It took a few weeks to really settle in and take root in my mind and heart, but one day I found myself ready to think about it: life after cancer.

I knew two things for sure: Life after cancer would need to look drastically different than life during cancer, and I need to live into the calling that God has given me to share the story he painted in my life. 

So we are moving!

We are moving out of the house where we did life with cancer. This is our way of saying that we believe that there will be life after cancer. The older I get, the more I realize how much I am affected by my environment. Breaking free from the walls that contained our sadness and turmoil will give us so much healing and freedom from the cancery season of life. We just bought 5.5 acres of wooded goodness in Fairview, west of Nashville near all John's family where we will build our house of healing. There is a creek and pond and trees and fresh air and land to be worked. We need that. We need a space for healing, and we found it.

There are three blessings that are making it possible for us to build right now: 1) The property became available at an amazing price; 2) Because of the crazy real estate market in Nashville and eerbody wanting to live here, our house appreciated a LOT in the three years we have lived here; 3) John's dad is a contractor in the county we will be living in, and will be building our house. I'm so thankful for these blessings. If any one of these 3 things hadn't happened, we wouldn't be able to take this next step of healing.

This move also means that I will not be teaching Anatomy and Physiology next year. I have LOVED teaching this class: it let me use my training as a PA even after I decided not to practice, it gave me something meaningful and productive to pour myself into, it gave me treasured relationships with students. After this year of treatment, I am keenly aware that I have only a certain amount of energy to use each day, and I am ready to allocate more of that energy to my sweet little girl and more joy-giving creative endeavors.

I will be spending more time writing (here!) and creating art that brings meaning and hope into the lives and homes of others. My experiences with scripture memorization have shaped my life and prepared me for the hard times, and I want to make it possible for people to surround themselves with words that will give them life and hope.

Life after cancer will be about spreading hope to others in every way I know how.

Thank you for joining our story and celebrating these milestones with us!!


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