Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Accepting the Unacceptable

No, I can't say I am anywhere near "acceptance" of Emma's diagnosis.  Just last night I lay in bed crying because all of the sudden, this thought entered my mind--my five year old daughter has cancer.  Gulp!  What?  How did this happen?  I birthed her, and she was perfectly healthy!  My little girl does NOT have cancer!  She is not undergoing chemotherapy.  She is not a patient of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  She is fine, fine, fine.

However, I don't always feel this way.  Sometimes I feel like I HAVE fully accepted this new life.  Sometimes I feel okay with it, but sometimes I feel sad, or angry.  And then there are the times of denial, like right now.

If there is something I have come to realize about the emotions this journey evokes, it is that we don't EVER master our emotions.  Just as I think I finally have the anger licked, it rears its ugly head.  Just as I think I am okay with it all, I get all depressed. 

I have noticed a few things, too, about the TIMING of these emotions.  1. If I am really busy, the bad emotions come more easily. 2. If I slack off on my devotion time each morning, the bad emotions come more easily.  So I have made a determination to keep a bit more organized, so that I don't get overwhelmed with a busy life, or let my quiet time slack off.  Writing helps, too.  I can express my feelings oh so much better in writing than if I were to talk to each of you face to face.

I think it is probably this way for everyone--not just cancer families.  Life is a roller coaster ride--with fun parts and scary parts.  So when your own ride takes a scary dip, how do you deal with it?


  1. I have to admit that I'm not always the best when it comes to dealing with lows in my life. I try to remember that others have things a lot worse than I do. And my grandmother always said God only gives you what you can handle. So if God thinks I'm strong enough to handle something, then I must be. I've seen others go through things that I know I couldn't survive. But they did. It doesn't seem fair, but it makes me think my grandmother was right. She was a very religious woman. She lived her life for God and she died of Alzheimer's. It broke all our hearts to see this happen to her and watch her slip away, but I found peace in knowing that she wasn't suffering. The disease was hurting her loved ones more than her. It was still an awful situation, but that got me through it.
    So that was a long drawn out way of saying that I live by my grandmother's words. God only gives you what you can handle.
    I'm praying for you and your daughter, Katie.

  2. I believe as your grandmother, Kelly! Yes, I think that remembering there are other who have it worse than me (because there are) helps! Thanks : )

  3. It's interesting that you find that you get hit harder by emotion when you're busy. I find the opposite. If I let my schedule get slack, that's when my difficult emotions find a way in and can take over.

    Of course, it's dangerous to stay so busy that I never feel anything, so when I need to let sadness or fear wash over me, I'll listen to music or take a walk, or sit with my husband and watch a favorite movie. Anything to feel comforted and loved.

  4. I think you have a wonderful attitude, Katie. I would say I cannot imagine what you go through, but I can. When my daughter was 7, she was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a terrible disease. At that time, she was one of only a handful of children with MG, as it is an adult disease. When I realized my daughter could die, I had a long talk with God. I didn't ask Him to spare her life...I felt that was too presumptuous...but I did ask Him to give me the strength...emotional, mental, physical, whatever I needed... to deal with it, to be strong for her and give her the strenght she needed.

    For the long days prior to this, I had been an emotional wreck..no support from my (ex) husband had added to the pain. But the morning after my talk with God, I woke up a new person. Truly. I felt calm, the fear was, if not gone, at least contained, I felt like I no longer had to dissolve into tears every few minutes, and that I could be the mother I needed to be for her.

    When she was 14, she went into remission, and was until the last 3 years. Now she has many physical problems, but she can handle them, and I believe that she can deal with this because I was able to deal with her illness when she needed me to the most.

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  6. (Sorry, I deleted the previous comment just so I could edit it... Doofus me.)

    I've gone both ways: at times I need to get busier to get rid of all the anxieties biting at me; at times I really need to go away to somewhere with more trees or if there's a sea nearby, visit my cat living with a friend, or read at the library's cafe and be utterly alone.

    I'll send my best wishes to Emma and to you, Katie! You're a strong, sweet mom. And I hope there are more good days than bad for you all.

    (Sorry to add this on a post that's on a more sombre tone, but I'm presenting your blog 2 awards, so if you're interested, please drop by my blog for the details: www.carryusoffbooks.com/blog.html)

    Take care, Katie.

  7. @ Anne, I definitely see your point! They do say that the idle mind is the devil's playground.

    @ Mikki! I didn't know all of that. I was aware of her more recent issues. Wow. Thank you for sharing!

    @ Claudine, thank you for your well wishes (and the blog awards! Yipee!).

  8. Hi Katie,

    Let me start by saying that your strength is inspiring. Even if you're not always feeling strong, I'm sure your inner strength means everything to your daughter.

    I understand about your acceptance waivering. My father is suffering with dementia, and just when I think I've come to terms with it all, I break down and start questioning how it came to this. Second guessing every decision I had to make on his behalf, wondering "what if" and playing the "should have" "could have" game. It's definately not what God wants for me and I know that. So that's the first step in pulling myself back out of that way of thinking.
    Also, I think you're right, if I start with a quiet time and get my thinking right I'm less likely to fall into those traps.
    As always, wishing you and your family all the best,

  9. Thank you for sharing, Ruth! It's always encouraging when I know I am not alone in my emotional journey--others have traveled this path on their own journeys!

  10. Katie,

    First of all I'd like to say how brave I think you are and commend you for being so active with St. Judes. I wish you and your daughter nothing but healthy good times ahead and the strength to get through the rough times.
    I myself have so far, never had to deal with cancer of a loved one as of yet (knock on wood) and have no idea how I would deal with it. I hope that I would be able to handle it in a positive way. Sometimes I tend to be a bit negative but am trying to change that. My writing certainly helps me get through rough patches in my life so I can only hope it would help me through something like that.
    Keep the faith and keep visiting St. Judes. I'm sure the little ones need loving people around them like you!