Sunday, October 21, 2012

Managing Disappointment After Disappointment

As I digress from telling my story to date, a little glimpse into the future is what you are going to get today. I want to thank you all for the kind words and encouragement you have sent to me through this blog, facebook and by email. I will do my best to keep going even when posts, like this one, are incredibly difficult to write. My hope and prayer is that at least one person is blessed and/or challenged by my story.

For over 4 years now, I have been going through the pains of cancer, surgery, recovery, therapy and then back through the process again and again. I have not had a chance to regain much of a normal life following cancer as I would have wished. I would suspect that most women who experience breast cancer have to manage their emotions at the beginning of their journey and manage the pain during their treatment. Once they are on the road to recovery, check ups may give them great joy when they know the cancer is gone and they are in remission or are considered a survivor.

For me, check ups are often met with great despair. Most times, fear sets in and disappointment follows when the doctors tell me they have found another spot, or as they call it "lesion." This time, seeing my doctors in September, there are not any new spots (lesions) but growth of ones that have been there and a new trial of a bone fracture. How did I get a bone fracture? And where?

Last boot I got out of the car for in
Cheyenne, WY due to the pain, 8/4/12.
In August 2012, my mom and I took a day trip from Colorado Springs to Cheyenne, WY. We had a fantastic time driving around the capital town looking for all of the fundraising art "boots" at different businesses. The city really made this a fun "treasure hunt" finding all of the different boots around the town. They were amazing and bigger than life!

Toward the end of our touring the city, my left leg (the so called "good leg") became increasingly difficult to walk on and I had a tremendous amount of pain with any movement. For several weeks it was so hard to maintain a good attitude and put on my "game face" because the pain was so great.

Now that we have seen the doctors, had x-rays and a PET Scan, we know why I have had so much pain. The neck of my left hip bone has a compression fracture just below the ball and joint. All the pressure of moving and walking on it is causing more pain. The solution, surgery! I need to have a partial hip replacement to repair the portion that has been broken. That was all I needed to hear, more surgery. My first inclination was to break down crying asking God, "When is this ever going to end? I'm so tired!" Then, I want to get mad that things keep coming at me without an end to them. I get rid of one problem only to face another issue as soon as we have an answer to the one before. It seems to be a never-ending cycle. I really cry out to God for relief from this cycle. I need a break, just not "in" my body.

So, how does one manage all of the things that seem to come into your life and wreak havoc on you? The best thing that I have come up with is to remain focused on the Lord. I know it sounds like a cliche. But, I have really found it to be true. The only way I have been able to manage every disappointment and challenge that has come my way to date, is to keep going back to the Lord and telling Him how I feel. Ask Him for guidance, ask Him to intervene. And, sometimes He doesn't seem to answer with what we are looking for, but He is building character not only in me but in those around me as well.

This gives James 1:2-8 a new perspective when talking about your trials. Many people have trials that are with people, or finances, or minor health issues. Most people are not put through as many health issues and serious surgeries as I have been through in the past 4 years. The only way I have kept the "joy" going is to keep my focus on the Lord.

I encourage you to look at James 1:2-8 as an opportunity to focus on the Lord in your trials to find your joy as you go through it. Because, you are going through it!

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:2-8 (NKJV)

How do you manage your disappointments and trials?