Saturday, I spent a good chunk of the day, photographing swimmers from Jacey’s swim team. I’ve become somewhat of the team photographer, unofficially. I had to stop, before I was ready, because my body was screaming at me. I sat there the rest of the day, sulking inside because I wasn’t getting to do what I wanted to do, all the while attempting to put on a happy face, because very few people associated with the team know I have leukemia and even the ones that do, don’t truly understand the situation. I am a 33 year old, stuck in the body of a 70+ year old. I “look” perfectly fine, I do a very good job (or so I think) hiding the pain from those outside my innermost circle.
Why do I hide the elephant in the room?
Because, no matter if it should or not, it changes others view of you. They can’t understand how someone that looks okay can be sick, especially with cancer. I am not frail, I am not bald and I don’t wear a pink ribbon bandana (don’t get me started on that soapbox). Most often it turns to pity. I don’t want to be pitied.
A friend recently posted the link to The Spoon Theory on Facebook and it reminded me just how I wish that EVERYONE would read it. It is a perfect analogy for those of us with invisible illnesses and a simple way for people to understand.
Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, – See more at: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/#sthash.ZvXSBO4k.dpuf
Later that night, as I crawled into bed, I noticed my bruised knees. Bruised from kneeling by the pool, trying to get the perfect shot and I got mad all over again. I reached over and got my phone to read that day’s devotional, even though I didn’t want to. ” A Jolt of Joy” Day 5 (from the YouVersion app). Joy was the last thing I wanted to think about when I was mad. Mad at my body, mad at cancer. I read it though and as always, it came in God’s perfect timing. It talked about Paul and Silas in Acts 16, getting persecuted, thrown in prison and the absolutely horrifying conditions they had to endure. Yet, they found JOY.
“Now … what’s your excuse?!”
Yes, I have cancer. Yes, I am allowed to be mad at it, but I cannot let it steal my JOY. That is God given and no one and nothing can take it away. I’ve wasted the last 5 years letting my anger at cancer take away my JOY. I’ve become an almost unrecognizable version of myself.
That has to be changed. No, it won’t be an overnight transformation and I will still have bad days, but I CANNOT let cancer and anger rule any longer. No matter what else happens, I have a God that loves me and has gifted me with JOY, a husband that loves me unconditionally, a daughter that exceeds anything I could have ever imagined, a Mom who is always there for me even when I try to pretend like I don’t need her and family/friends that have persevered through the good and bad with me.
What more can I ask for?