Monday, September 28, 2015

Admitting to Brokenness

Thank goodness for good friends who stem the tide of insanity in our lives. Today there were several ladies in my life who lent themselves to helping me with that.

I've been very anxious lately.

Maybe it's because it's safe enough to deal with the emotions I had to repress last year. I think the deaths of several little friends has shown me how real the threat of cancer is and that in itself is terrifying on hard days. I think a lot of my anxiety lately has to do with feeling threatened by the Santa Susana Field Lab meltdown. The potential of that undisclosed danger has really unnerved me. Also I'm much too busy lately, much too tired, behind on work deadlines, and after spending six days with Grace in the hospital we came home and I immediately got sick with a nasty flu while Chad was out of town for business.

When I read all that it's no wonder I'm a mess. But still, I feel guilty for breaking down. I had really imagined maintenance would be so much easier. I really though that I would be able to balance normal life with the occasional cancer days without a sweat. Because this year doesn't even compare to how difficult last year was. Still it's been significantly harder than pre-cancer life. And it's been almost impossible for me to admit that.

This year has been without buffers. Everything is working but it feels like it's one mistake away from catastrophe. And that pressure to keep up on all fronts has me exhausted and anxious. I've done my best to trust God and let him be in control. Some days that comes easily, days when I hear his voice clearly and feel his peace closely. Then there are days when my faith seems as worn thin as my spirit.

My friend Julia has seen this uber-anxiety in me first hand lately. Today she made me do what I hate the most. She made me admit that I can't do it all. I also talked to Letty from the Michael Hoefflin Foundation. Both ladies listened and encouraged me. They also helped me to understand that help isn't just for the helpless. It's also for people who are capable but who have more to deal with than they can handle.

I realize now that asking for help doesn't make me weak. Knowing that I can't doesn't make me less capable. Admitting that I am insufficient doesn't mean that cancer won. Because I think that's what hurts the most. Admitting I need help is when Grace's cancer feels the most real to me.

So I am working towards overcoming that feeling. I'm going to embrace my weakness more, instead of fighting against it alone. I'll give myself mercy to be broken instead. I will continue to do my best to trust God and to listen for his voice to guide our family. I will leave more buffer in my life to allow all that to happen.

And I will continue to be thankful for the friends in my life who encourage me when I am weak.


  1. I think flu guilt is one of the minor effects of the virus. When we know we've been exposed, are not (yet) showing obvious symptoms but want to avoid being around vulnerable people or subjecting ourselves to the kind of stress that might bring us down with the flu, thoughts like "If I were a real friend I'd visit X in the hospital" or "If I weren't such a wimp I'd do that plumbing job myself" are *symptoms.* Rest, sip lemon tea, and wait for these thoughts to subside before doing anything people shouldn't do when they have flu.

  2. I think flu guilt is one of the lesser symptoms of flu. When we know we've been exposed and are waiting to see whether any obvious symptoms appear, thoughts like "A good friend would visit X in the hospital today" or "I should fix my own plumbing" are *symptoms.* Rest, sip tea, and wait for these thoughts to subside before doing anything a person shouldn't do while suffering from flu.