I think the reason why I am struggling is because it's amazing news- please don't get me wrong- but today has been my biggest nightmare for almost three years. It was the day that was never supposed to happen. I'm so very glad, because in reality this is what will save Grace's life, but inside I am still grieving the fact that she needs it. It makes the cancer real.
And as I write all this I feel so much shame. I feel like I should be happy. I've tried so many times today and all I feel is more anger and fear.
After hearing about the match Chad, Grace, and I signed all the documents that acknowledge that if the graft fails, the result would be fatal. If the graft vs. host disease (GVHD) is severe, it can be fatal. If she gets sick, potentially fatal. Pneumonia, potentially fatal. Organ damage, potentially fatal. It's not standard boilerplate text. They really mean it. We signed eight or nine paragraphs of what could go wrong, and the acknowledgement that the transplant can save Grace's life or take it.
We don't know the survival statistics and we don't want to know. Grace is a fighter. We know that. And the BMT is her best chance to save her life, and the full matched donor is her best change for a successful BMT. Still, despite all my efforts of happiness today, I felt anger instead.
I wish I miraculously had peace instead of rage and terror. I feel so out of control. Peace does come, but I've had to fight for it. That's why I'm writing tonight. I'm seeking it out because frankly I'm desperate for it. But tomorrow morning I'll have to do it again. And maybe mid-morning, and afternoon, and evening and night, and probably in the middle of the night too. Lately I've not often been the winner of these fights. The Bible says that the peace of Christ, which transcends understanding, will guard our hearts and minds. I just never knew it would have to be a minute-to-minute fight to stay connected to him to get a taste of that peace.
Even as I write this I don't feel peace, though I'm trying to with all my might. At least not the harp-playing-Kumbaya-peace. But I suppose it's the I-will-follow-you-to-the-cross-because-you-alone-have-the-words-of-life peace. Maybe that's what peace really is. Maybe the other is what we assume is peace, but it's really more happy feelings on happy days. Maybe "100 proof" peace can only be found in the storms of life, when it's totally his peace and nothing we provide.
The reasons I'm angry:
- Being angry at everyone and everything is a lot easier than dealing with the real issue, that I'm so scared about Grace's transplant
- I fell completely powerless and out of control
- I'm still reeling from the disappointment that Grace's cancer came back and that our plans to move forward with a normal and safe life were taken away
- I'm exhausted and haven't been taking care of myself very much
- I've haven't been honest about my feelings and this makes me feel isolated and then I fear and resent others for not understanding me
- I'm out of energy from pretending I'm ok
- Feeling beaten down from the lies of the enemy who has been attacking me with bad thoughts about my marriage, our family's future, my value, and anything else that's an easy target...so pretty much everything in my life
In Celebrate Recovery we're suppose to do a HEART evaluation:
And I'm maxed out on all those right now. That's the truth of my life and pretending it away hasn't helped, nor has it healed my faith. I think when I'm more honest about my pain, that's when I start to heal.
This very moment I feel less like a trapped animal. I happen to know Jesus likes the real me more than the "pretty faith" me. Because the pretty me is pretend. She doesn't exist. And the weight of supporting a pretend identity has been exhausting and full of failure and shame today. And with that honesty comes the knowledge that I am accepted and loved by God in my worst moments. That is the reason I can go on. I am frightened, but I am not alone. I am willing to face the Valley of the Shadow of Death, because he is with me.
I feel his peace now.
And tomorrow I will fight for it again.