“Wes, he felt it, too. It has been confirmed that there is a lump in my lower back,” I said to Wes over the phone as I left my doctor’s office with shaking hands and an anxious heart.
“What else did he say,” Wes replied with concern.
“He placed an immediate order for an MRI. He isn’t sure if it’s cancer or not. I’m heading to the imaging center right now,” I said.
“I love you, Nicole. No matter what happens,” he reassured me with his kind and caring voice.
That conversation happened Thursday of last week. Friday morning revealed results of arthritis in my SI joint in my lower back.
Post-cancer has brought everything from kidney stones, to a scare from a mass in my breast, and now arthritis in my lower back.
It feels like the hits keep coming and it hasn’t been easy.
Maybe you have felt the same way, but you feel that you have to be strong for those around you. Maybe you have tried to suppress fear in order to hold up the facade that you’re okay because it’s just easier that way. Or maybe you feel that if you let yourself really think about, you’ll break down, and you are uncertain if you can ever find the strength to hold what little you have left together again.
I understand. I am right there with you.
Isn’t’ this part of what makes us human? Our circumstances can oftentimes be out of our control, but we do have a choice in the way that we react.
We can be depressed, angry, or sad. And sometimes we will be, but my hope is that we don’t stay there. We can even hide away, isolating ourselves because we feel misunderstood or are out of energy. We can pretend to be strong, faking that everything is okay. We may even find ourselves not saying anything about how we really feel and carrying on as if cancer never happened.
Or, we can choose to be authentic when times are hard. We can share our struggles and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) helping each other through the storms together. And ultimately, we can allow God to carry the heavy weight that we simply don’t have the strength to carry ourselves.
Through being transparent, we realize that we aren’t alone. We are able to share our stories, bring hope, and find joy in the dark places.
This is too much for us to handle on our own, but it is not too much for God. He is the one who carries us through. He is the One who turns sorrow into dancing, pain into comfort, fear into peace. And we don’t have to be strong enough, because He is.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” -Romans 12:12 NIV
This verse has carried me through my cancer treatment and post-treatment. The word “affliction” in this verse is surrounded here, sandwiched in the middle of so many good things: Joy, hope, patience, faithfulness, and prayer. That is where we can find our rest amidst the struggle!
My hope is that we are brave today and lay down our guard by being authentic with how we feel to God and with one another. We can rest assured that God is present and is walking every step of this journey with us with great purpose in mind. I hope we will break down the barriers of trying to act like we are strong when we aren’t. And my prayer is that we will lean on God for strength today, because He is truly strong enough for all of us.
God bless you, beloved!
Are you struggling with your diagnosis, insecurities from surgeries/side effects/body image, treatment, or post-treatment life? Or are you facing a difficult trial unrelated to cancer? I can promise that you aren’t alone. The feelings you have are normal. Some days will be harder than others, but that’s why God gave us community: we are in this together. If you would like to share a prayer request, or need someone to talk to you, or just want a word of encouragement, please reach out to me at Connect@SparklySurvivor.com.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13