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Journey? What journey?

When you get diagnosed with cancer, everyone refers to it as a journey. Friends say, "this is a journey, hang in there," doctors say, "this is a journey we're on together," strangers say, "you'll learn so much on this journey."

I don't know about you, but when I think of a journey, I think of something that is going to be enjoyable, something I planned for entertainment, for adventure. I think of a journey as something that will be exciting and bring new experiences to my life.

I do not think of a journey as something that will bring you hurt and pain and depression. I do not think of a journey as something that will lift you up one day and bring you down the next. I do not think of a journey as something you have to struggle through in order to get to the reward on the other side.

It turns out, the word has a French origin and was used to refer to a day's work, or travel. It's also defined on dictionary.com as "traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time; a trip." (Key phrase here, "rather long time). 

I have truly spent a lot of time thinking about what this is if it's not a journey. A hurdle? A challenge? Just one of those life lessons you have to live through? But there just doesn't seem to be a good definition for it.

I've come to realize perhaps it really is a journey, it's just how you read the definition of it. Nowhere in those official definitions does it say the journey is a chosen one. Nowhere in those definitions does it say it will be an enjoyable trip. Nowhere in those definitions does it say that journey will be exciting and full of adventure and fun new things. In fact, it says it takes a rather long time and takes you from one place to another. 

If there's one thing I've learned, cancer diagnosis and treatment is a long haul. My first abnormal tests were in November, more tests in December, more tests in January; a diagnosis, 2nd opinions and one month, (almost 6 weeks later), a surgery, then more tests, then more surgery, now more tests and more surgery. What started as a best case scenario of 6 weeks and this is over for you, turned into 6 months and now looks more like 9 months if not longer. There are more appointments ahead and more test results pending that could change things at any time; and when I say any time, it's literally any time. Last week an appointment was perfect, hopeful, finally the break I had seemingly been wanting; 4 hours later a voicemail from the doctor he needed to talk to me, a conversation the following day that delivered some concerning, but not life changing news, then the next day an 8:30 a.m. Phone call that changed everything..... again. 

So perhaps cancer is a journey; it certainly lives up to the definition that says it usually takes a rather long time. 

It has also certainly lived up to the definition that you travel from one place to another; not only physically, but spiritually. Sure, you go from medical offices, doctor appointments, hospitals and cancer centers, but you also find yourself traveling deep within yourself to look for inspiration and meditation to find grace, to find peace, to find your escape from pain (It can't all be Valium and oxy!).

For me, the biggest part of that spiritual journey has been my relationship with God. From the beginning, I felt like God was trying to get my attention, to get me to listen to him, to get me to let go of the control I had on my life, my marriage, my job and hear where he wanted me to be in all of those things.  

I've gone to church my entire life, I pray, I read the Bible, I worship, but I can honestly tell you that I have never gone to God every day in constant need and only had him to deliver my needs. 

There are times now I go to God every hour of the day. Sometimes I ask for healing. Sometimes I ask for patience with my children, my husband, my doctors. Sometimes I ask for him to take away the anxiety and worry. Sometimes I find myself lamenting in the "what if's" and then realize I need to ask God to take back the control and once again help me relinquish the plan. 

It is seriously the hardest thing for me to do. I am not a patient person. I want answers. I want them fast. I want broken things fixed and I do not want to wait. 

I do not know why the plan for this cancer journey has included setbacks and answers I did not want, but I trust in the end, it will be his will and he has no plans to harm me, only to prosper me. And by the very definition of a journey, it could take a rather long time. 


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