March 22, 2019
Your twenties are a time to be free, to learn and to grow. To make mistakes and have hangovers. To spend time with your friends and your family. To be productive and learn new things. You might get married and have kids. Travel the world and explore. For the most part, you feel like you can control your life and hold the keys to everything.
You can be selfish and your family understands. It’s just a part of that phase of life.
So, what happens when all of that changes in a second. What happens when an illness that happens to other people, because you never even considered it happening to you, happens to your husband. When the earth falls out from under your feet and you feel like your stomach is in your throat. Something you have never felt before. No even in your most unimaginable nightmare was this there.
Suddenly things change.
You lose that control.
That ability to plan your next life move and schedule your future. Those things all disappear. All of those plans and dreams that seemed so urgent, and important, don’t even feel good to you anymore. You are left facing something you’re not strong enough to handle and you definitely can’t control this one.
When things seem so impossible that you feel like you can’t breathe. First, you fall. You fall lower than you’ve ever fallen. Lower than you thought was possible. You feel sick to your stomach and find yourself crying at all of those things that seemed hopeful because you don’t want to think about the future anymore. You just want to go back in time and make things different. And then, even when things slowly come around and start to feel somewhat normal again, everything is completely different.
Here is what I learned from my husband having had testicular cancer at age 27. These are things that I pray you will apply to your life, right now. God has blessed us far beyond what I am worthy of and he loves you too. I have never been more grateful in my entire life. As many tears as I cried writing this, I want to share this. I need to share this with you. I think we can all start living each day with more depth and presence.
Hearing the Word Cancer Changes Everything
You Start Living for Today & Make The Most of Every Moment
As someone who used to struggle with living in the past and also living in the future, I am currently learning to start living for today. For this moment, the one that we have right now. To stop worrying about the future and making every single moment perfect or well planned out. It’s ok to make mistakes and it’s easy to put things off, waiting for the opportune moment for everything. The truth is, now is the perfect moment. Don’t Wait.
You Give Up Control
One thing that I really struggled with, that I really didn’t realize was a big issue for me, was control. The need to control everything. The need to plan, organize and strategize timing. I have slowly been learning to give up control. To understand that things aren’t perfect but they are real. (Jay said that to me the other night. I am quoting him.) So you make a mistake. Maybe your five minutes late or maybe something comes up that you didn’t plan. That’s ok. That’s life. It’s messy and imperfect and sometimes it’s painful. But, it’s real. Keep your heart in the game and strive for the best. But, don’t crumble or get frustrated. We aren’t always in control.
You Pay Attention to Your Words
Sometimes, I believe that the term “verbal vomit” was created for me. There is power in your words, the thoughts you encounter, and your prayers. Learning to control what comes out of my mouth and the words that I choose to speak into this world has been huge for me. When we first got the news, I refused to say the word Cancer. Mostly because I couldn’t. That word still brings tears to my eyes. But, I realized that what came out of my mouth had a huge impact on our lives. So, I am learning to only speak positive words that bring joy and good health. And other than writing these posts, where it’s necessary to use that word, I still try not to say it.
You Cut Negativity & Things That Don’t Matter
When you realize how quickly *things* can hit the fan and how important every single moment is, you realize how unimportant negativity is. You cut those people from your life that aren’t bringing joy and good vibes. The gossip, the rudeness, and the downright negativity show their true colors. Negativity’s repulsiveness and that ugly appearance are revealed. You suddenly realize there is no space for that or the people who carry it, in your life. It also becomes clear what things in your life don’t matter. Possessions, people, opinions, and emotions you have held onto for years. You learn to let go. You don’t care about what other people think of your decisions and choices.
You Show Up & Give Like You Didn’t Know You Could
After experiencing what we did, I feel like I am alive again. Like, I have been living in a daze for
so too many years. I felt so weak. I didn’t know what to say, what to do, how to help. I felt lost. The truth is, sometimes there isn’t anything you can do or say to help. Sometimes, the answer is to just be. Be present, be there, be involved and be giving.
I learned that there aren’t words for everything. Sometimes, people just need you to sit beside them, smile at them, or hug them. Other times, they need you to be strong when they are weak. To speak up when they can’t and to push back when you feel resistance and to take action. The truth is, I have been selfish for a long time. I have put myself first. But, when you experience something like this, you can forget that you even exist and you learn to give like you didn’t know you could. It’s a really good feeling to think about something other than yourself.
You Love Harder Than Ever
It’s hard to say that any one of these lessons is more important than the other because I truly believe they have all worked together to change my life in a necessary way. But, one of my favorite things is how it has changed my ability to love harder than I ever have, to give more than I could and to know the true comfort of faith. I think love is one of those things that is really hard to describe with words, no matter how hard you try. It’s a feeling.
Things That You Thought Mattered Before Really Don’t. You Find a New Life.
You let go of what is unnecessary and hold on for dear life to what is. The overarching theme of this experience is definitely change and growth. But, what is hiding under all of the new wisdom is learning to let go of what was. Accepting new life and letting go of old ways. Everything that used to be priority somehow seems insignificant. New life is born and it’s almost like I have a second chance at being a better wife and person.
Sharing this isn’t easy but it is necessary. I want to share God’s goodness with others and how we have been so blessed. Lastly, I will leave you with the scripture that I have carried so close to me over the past few months. This has given me comfort beyond belief and I think it’s important to find that scripture that is the perfect fit for you.
2 Corinthians 12:9
I made this my screensavor on my phone as a daily reminder.
Photography by Tiffany Sigmon
How My Husband Having Cancer Changed My Life