What is something about you the people would be surprised to learn?
I feel like I have shared so much through this blog! I had to check previous posts about what we hadn’t talked about and it was such a surprise to me that I hadn’t shared anything about how life changed pretty dramatically when I turned 25.
I had a full on quarter life crisis at turning 25 in September of 2010. I was none of the things I wanted to be at this point in life. It literally gave me stomach aches in the night but all the disappointment in myself prompted me to get a plan. I wanted to succeed in something and I started to plan my bright future. The stomach aches didn’t stop though. They actually got more intense and more frequent. By November I was taking medication every day to handle the pain in my abdomen. It felt like my body didn’t even believe the bright future I had planned but I kept pushing through. I thought the pain was linked to the stress I felt at looming lay offs at my job or bottled up discontentment with my desert-like personal life. I didn’t need a doctor-I needed some time to rest!
November turned into a new year and I knew this was the time to turn over a new leaf. I had to; my body was betraying me. I was in the emergency room with so much pain and no one could give me any concrete answers as to why. I finally gave in and went to see a specialist. Test after test turned up nothing but I had gotten to the point where eating was dangerous because not a lot stayed down. I figured it was bad diet mixed with the stress of possible unemployment. When the option to be part of the next wave of layoffs came up I knew this was a way to get out of the rat race for a while. I had a little savings and it made sense to take some time away to get better. Little did I know that everything would change very quickly after that.
At this point it was mid-April and I was looking forward to a couple of weeks away from the grind of work to feel better before going back to my job search. I tried to let my body know that I was going to be resting and taking better care of myself so it could stop with the dramatics but things just went from bad to worse. Nothing stayed down anymore. I didn’t even have enough energy to eat or drink anything. This time I went to the emergency room knowing that something serious was wrong. I was admitted due to extreme dehydration. I was underweight at 108 lbs and could only be fed through IV. For a week I was wheeled from one place to another as they ran tests to figure out what could be eating me alive. It wasn’t until they found a blockage in my colon did they have some idea as to what it could be. I had surgery to have it removed and the biopsy came back that it was stage 3 colon cancer.
My world stopped. I was healthy. I was young. The worse I had been sick was the chicken pox back in first grade–I’d never even had the flu before! Cancer was just beyond my realm of thought of things that could happen to me. I didn’t even cry at first. It was just too foreign an idea. Even as the doctors explained the course of treatment, the future surgeries, the ostomy from the first surgery, the side effects, and even unusual my case was, I was numb. It wasn’t until visiting hours were over and I was alone with the truth did I cry. I could not figure out why. Just why?!?! I needed God to give me a reason for the pain I had endured and for the huge mountain I was about to face. I felt immediately that this wasn’t about me. That no combination of the wrongdoing in my life had made me the unlucky winner of this horrible lottery. That God does not dole out sickness or disease because I was still figuring out how to follow Him. He allows things to happen to us so that He can get the glory. He wanted me to show grace under extreme fire, to show what beauty from ashes could look like, to be a light in the dark places. And He would walk me through it all.
This was just a beginning for me. It was the Quarter Life Crisis that changed everything. I will share more of that journey as I find the words but a quick update is that I have been cancer free for 3 years exactly! God has blessed me to be able to share my testimony many different ways and I believe He continues to get the glory from my story.