Being Brave Sucks

posted in: Cancer, Cancer and faith 0

Husband’s been getting a lot of nosebleeds lately. He’s always been a bit prone to them but he’s having as many as 5 or 6 a day. I read somewhere that cold weather can cause nosebleeds. It is very cold at the moment but … He’ll be 60 soon – quite a milestone. It’s 3 years since he was diagnosed with lymphoma. So much has happened in those 3 years that it seems quite distant in some ways. He’s been through so much – splenectomy, chemo, blood test after blood test after blood test. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for results, waiting for remission, waiting for the cancer to become active again.

Husband is doing an amazing job at not stressing for no good reason. It’s who he is. And there is no good reason. Just a nagging sense of impending bad news.

This thing is cruel. We live from hospital appointment to hospital appointment. I felt pretty devastated after the last appointment. Yet another post hospital trip around the supermarket, having to be brave and not cry. Being brave sucks. But there’s no alternative. It’s not fair to burden anyone – they’re all busy. I think we both feel the need to protect everyone for as long as we can too. We know that this cancer will come and go, that this is an emotional and psychological marathon – more than that. We can’t expect anyone else to join us on the day to day steps. Some moments are achingly hard, most are confusingly normal, but this is not an experience that can be shared beyond text updates.

Husband isn’t at the point that he wants to talk much about it. Occasionally he says something but generally he wants to focus on his life not the cancer. He tells me that he feels he doesn’t have to read lymphoma newsletters, think about the cancer because I think about it for him and that that makes it easier for him. I do the reading and the worrying for him and pass on bits and pieces that I know he’ll be interested in.

I can’t help but think about cancer every time he’s breathless or has a nosebleed. My heart lurches a bit at every possible symptom. I have no baseline of experience to judge from. No-one can say not to worry but constantly stressing about possible symptoms isn’t sustainable emotionally. So I cry out to God, asking that he will give me the wisdom to know when to ask questions and when not, when to research and when not. Most of all I’m grateful that God hears our prayers, that when he said “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) he meant it. There are so many promises like this in the Bible and the last few years in particular have shown me that they can be relied upon.

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