I find that since my diagnosis my faith has been questioned. Not by my self but by others.
You must be positive and look to the bright side.
God will provide.
You must pray.
You can get through this.
They insist I pray more. I pray with them. I look at this study or that. I should do this. I should ask about that. I appreciate it. I do. But a lot of times it can be overwhelming. It can be overbearing. Frankly, it can be frustrating. I know they mean well but… how do I say this… uhm…
Okay, imagine these scenarios — (I think one of them would be relatable, right?):
- You’ve had a rough day at work and you just really want to vent about it and someone launches into solutions or unsolicited advice without fully taking your perspective into consideration.
- Or you’re feeling anxious or upset about something and someone tells you to just “calm down” or “relax” and forget about it — don’t fret.
- Or you try to tell someone about something that happened to you and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a 30 minute conversation about them and you don’t know how you got there or how to get out of it but now you’re hostage to their story and their experience which, although slightly similar, is not at all the point.
All of these things are and can be helpful in their own right and in their own way but at the right time. Sometimes, it’s not the right time. Sometimes people think they’re listening but they’re only just hearing for the clues to how they can reply. It can be because they are uncomfortable or they don’t know what to say or because they just want to fill the dead air. But sometimes, the dead air is just fine and better than anything else.
I am sorry if my posts do not always come across as positive. Contrary to popular belief I am quite positive actually. I have said in many posts before that I believe that I have been diagnosed for a reason and I would think, considering everything, my reactions have been quite positive.
It interests me that sometimes it seems that when I am speaking with someone I am more trying to comfort them than the other way around. I understand. We all deal with difficult news differently and I don’t always need comfort. It’s just funny.
When I was in the hospital, that first night, I was afraid — I admit. I had been admitted on Saturday, April 14th but after all of the tests and questions and vitals and blood work I wasn’t alone in my room until 2 am on Sunday morning. I prayed. I spoke to my God and I asked him to watch over my family and the people I loved.
I grew up in a very religious family but at some point or other, I stopped going to church. I admit that not many people know how religious my upbringing was. I am not ashamed of it nor do I intend to hide it. I do not do it intentionally. Perhaps you think I am ashamed, but I am not.
Later, I went to a Jesuit university where I was required to learn of Christianity and of other World Religions on a fundamental level. For this I am grateful because it gave me a better insight to know Him in my own way.
I believe that my relationship with God is personal. I believe that my understanding of Him, though finite, is my own. I do pray. I pray often. I do not enjoy praying aloud in front of others, but I do anyway. Mostly because I do not feel comfortable doing so. My conversations with Him are personal. I talk to Him colloquially as a friend and as if He can hear me. I know it sounds silly, but I think that sometimes He gives me dreams to understand him.
I had a dream about a week before I started to feel the symptoms, that I was going to die. I dreamt that I was in the hospital in a room like the one I was admitted to and speaking with a doctor who was similar to my oncologist. The doctor told me that I was sick, that I had cancer, and that I had 72 hours to live. In my dream, I was at peace and my mom took me by the hand and walked with me through our lives together — from Elizabeth to Harlem and everywhere between. I woke up knowing that this was just an introduction to a new phase of my life and I was not afraid. I remember telling my mom that I was excited for whatever new change was coming into my life.
That first night in the hospital, I had yet to be diagnosed but in my heart and in my gut, I knew. That night I talked to God for a long time. I told Him of my fears and my hopes and my dreams. I cried. I prayed that He would give me guidance and strength. I prayed that He would watch over me and my family in the way that I felt He always has. I faced my mortality that night, knowing that if I were to die, I would be carried in His arms. I found peace in that. I recorded a message for my family — one that I hope they will never have to hear — but that gave me comfort too.
After all of that, I am okay. Yes, I get scared. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get upset. But I do not apologize for how I feel.
I want you to know that I am happy almost all of the time. Please respect that this is my place to vent. To talk about my experiences and how I am dealing with them. I am not perfect. Understand that I appreciate your prayers and well wishes but I also ask that you respect my interpretation of faith and know that, although I do not talk about it to everyone nor post about it everywhere, I have a deep faith that is unwavering and unyielding.
Oh and remember…