Sunday, April 8, 2012

God's Not Dead

Happy Easter!

This transition between cancer and no cancer has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. I often refer to the situation being like watching a horror movie. During the day when scenes are sunny and the lights are up, it doesn’t seem so bad but when dusk settles and the lights dim, my anxiety levels skyrocket and I am scared to put my head down at night. During the day we jump around and play, we laugh and make jokes, I tickle the kids silly and Chris and I shine as we watch Christian running to the park or jumping in to play with his siblings. But at night when he falls asleep a whole new world brews. He starts to moan and cry and often will say to me after a few hours of sleep, “I don’t feel so well”. And I don’t care about much you’ve gone through or how much we trust in God’s plan – when he clutches his tummy and says he feels sick – my brain instantly narrows in on cancer. I have to take a deep breath and talk myself out of this frame of mind; but the thoughts linger on until the sun comes up and he feels better. I don’t know if I can describe the anxiety of post treatment. Of waiting for his first set of scans. Of wondering how the next few months will go. Of trying to find a new normal for our family. Or just trying to learn HOW to be a family again.
I have been informed that 80% of families in post treatment end up in divorce or separation (a studied fact) and now I understand why. When Christian was in the hospital getting chemotherapy or when he was sick, there was a reason for anxiety and stress. But it seems that once you are at home all of that stress and fear should be gone – but its not. In fact I am going to say it’s almost worse. I wish I could put my fears and frustrations into words but there are none to describe how I feel. A constant 'sick to my stomach' feeling that never really dissipates. We have planned a few road trips and vacations in hopes that some time together away will help to mend our spirits. I pray that it brings healing to us all to have a few fun days on the water. I pray that driving through the mountains, walking the beach, driving the golf course, eating at a random McDonalds, watching TV together on a hotel bed and continental breakfasts in the morning might help us to feel like a normal family that hasn’t been ripped apart over the past 16 months. 
Checking out the Easter Bunny haul 
Funny that I am having these deep, heart wrenching moments on Easter Sunday. The day our Lord rose from the dead. There has never been a stronger case for faith than this. That Jesus would pay the ultimate price so that I can talk to God, trust in God’s faithfulness, hold on to His hope, and know His peace in my heart. And I do – everyday. In fact I think this is probably the reason that Chris and I are still together. That despite all the horrible things that are going through our minds and the emotions we are trying to cope with, we can look at one another and gently remind each other – we need to pray about it. Our reminder to each other that this isn’t a burden we need to carry alone; in fact He wants us to ask for help, He wants to carry us. I need to be carried. I need somebody to show us how to be a family again, how to implement rules, how to show unabashed love, how to cope with the small things (a spilled cup of coffee or muddy shoes on the floor). I crave the open road and a late night hotel. I crave the smell of the salt water and the feeling of zero responsibilities (except food and sleep!)
Rolling the head!
Providing Christian can stay healthy we will depart for Vancouver in a little over a week and the time is just ticking away.  At night when he wakes up screaming, either from nightmares or pain I wonder if I even have the strength to leave the house into the great unknown. So I would ask that you would pray for an incident free vacation. The Christian would be freed of his nightmares and pains and the he would rest comfortably without any demons chasing him. He told me the other morning (after a great amount of prodding) that his most recent nightmare involved me shoving something black and brown up his nose (like a tube) and he couldn’t talk or move with it in. He couldn’t ask me to stop or ask for help. And I wonder if this is how he has felt for the past few year. That he has had no choice about what has happened to him. We drive him to the hospital. The nurses attach him to lines and the drugs run in. Somebody shows up in his hospital room to shove a tube down his nose – and he never gets any say. And he always looks at me and says, “mommy, no”. And I don’t stop them. I think this might be a nightmare I will have for a long time. I often wonder, if I am feeling this way, how does he feel? How does a 4 year old express anxiety, anger, frustration, fear? How does he deal with all of these pent up emotions? How do I help him to heal? I don’t know.
Nothing more healing than building a snowman!!!

I thought it was a bit of a stretch when I was reading online about parents and grandparents suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after cancer treatments. But now I understand. I have a heart attack anytime loud noises erupt. I have anxiety attacks when I think Christian is in pain or getting sick. I can’t sleep and I have zero energy. Thank you Jesus for giving me strength when I have none; hope when I am tapped out and for loving me when I am unlovable. You are the best Teacher, Father, Confidant and you are the source of the peace in our hearts.
let them eat cake!!!

Inspired by my friends Andrew and Sophie....brought to life by Pintrest!!!

Today I am thankful for:
1.     Watching Bubba win the Masters.
2.     Recipes that turn out the way you hope
3.     Listening to Christian sing out the words to “God’s not dead”
Loving all the cousins together!


  1. You guys are awesome! Prayers to you all. My kids love that song too! "God's not dead He is surely alive. Living on the inside..." Robyn

  2. My prayers to all of you that life will soon return to "normal". I know that post traumatic stress can not only affect you mentally but physically as well. Your family has suffered the ultimate stress over the last year, a sick child. Nothing can prepare you for that. I'm sure that you must have some underlying guilt for not being able to stop people from "poking, prodding and shoving tubes" when Christian said "no mommy". I can only imagine how unbearable that was as a parent. You and Chris have been amazingly strong through all of this and through this blog have helped so many others. You have reached so many of us that don't even know you personally and we are all praying for Christian and for your whole family.

    Take Care
    Truro, NS

  3. You and your family - you and your husband and your kids and the grandparents and other family members - have totally amazed me during the past year or so - not least, because you have all SO been there for each other. You have conveyed to me your very real, very great love for each other and the same kind of love for God. And I know that, in the first place, that love must have come from God simply because it is SO strong. I know that God's love for you all is unending and that in sharing it with each other you will continue to find strength for each other. Blessings, Patricia (Antigonish).

  4. Post traumatic stress disorder is very much real, we suffered the same for years. Every time Eva got sick I would think it was her heart failing and she was going to die. Looking back I do not know how we got through that time, but we did and we still do. It is going to take time to adjust, but I think it would be pertinent to figure out a way to deal with the anxiety? Maybe some yoga, meditation? Something to channel the stress (running is great too).
    Thinking of you always.
    p.s LOVE the cake!