October 15th, 2013. Exactly two years ago today, I started this blog. Two full years ago.
But this post isn't just about the blog. Two years ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.
Well, okay, two years and two months. He was diagnosed in August of 2013. I was planning on doing a post on the exact date, but we were on vacation, so I thought I would combine the two posts together.
I look back, and so, so, much has changed.
My parents have changed.
My life has changed.
I have changed.
But do you know what? I can look back and say that my dad being diagnosed with cancer was one of the best things that ever happened.
Okay, let me explain.
When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, it was a shock to everyone. Sure, he hadn't been feeling great, but. . .cancer?
The official diagnosis took a few days to sink in, and then chaos erupted. Literally. No one in our little area of the world had even heard of my dad's cancer. The doctors couldn't figure out where the cancer had started, but it had already traveled to his lymph nodes. As far as we knew, it was a rare, aggressive cancer. And there were no treatments. Chemo didn't do a thing to his kind of cancer, so it wasn't even an option.
After studying the cancer for a few weeks, my parents found that there were 3 areas in the U.S that researched the kind of cancer my dad had. It was so rare they were still researching it, trying to find a treatment that worked.
One of the research centers was located in Seattle, WA at the University of Washington State. Technically, they never should have been able to go. But God provided in miraculous ways. My Grandma and Aunt from California offered to traveled out here and stay with us, and one of dad's friends from college offered to buy their plane tickets. A guy my dad works with had family in WA, and my parents were able to stay with them while he was having the doctors visits.
And so, less then two months after the official diagnosis, my parents were on there way to Seattle.
I can't describe the feelings that went through me as they left. Fear. Uncertainty. Confusion. But it didn't matter. As the oldest child with my parents being gone, I was the one my siblings looked to.
I steeled myself, blocking out all emotion and turned to the task that was ahead of me. I didn't let myself cry or tell anyone else how I was feeling. I was fine. I could handle it. I never showed any emotion. I did was was required of me, then found something else to do that would keep me busy and keep my mind off everything else. I told myself I could handle it. I would handle it.
But I couldn't.
I would have nightmares that my dad had died and I never had the chance to say good bye. I would wake up with tears streaming down my face.
And it was then, that God made himself real to me.
There came a time when He was the only one I could turn to. No one else understood what I was going through, no one else understood the pain and hurt I felt.
But He did. There came a time I couldn't hold on anymore. I let go, and He was there to catch me. I didn't have to act anymore. I didn't have to be strong because He was strong for me! I didn't have to do it in my own strength. I couldn't. But instead I could lean on Him, trusting Him to get me through the storm.
And do you know what?
He did. Just like He always does.
Cancer is one of the best things that ever happened because it brought me closer to Jesus.
But He didn't only carry me through it, He provided so many blessings along the way!
Through the trials of cancer, I discovered my love for writing.
I had never written before any of this happened. I read a lot, but other then what was required for school, I didn't write much at all. After dad was diagnosed with cancer, I needed something, anything to get my mind off reality if only for a few minutes. So I started writing. Just little stories at first, but then longer ones. I realized then that I LOVED writing. The rest is. . .history. ;)
Through this blog, I was able to meet some of the most amazing people. Seriously, looking back I can't imagine a time when I didn't know you guys! It has been so amazing to get to know some of you!
I have also had opportunities to get to know people I would never have met had it not been for the cancer. Also, the many days going back and forth between the hospital and our home when dad was having radiation showed me my love for all things medicine. Lord willing within the next 1-2 years I will be able to enroll in a nursing program at our local community college.
Now fast-forward two years. Two years since the cancer diagnosis, Dad is closer to normal then he was before the cancer. And there has been no cancer activity in his body since the radiation treatments ended in January of 2014. We were able to take a family vacation this year, the first since the cancer diagnosis. I was able to meet two very dear friends and pen pals this summer and I have started my senior year of highschool. I'm still learning, still growing, but I'm different then I was two years ago. I have changed. It puts Job 23:10 in a whole new light. 'But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.'
I have learned that I can't shun cancer as an enemy, I can't embrace it as a friend, but I can accept it as something God has brought into my life for His perfect reason.
I'm not saying I have everything down. Trust me, I don't! There are still times I struggle to see exactly why God is doing what He's doing. But I have to remind myself that God sees the end of the road. He sees things I can't see. There are still times I doubt any good can come from what is going on, but then I have to remember that even in the midst of it, God is there. I'm just so thankful that He always welcomes us back with open arms!
The trials God brings into out life are for our good. Maybe we can't see it at the time. In fact, it is very hard to see it when everything that is happening . But later on, when we're able to step back and see how everything has changed, we can see God's hand through what has happened. And honestly, I can't wait to get to heaven and see how all the little pieces of our life fit into the big picture God has in mind. I mean, can y'all just imagine how exciting that will be?!
Am I saying it's easy? No! Fully trusting God and surrendering to Him can be one of the hardest things you will ever do.
He has a reason.
He is faithful.
And He will bring you through it!
Two years, and yet so, so much has changed. But there is something that will never change. God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good!