I have some seriously weird dreams. I've always had really vivid dreams and for the most part they are just random, like the other night I dreamt that I was trying to find the supplies I needed to take to my class the next morning but I couldn't find them, so I had to run around the math building looking for them. Other nights they are more crazy, like me running away from bad guys or other dangerous things. Last night was a depressing one. I dreamt that I was in a doctors office and they told me I had cancer, it was a crappy dream. Sometimes I don't like having such vivid dreams because the emotions and everything seem so real. In the dream last night I felt like I'd gotten punched in the stomach and round-house kicked in the face, Chuck Norris style. Too bad it's a feeling that I'm somewhat familiar with concerning this particular six letter word. I hate cancer, I hate it more than anything else in this world, I freaking hate it so bad. It's something my family has dealt with for the past 10 years and it sucks.
Extremely long story short, we found out my sister had cancer (Desmoid tumors to be exact, if you really care to look it up) when she was 16 or something like that. Even after several surgeries the stupid thing the doctors said was benign kept growing back and spreading. The summer after I graduated high school (2005) we found out she needed to do chemo and all of that nasty stuff. It was a really hard 6 months and even after it was all said and done the cancer is still in there, but luckily it's not growing anymore. It was difficult for everyone in my family, and it messed me up pretty bad. There were times when I straight up thought my sister was going to die, and it was just hard for an 18 year old kid to handle. It honestly took me several years after all the chemo and everything to get to a spot where I was able to deal with all of the emotional baggage. Even now, I can't get the images out of my mind, they are burned in my memory and pop up whenever I hear that stupid word or see movies based on it. There were so many times when it was happening that I wished it was me and not her who was sick. I would have done anything to switch places with her because I didn't want her to hurt. Which is ironic given my dream last night. In it, I remember telling her first before anyone else, but I can't remember what she said.
But what could anybody say to something like this or any other trial you have no control over?? Trials suck, they all suck really bad. I feel like some people almost try to glamorize trials and build them up like it's a privilege to go through crap. Yes, I am grateful for some of the things I learned from that trial, things that took me years to learn. . . but would I ever want my family to do it again?? Hell no. I understand the fact that we grow through our experiences, that we become better and more refined, because of the hard things we go through. I understand that, and I believe it, but I also think it's okay if we struggle through things, if sometimes we get upset about those crappy things we can't control in life, if we have an emotional breakdown every once in a while (which used to happen weekly for me back in the day), or even if we aren't grateful for our dang trials.
We all have unique challenges we have to face; we are tougher than we think and we can get through hard things. But please don't beat yourself up if you feel like you aren't "dealing" with stuff well enough. I spent alot of years hurting because I felt like I needed to "deal" with cancer better and that I should have just been able to get over it. Well guess what. . . it happened to take me years to "get over" cancer and considering this post and some of the feelings I still have towards everything, I may never "get over it" in this lifetime. But just because I may still struggle with it at times does not make me a weak person. Gaining perspective about what's really important in life has helped make me strong. Learning to develop my faith and trusting that God is aware of the hard things I go through has helped make me strong. Continuing to rely on the perspective and faith I have developed while facing other challenges, even if they aren't as huge, has helped make me strong.
I have a favorite scripture that has always helped me through hard things it's Doctrine & Covenants 121:7-8 ". . . peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment. And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high. . ." Endure means to persevere, to do the best that you can. I've been doing the best I can with this trial and that is enough.
I love you Whit, you are the best person I know, and I will always look up to you.
Some professional photographers wanted to take pics of Whit, my mom, and I when she was doing chemo. Whit wore a wig in most of the pictures.
They told us to think about everything
we were going through before they took this pic,
I call it our "screw the world" photo