Having this surgery feels like, what I would imagine, being shipped off to boarding school after the best summer of your life would feel like. I’m getting homesick for my life. When I think of all the things in my life that I love so much that I won’t be able to participate in for the next couple of months I get so sad. I’m just being petty I know. It’s temporary. I’ll get to do all these things again once I recover but I just wanna plop down in the corner and cry about how unfair it all is. If we stick to the above scenario my “best summer ever” has group dinners at Stonefire grill, brunch dates on days off or Saturdays after a workout, margaritas and chili verde burritos at El Patron, hiking in the Arroyo, sweaty workouts with my favorite workout squads, cheering on friends in Crossfit competitions, falling asleep on friends couches cause I’m having too much fun to go home, margaritas and laughing seizures at Mijares, coffee dates at Jameson brown or Seed Baking co, or Cafe de Leche, or Lavendar and Honey, wine nights with friends, weightlifting and two a days, beach days with my favorite crew, my beautiful little house, heavy Italian food shared with friends at a long table, driving my car with the sunroof open and worship music cranked up, and don’t even get me started on all the Crossfit. I know I’ll get back to all these things “next summer” but I don’t want to “go to boarding school” and leave these things behind. I live an amazing, full, jam packed, adventurous life! I didn’t take it granted before and I certainly don’t take it for granted now.
As I head into surgery in less than a week, I can’t help but look back on all I have been brought through and feel overwhelmingly grateful. I am so grateful for my God and His care through this dark journey. I’m finding a huge component of this journey has been all of you and the many prayers prayed on my behalf. I have felt the need to be strong and smile and stay mentally tough through all of this but you should know that does not make me exempt from experiencing the darkness. I am so grateful all of you have been willing to walk this road with me.
When I first got diagnosed I was on my phone for what felt like thirty six hours straight. It was important to me that people hear from me and know I was ok and had hope, because it’s scary. Cancer is so scary. I felt from the start that I would be ok. I chose to believe it. Of course the diagnosis kept getting more and more serious and my initial resolve of believe was threatened over and over. But I had this amazing support base in my friends and family and Crossfit family. They knew me and backed me and never wavered, never contradicted my belief that I would get through this, even when facts didn’t always support it. For that, my heart bursts with gratitude.
You might say “Amy, I didn’t do anything for you.” But you have. You’ve believed with me.
Every time you’ve treated me normally, encouraged me in a workout, prayed for me, smiled at me, wished me well, text me, written a note, or sent a package, you were doing something to my heart. Every high five, coffee, margarita, snack, burrito, and hug has been a really big deal to me. I know without these things I would have LOST it. Nothing breaks a person like loneliness and over and over that was the lie whispered to my heart. “You’re alone. No one understands what you’re going through.” But you have been such a gift to me and all those little things that meant nothing to you made it easy to discern lies from truth and say, “No matter how I feel, I am definitely not alone.”
He used all of you to tell me I am never alone and how much He loves me. All of you are a glimpse of the Lord’s goodness to me. Without it, let me assure you, I would have lost heart. I would have made lies and loneliness my armor in this battle and I would not be heading into this surgery smiling ready for a fight. (Some days I’m smiling more than others.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, faith is exhausting, and I don’t know why more people don’t tell you that! Believing that something is true when everything you can see, taste, touch, smell, hear and feel says the opposite is just hard work no matter how you look at it. For me, that has meant trusting that my friends don’t need to understand what I’m going through to be with me in it and that God only has good things for me with this cancer and is doing big things in the midst of it. One of my verses through this, well for the last couple of years if I’m being honest, is “I would have lost heart had I not believe that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for, hope for and expect the Lord. Be brave and of good courage. Let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, I say wait for, hope for and expect the Lord.” I have seen and will continue to see His goodness. I’ll continue to try and be brave and stout hearted in clinging to the character of my God. I will wait for Him to do what He wants in this. I chose to believe that even with stage IV cancer, He has nothing but good intentions for me, even in all the darkness surrounding that. I will expect and hope for that goodness to become my reality, for vapor to have substance and the invisible become visible. (Go ahead, tell me that in believing that, faith isn’t exhausting!)
Thank you for believing impossible things with me, holding me up and supporting me, and laughing with me through all of it (even when it’s offensive). Thank you for being a tool of God to tell me how loved, supported and cared for I am. To my people, you know who you are, I love you and appreciate you with an intensity you will never fully know. I feel braver already. I’ll probably re-read this a million times this week to remind myself of these truths when I’d rather cry and skip surgery all together.