What Has Been Given

Lately life has seemed like just a chaos of holding on to hope and making it through each day. I realize there are many of us out there who feel this way, no matter what the cause may be. We have been learning the new normal of treatment, response, recovery and then chemo again, and life feels like a it has gotten into a rut.

At the end of the day my exhaustion and pain often overwhelm, and it is rare for me to find time to write anymore. I hate this feeling. My words seem stolen from me, and the catharsis they once were is gone. It is one more thing the struggle of life has taken from me, and I ache with the longing for words to come.

But I am writing now… full of gratefulness for a clear brain MRI and yet shuddering at some disappointing news with my heart and a new chemo we must now try.


I was sent this past week for an MRI of my brain to make sure there is no spread there. My neurologist ordered this for me to see if they could find a source for my continued headaches. Thankfully it was clear, but what this means is we don’t know why I’m still having so much pain, although they are leaning towards it being chemo side effect related .

On Tuesday I had a routine echocardiogram to monitor how my heart is doing through this process. This last one showed heart damage, so I am going to have to be pulled off the current chemo. I may experience some shortness of breath and trouble with weakness, but I haven’t so far. And the good news is that this can reverse itself over time, so we are hopeful.

In the meantime, my oncologist is ordering a PET scan to see where we are with things and to set a baseline for the new chemo (if insurance will approve). I will start my new chemo in a couple weeks and we will adjust to another “new normal” for us. Although I’m learning there really is no normal in our home.

Every day is different.

I fatigue easily, and I find chemo brain to still be extremely frustrating. There are so many things I know I should know, but my brain just. won’t. work. My head aches constantly and for the first two weeks after treatment I ache like I have the flu as well as deal with nausea. Then things start to rebound and I am able to function somewhat well… until another treatment. We’ll see what this new one holds.

This up and down has been really hard on the children and last night I held my Bella-girl for well over 20 minutes while she cried and cried. “It’s all so scary,” she said, “Never knowing how you will feel. And I am just so afraid my mommy is going to die.” Oh my heart, y’all. This hurts it far worse than chemo.

Thankfully, my Bri stepped in to help comfort and calm and the protection he offered in his arms and words to her were life-giving to all of us.

As our friend, Joe, tells me, “He’s a good man, Ang.” Yes. Yes he is. I’m so thankful he’s mine.

We are learning that the new normal that we keep waiting for will probably never come, and we are learning to be okay with that. Normal will change for us on a consistent basis, and as hard as that might be for someone who doesn’t do well with change, I’m learning to accept it.

Learning to accept.

Thankful for what’s given and choosing to move forward.

There’s a scene in the movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where King Caspian has reached the edge of Aslan’s Country and is given the chance to enter. He has longed to be with his father again, and now is his opportunity. He reaches out and touches the wall of water then turns back to his friends, to Aslan, to his life. When asked why he didn’t enter, he responds with something along the lines of, “I’ve spent too long focusing on what was taken from me and not enough on what was given.”

Grieving is a hard place to be. It will always be a part of me, a part of this, of us. But I am taking steps forward… away from grief and tasting grace.

It is a struggle. Daily I see and feel the effects of so many surgeries and cancers and lupus and fatigue and pain and scars and the inability to be and do what I have been and done for years. There is all the time my family and I have lost together and the moments we haven’t had were our life a “normal” one. I struggle with all the sacrifices my husband and children have made for me. It is a hard place to be. But I don’t want to be stuck here either.

There is a place to grieve all of this, I know, and there will be moments when it all hits like a tsunami and takes my breath away. This past week was one of many, many tears.

But, oh y’all, look how much I have been given!

There will be so many moments where God’s grace will steal my breath away… so many moments where He already has.

His grace fills me.

Look. how. much. I. have!

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Yes. So much has been taken.

But look what has been given.

I could not ask for more.

It is the nature of grace to fill the spaces that have been empty…

~ Goethe

4 responses to “What Has Been Given”

  1. MY Dear Angle I Pray for you and your family everyday I pray to our Father God he will help our DRs that we will find a way to get rid of this cancer that’s hurting you and so many others .I pray Father you wrap your arms around this beautiful family and watch over then amen. WE LOVE YOU


  2. Hi dear one.

    My heart aches for you! Love you, Ang!


  3. maretta f heatwole Avatar
    maretta f heatwole

    Words fail me, my friend, only cries to the Father. Grief for what has been taken, but thankfulness and awe at His work in you. You are a beautiful treasure.


  4. Loving you this morning in prayer. Hold on, dear one. Abba holds you.


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