“I can honestly say cancer is one of the loneliest roads I’ve ever taken. Right down to the moment when I found out that my cancer jumped from Stage 1 to Stage 4 in a matter of weeks. I went in for my 3 months scans and at the Radiologist, the first thing he asks is, ‘Has your lower back been bothering you?’ I know what that means… Something is wrong. I was alone at that appointment because my husband was stuck in a blizzard on the freeway trying to get there. I was alone when I found out that my cancer had spread to my left hip bone, left femur bone and left lung.
As family and friends started finding out the news, at times, I was constantly surrounded – but I’ve never been so heart-breakingly lonely as I have been with cancer. There are so many emotions that go into cancer. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, 20-something bachelor, professional athlete, daughter, son… The emotions are the same, the loneliness is the same. Mostly because it takes months, hell, even years to get through one emotion that comes along with cancer.
Now you might be reading thinking, ‘Oh man, is she okay?’ Honestly sometimes I am and sometimes I’m really not. There are days where my emotions get out of control and I think, ‘Will my kids be without a mom in the next 5 years? Will my husband be on his own? I’m not ready to go! I want to be here!’ But then after that, there are other times where you have clarity and perspective (after a good 30-minute cry) which is why I’m writing this down now.
Getting a diagnosis is awful and it shatters so many dreams, but hindsight is everything. I was heartbroken when I found out I had cancer but finding out my cancer had spread, putting me in the Stage 4 category… It’s hard to describe that to anyone. There really aren’t a lot of words. You feel like the curtains are closing and this is it.
Finding out you have to do chemo is so terrifying and one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever had to undertake. Chemotherapy is quite the battlefield to walk through. Life after chemo or treatment is a whole other world to navigate. I can’t tell you just how lonely it really is. And lonely is the only way to describe it because… You feel SO betrayed by your body, by your faith and even beliefs at times. I’ve never been so angry at my body, and my Heavenly Father, as I have when I found out my cancer was Stage 4 and I’m only 33 years old.
Cancer comes with about 1,000 different emotions to very slowly figure out. Sometimes you’re automatically put in a different category with friends because of the broken way they look at you. Most of the time you hear, ‘I didn’t think you’d want to do that because… Well… You have cancer.’
Now I’m not sending out an SOS! At all I’m not, I JUST KNOW OTHERS HAVE FELT THIS. I’ve craved my old ‘normal’ life so much. I have spent hours crying in bed for the life that I had before all this. The only way to describe it is you feel so homesick when you look at pictures from even a year ago. I’ve honestly grieved for my life 3 years ago! When I go to my kid’s practices or school and I see friends, how their lives have continued, at times it’s hard for me not to feel some anger towards that.
Now here is the BIGGEST POINT I’M GETTING ACROSS…
I KNOW THAT CANCER IS NOT THE ONLY LONELY ROAD TO WALK…
I know firsthand that anxiety, depression, chronic diseases, abuse, being bullied, hormonal imbalances, not being able to have children, miscarriages, death of a parent/child/friend/sibling, ugly divorces and other diagnoses that aren’t cancer but are just as painful and hard ARE SO VERY LONELY and so, so heart breaking. I know firsthand how you can smile on the outside but have your world on a landslide on the inside and no one ever would ever guess.
I also know firsthand the grace that there is in prayer… Yes, there might be a time where you lose a lot of faith and maybe all your faith in whatever higher power you believe in. You might have all the doubt in the world with the words that you’ve been taught your whole life. It might be years without uttering a word in prayer, but I know that prayers will be answered – and I also know that EVERYTHING happens in its own time and for its own reasons.
Your life is SO important in the scheme of things! You are here for a reason and one thing I know for sure is that the pain and trials you have in this life ARE NEVER WASTED. We might think, ‘WHY?’ and curse the heavens. There is nothing wrong with that! There is nothing wrong with feeling those emotions. What is wrong is when you choose to stay in that place and not move forward in life.
So, if you have a family member, friend or find out about a neighbor who has a recent diagnosis (OR THEIR SPOUSE) of any kind and they start acting a little distant, acting like they might not normally act when all was well in their life… Especially this time of year!
Please, just show patience, kindness and love.
And always ask, ‘ARE YOU OKAY?’ (because you might be the only one to ask) and they might say they’re fine and shrug. That’s your que to look them in the eye and say, ‘I think you’re doing great.’”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Goldie Merrell of Boise, Idaho. You can follow her on her YouTube page. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read Goldie’s powerful backstory of discovering her cancer:
‘7 months pregnant, I noticed a bump on my leg. I thought it was just me being ‘fat.’ I could kick myself now.’: Mom diagnosed with Stage 4 Sacroma, claims ‘cancer has been my greatest blessing’
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