Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day 11: 10/18/2014: Don't Play the gambling game

I hate surgery. I hate coming off the anesthetic. I am one of those people that gets sick off of anesthesia, and once it starts, it is really hard to stop. My whole body aches as though they dropped me off the operating room table. My neck and back spasm from shielding my incision site.  And I absolutely loath not being able to do anything. I don't sit still well at all. It makes me a grumpy patient. 

But it gives me lots of time to think and write. And it gives me the time to think through some of my private guilt over the cancer. 

You see, with my previous history of chronic disease (asthma, hearing loss, auto-immune disease, etc) I thought I had paid my Heath care dues. I thought that the burden of illness on my body had been paid in full for a lifetime. I have this human weakness that each of us have our list of tragedies and they all balance out in the end. You see, in my mind, I have played the percentage game and statistics game and assumed that the likelihood that I would get cancer or some other additional disease was very small. In the statistics game, I'm an outlier, an aberration, someone where the numbers just don't add up. From the numbers game, I really shouldn't have cancer. 

And this made me a little cocky about my health. Sure, I continue to balance the management of my chronic disease with a healthy lifestyle, but I had in my mind that this was my trial. I had paid my dues, survived and become stronger and more deeply involved in my faith as a result.  God had worked his will through me and I was good. 

I could look at a group of people and think that it would be someone else that would meet the statistic and not me. This makes me feel shameful because it is a terrible way to think but it was my weird, twisted way of dealing with an ongoing chronic illness. Someone else would have to pay the disease check because I had already paid my portion. What a stupid way to think on my part. 

The truth of the matter is that the body is weird. It does weird things without reason. Different people react to different pathogens and viruses and bacteria. Sometimes the body's response is illogical. Sometimes it just does make sense or fit
the statistics. Bad things sometimes happen to good people without reason. 

I've had to work through the realization that this did not happen to me because I am a bad person. (And just so you know, almost every cancer patient has had this thought even if fleeting--what did we do wrong to have this happen to is?). This did not happen because I have been unhealthy (if anything, the life I live has allowed me to live with this cancer for awhile and not have side-effects or symptoms).

This happened because sometimes crap just happens. There isn't a checklist of who gets what. We are all given talents and burdens commensurate with what we can handle with God's grace. In this time of my life, God is holding this together for me more than anything I've done for myself. 

It has also taught me that gambling with statistics is just a stupid way to approach the thoughts about my health and it set me up for such great disappointment. Sometimes, things just happen. And in my case, I am young (relatively), healthy and strong, and I have an amazing family worth living for. This isn't he end of the world for me. I really don't believe that God's work for me is done in this world and I am working very hard on trusting that God has a reason for all of this, even if I don't understand myself.