You know those feelings you get when you wake up from a nightmare?
The sweaty forehead- racing heart- and nauseating sensation that flood your body as you mentally try to grasp if the dream is real or not.
That's where I am right now.
The only difference is that the nightmare I am trying to wrap my mind around isn't a nightmare. It's a reality of the new normal.
This past week, I was crushed to watch yet another beautiful soul be taken from this world far to early. His name was Jordan and he was four years old.
(Jordy and Ben tearing it up through the halls on P4)
Don't get me wrong, I don't mean "four" as in the stereotypical four year old who doesn't grasp much of the real world around him. Jordy was a contagious, joyful, loving, vibrant kid that illuminated life to anyone around him. From the day we met, I never once saw him slow down. No cancer, no chemotherapy, no IV poles, no "Slow Down, Jordy" ever derailed that guy from making the best out of his circumstances.
During Jordy's short time on earth, it amazes me how much he impacted all those around him. He stole my heart and the hearts of all that knew him. He will forever be loved and missed, and I cannot wait until the day when we are re-united in Heaven.
Losing friends to cancer is the most painful part of my nightmare.
I went from a normal person who rarely ever attended a funeral for anyone under the age of 60- to a cancer fighter who regularly watches children and friends lose their lives to cancer.
You see: chemotherapy is horrible, radiation burns, transplant is terrifying, and cancer hurts- but losing your closest friends over and over again is far more painful than a year of destroying my body.
Sure my lungs are scarred and my body is worn, but my heart is what has taken the hardest beating.
Through this nightmare I've learned that what you always see on the outside isn't always true. On the surface I can smile, grow some hair, and fit in- the exterior is easy to fake. One can look amazing, but on the inside they can be breaking.
Physical pain is temporary. Hairlessness is temporary. Cancer treatment is temporary.
Losing those you love . . . is lifelong.
I've also learned that though life can get tough, there is always room to extend love and kindness to those around you. Many times we are completely oblivious to those hurting, because our life is to busy and "difficult". We have no idea of how greatly we could impact others just by caring.
This nightmare has taught me to cherish every moment in life. In one scan, cancer uprooted everything I ever knew and permanently exiled me from normal. Though I have finished treatment, I now get to wait for five years to "see if it worked". All it takes is one of my scans to show relapse and cancer gets to re-uproot my family. Don't waste your time crying over politics, chasing Pokemon, or freaking out about how much money you have to make.
Invest your time in those you love most. Time is the most valuable investment you can make.
Lastly, I know that nightmares do come to an end. You do wake up and realize that it was all a horrific dream. For myself, I will never leave this nightmare. There is no five year membership here, you're part of the club for life.
My hope doesn't lie in how this life unravels. My hope doesn't lie in whether my cancer will be cured by all of my treatment. My hope lies in the fact that God has reserved a place for me in Heaven. A place where there is no more cancer, no more pain, and no more heartbreak.
My nightmare will end in the glories of Heaven- right next to Jordy, SarahKait, and so many other friends!