Hey, Heather here and here I go. My turn to give this a try.
That word lingers. It stings. It’s not one you say out loud or tell the people you love because you don’t want them to worry or feel awkward or not know what to say or, worst of all, just stop talking to you altogether.
I had an understanding that conventional medicine calls Mike’s cancer terminal. I knew it from the second he told me it was cancer on his liver too. I never said it out loud to him for a few reasons. One, I refused to (and still refuse to) accept it as his truth. Two, Mike by nature is a negative nelly. I love him, he’s my favorite husband ever, but he just tends to hang out on the glass half empty side of life.
I didn’t want to go there with him, with us, with our kids. I didn’t want to speak the negativity of the word TERMINAL into existence.
I’ll never forget the moment he realized stage 4 cancer is “terminal” . I knew what he wanted to say, but I really hoped he wouldn’t say it. He did. It didn’t make it anymore real than it already was, but it made my heart ache in a way I never knew existed.
I told him stop saying it out loud. Don’t dwell on it. Don’t make it his reality. That was that. Really. We never went there again. Even when the Dr said “you’l be on iv chemo for the rest of your life.” We never went there again.
Here’s my beef with “terminal” . It sounds like you’re dying. I suppose that’s because you are. When you are terminal you are going to die. Harsh truth? Maybe. But guess what, you’re terminal too.
Yep, you reading this right now. You’re terminal. And those drs. who told us Mike was terminal. They’re terminal too.
Mike had a diagnosis some of us may not have yet, and prayerfully never will. He had someone telling him exactly why he is terminal right now, but we are all terminal. We will all die.
Pleasant, isn’t it?
Here’s how I have decided to choose to find more hope than harm in “terminal” .
It can make you REALLY live if you choose to. It can make you stop worrying about who will judge your decisions, because who are they to judge a terminal person? It can make you decide that if your gut tells you to do something, you best do it! It can make you also realize that doing things that harm you mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally is a REALLY big waste of your precious time. You know, because you’re terminal and you, my friend, have a LOT of work to do with no time to waste.
Mike and I are still in the beginning phases of so much of this life change. We don’t always love each other the way we should. We bicker because we’ve been together basically 24/7 since March. As my Grandma says, “I need to miss you!” We don’t always have the patience with our sweet babies that we should because, frankly, some days we’re too overcome with worry about how we’re going to do this. Will we have to sell our home? Minimize everything in our life? Uproot all our kids have ever known? Do all we can to have the resources to get Mike the alternative treatments he needs in order to have a whole and healthy body again? We are young, and still figuring out so much in life, and we just weren’t ready for all of this.
We weren’t ready to be terminal.
But who is? Are you?
Have you loved enough? Stopped passing judgement? Stopped finding flaws in others? Stopped making selfish choices? Stopped making mountains out of darn mole hills??
I haven’t . I’m not prepared to be terminal. But I’m working on it. Everyday more than the last. I want to make each day more than the day before but saying that is easier than doing it. (which tends to hold true for most things, doesn’t it?)
So, terminal. Let’s do it. Let’s call ourselves terminal. With Mike’s terminal diagnosis we have decided to step back, look at his WHOLE ailing body, and repair it one step at a time to full and functioning health. He’ll still be terminal, but his days aren’t numbered by anyone but God and his job here on Earth is to treat his body as a temple and be strong and humble enough to make this world a better place to be. I’m terminal too. My days are numbered only by God in just the same way and it is my job to treat my body as a temple in order to be healthy and strong and impact this world in great ways as well! Milo and Eloise will grow to know and do this too. (P.S. The more you hear from me, the more you’ll feel my passion for not putting toxins into our bodies. That is your warning:)) Cancer has changed our lives. Some days I get consumed in the sadness of what we’re going through, and if you catch me on one of those days I sincerely apologize for the things I may say and ask you to kindly ignore but still love me. But that’s just it, life has changed. It will never be what it was last February. That’s just going to have to be ok.
I don’t always feel strong. I don’t always feel positive. I don’t feel like I know too much of anything at all except that I KNOW Mike’s body can be whole again. I am not afraid. You can’t be afraid and conquer. Speak it out. Find your peace. LIVE! Be humble and forgive yourself on days you have a harder time finding your strength. Be greater than. God is greater than. For that I am so grateful.