9 Years ago, today.

Hey Friends, you may have noticed that I have been kinda radio silent. Or if you haven’t seen, let me admit I have been radio silent, hiding behind my poetry because the world is loud and I didn’t want to add to the noise. But today is a day I can’t ignore.

9 years ago today, my life changed, and there are still moments that I rebuke the new normal.

9 years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer.

I remember walking into the doctor’s office with my mom and husband in tow. We were hoping and praying against all the odds that it was something else. I sat in the plush chair and saw my doctor walk by the open layout lobby. He walked by and gave me a thumbs-up, and my hope soared.

However, the thumbs-up was for the lesser of all the evils. We walked in with losing odds. I had cancer. Hodgkins Lymphoma. My doctor assured me that we caught it early, but no 25-year-old plans on cancer.

We celebrated our first anniversary a week later. Suddenly we went from being blissfully newlyweds striving to just make ends meet to fighting off deadly disease. Jman had to switch from a loving husband to a care provider, and I was a full-time patient.

I took medical leave from work, had more tests and procedures, told my church, and moved forward with the most straightforward but most challenging fight that I’ve ever done. Surviving.

I felt like my life became a lifetime movie. My husband shouldered working, finding care providers, making sure bills got paid, helping me get to all my appointments, and made sure I drank enough water and a litany of other things. God knew I needed Jman as my husband.

Any plans we made were gone, we lived moment to moment, and as freeing it is, a lot of those moments had fear, tiredness, anger, and sadness for what was lost.

I did end up beating cancer. But the new normal was so different than the old normal. Rubbing alcohol turned my stomach now, jolly ranchers candies were no longer a candy I liked. Haircuts and other such things brought on anxiety. Anxiety and panic attacks became normal. Claustrophobia is a thing I deal with now. We moved from our one-bedroom apartment to living with our family. Jman shifted jobs, and I went back to work. Life was just about surviving.

Through all the struggles Jman and I agreed not to dwell on the whys.

We had people around the world praying for us. And I believe that it’s a miracle that I am here.

However, September comes along, and I feel the familiar blahs. I beat cancer in the summer of 2012, but all the treatments started in September. Life continued, and there are still things we mourn. We mourn the year we lost of being newlyweds. We mourn that we grew up so fast. I mourn the friends that I walked away from because I was tired and didn’t want someone to fix me. I mourn the relationships that came into the crossfire and now seem broken.

There are also things that I am grateful for.
We took a honeymoon, even when advised against it. If we hadn’t taken our honeymoon, we probably never took one.

Vacations and family are more important now.
My faith is not reliant on treating God like a Santa Claus.

I have a cancer card, but I don’t want to use it.

I am a cancer survivor. Like every other cancer survivor in the world, I part of the elite brotherhood and sisterhood. Its the conversation pausers at the dinner table, where we all pause and reflect on who is still here. I’ve had it happen twice.

After I beat cancer, I knew 10 people going through cancer as well, and I got to be an encourager to them.

I have a voice and story ordained by God.

We often say, Jman and I, God must have big plans for us because he knows we can handle anything.

I am healthy and courageous, but after everything else, I am still me. I still ship couples, still love Disney, collect things, still write, still am a Child of God, I am still scared of needles, and alligators, and aliens, I still love cooking, photography and still love chocolate and reading books. I am still Danie.

I am a Survivor.

Psalm 143:10

10 Teach me to do your will,

    for you are my God.

May your gracious Spirit lead me forward

    on a firm footing.

TTFN and God Bless and Keep You:)

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