Friday, March 19, 2010

One Year Ago

On this day last year I got the MRI results that confirmed my brain tumor. It seems like a long time ago.
I remember when the doctor first told me she thought something was wrong. She didn't know what it was but she confirmed my feelings that something wasn't right. I was given order after order for an executive panel of procedures and tests. I arrived at Quest Diagnostics for the first of my tests. I was ushered back to the lab room. I saw the needles. Somewhat longer and thicker than ones used for normal tests. As the nurse rubbed iodine on my arm I asked, "Will it hurt?" She wasn't truthful and told me no.
Looking back I have thought if before I came to Earth if I asked Heavenly Father, "Will it hurt?" He would have said, "Yes, it will hurt."
I have learned that life hurts. Sometimes something happens. And your heart breaks. Something happens that threatens all sense of logic or hope or certainty... sometimes- even faith. You don't feel like a whole person. Something happens and no matter how you emerge, nothing will ever be the same. Your life is changed forever not only by the pain but by facing your need to heal. Healing hurts. Healing beings only when we face the hurt in its full force and then grow through it with all the strength of our soul.
I need to be healed. I am learning that you cannot simply take a day off and return healed. Although I wish I could. Healing is a 5-step process. Maybe more. I'm up to 5 so far.
The first thing I have learned is healing is active.
I have to participate. Ken, my mom, my friends cannot do it for me. You have to face the problem. And the pain. To begin healing you must acknowledge and feel the hurt. You must realize that Heavenly Father is going to help you. That was my first hurtle. I have always had an intense faith in God. Never shaken. I knew God still did miracles. I had seen it happen to other people hundred of times. But had it ever happened to me? Why would God help me?
I found a scripture in Mark.
Mark 9:24- "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
I went to God in tears with the same plea. Help thou mine unbelief. Please. The world was silent. I waited for God to help me. And, in time, He did. Once God confirmed that He would help me I was ready to be cured. I prayed for God to cure me. I asked for a blessing so God would cure me. But the blessing I received said nothing about being restored to perfect health. I was blessed with a knowledge that God loved me and was aware of me and was well pleased. I was blessed with patience to deal with the doctors I would see. I was blessed to stay strong and to be able to endure what lied ahead. I was blessed to rely on my husband. The blessing did not even allude to being cured or healed. Curing and healing are not synonymous.
Cure is medical. Clean, scientific, relatively quick.
Healing may involve a lifelong process of recovery and growth. In spite of- or perhaps because of- enduring physical or emotional pain. It requires time. I prayed for a cure when I really need healing. Whether for cell reconstruction, for emotional recovery, or for spiritual forgiveness, we all need healing. And it takes time and energy.
The second thing I have found is healing is private.
The hymn, "Lord, I would Follow Thee" describes "hidden sorrow" in a "quiet heart."
When I was diagnosed- I didn't want to tell anyone. I didn't want help. I didn't want sympathy. It was a terrible blow. I was so afraid. Afraid of what was going to happen. Afraid of how people would react. Afraid of how my life was going to progress. Or not progress. I couldn't even say the words. The small words brought fear into my life I had never experienced before. I spent a lot of time with hidden sorrow in my quiet heart.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught:
There is, in the suffering of the highest order, a point that is reached- a point of aloneness- when the individual must bear it... alone. Even the faithful may wonder if they can take it any more or if they are in some way forsaken.
I first had to face the pain alone. I had to face the hurt alone. I had to face the truth... alone. It was absolutely necessary to do so. I would look in my mirror at home and tell myself my diagnosis and all the facts I knew about it. I wrote it down. I repeated it in my head like a mantra. I kept it inside of me and I faced the pain. It was weeks before I could talk about it. Once I could I felt ready to venture out. I wanted to tell someone. I felt a need to share my hurt. But I didn't know how and I was still too afraid. Hurt is personal. So personal the thought of sharing it literally paralyzed me with fear. I came across my next stepping stone scripture in John.
John 14:27
Peace I leave you, me peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
My heart swam with confidence. Confidence in God and in myself. I was healing again. Instantly. I was healing again. Healing happens quietly, while you face the pain. It happens over time as you live, work, study, and accept from others. I do not think private healing can happen without the help of others.
This was the third thing I learned.
Once Heavenly Father calmed my troubled heart I opened it to those around me. The outpouring of hope and love was beyond my belief. It was sincere. People honestly cared and possessed the faith I needed to see to carry on. Help came through phone calls, notes, e-mails, blog comments, messages on Facebook, photos, visits, packages, gifts, and my favorite--- treats! I needed people. Friends. To help me heal.
When we have a terrible loss... Or pain. We try to get back to normal. Back to the way things were before. But they will never be the same. Pain changes us.
But, Healing changes us. The fourth thing I leaned is Healing changes us. Healing can help us become more sensitive and awake to life. Healing inspires repentance and obedience. Healing invites gifts of humility and faith. It opens our hearts to profound complexities of truth, beauty, divinity, and grace.
Orson Whitney said:
No pain that we suffer is wasted. It ministers to our educations, to the development of patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All the suffer..., especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable.
When you feel pain or hurt or loss, and you make it past the initial shock or fear. You see your life in a new way. I saw my life in a new way. My life is a gift not a burden. Not a trial. I am in charge of my life. I call all the shots in my life. Am I calling the right ones?
Then, change that.
Become new, and fresh, and lovely again.
The fifth thing I have learned is I'm not the only one hurting right now. Someone is hurting. Someone is afraid. Someone is disappointed. Someone feels inadequate. Someone needs a friend. Someone needs to be noticed. Someone needs healed. Sometimes I think that "someone" is only me. But it's not. I can help that someone heal. I can give encouragement and hope and love to that someone just like people are giving it to me. It is necessary for me to help others in order to heal myself.
When Jesus was on this earth his mission was devoted to healing. When He called the twelve apostles, He specifically gave them the power to heal and told them to use their gifts freely. Use the gift to heal freely.
It doesn't always feel that way though, does it?
Now, after a year of medical treatment I wasn't cured like the doctors though I would be. I'm not healed either. Maybe the curing and the healing are going at the same pace. It's hard. Sometimes I feel like I just got the news for the first time. But I'm working on it. Every day. I am working on it. I know that Heavenly Father is going to heal me.
I know because of this scripture:
2 Kings 20:5
"... I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee."
I will be healed.
I know God lives and I know He will heal me.


Natalie said...

Patty that is so beautiful, you have such a way with words. You are able to express yourself is such a beautiful way. I admire you so much for how strong of a person you are, you are truely an inspiration yo me, I love you very much and hope that you find true happiness and are healed both physically and emotionaly, I know it's a long process, I think it's an eternal process, but you are a strong person, and I really look up to you, thank you for that wonderful post!

Karlenn said...

Beautiful post, Pats. Your book, in embryo. I can't believe it's been a year. I think about your tumor all the time - how I wish it would have shrunk more, or, better, disappeared. How it will be there when you're done with this pregnancy. How it is, plain and simple, a total miracle that you got pregnant. How maybe it will go away, once and for all, when you can resume that terrible pill regimen again. You have been so strong, Pats. You have coped so beautifully. I pray for you all the time. I love the list of things learned. I'm glad you learned to open up to others to help you heal - maybe that's why I'm such an oversharer when I go through things. I just need that outpouring of love from others. I love that you learned that someone is hurting, all the time. That is something I never really understood until a few years ago. I thought it was just me. :) You are the best. I'm excited for tax season to end so I can have my favorite friend back again.

Brett and Tiffany said...

THanks for the wonderful post! i couldn't go to church this morning because our little boy is sick and Brett had to speak in another I read your blog! Better than going to Sacrament Meeting! It was WONDERFUL...with great scriptures! It is amazing how when we are going through hard times to realize others may be too! You are so strong and such an example to me! I love the things you have learned and thanks for sharing them! Just what I needed this morning! Hope you can come for nachos next week! Give me a call!

Jorgensen Family Blog said...

Patty thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. It was a beatiful post. I hope you don't mind if I give my sister and her husband your blog address so they can read it. My brother in law has a maligant brain tumor and is having surgery this thrusday. I would like them to read your blog.
Love you Colette