From Amanda

I apologize for the delay in posting.  It seems that even if we have intentions of posting every week, it ends up getting away from us.  I can’t imagine why?!?!

The stress that comes with this new life feels overwhelming.  One day I’ll be motivated to do what I need to in the house, the next I don’t want to get off the couch.  The waves of depression and anxiety come rushing through my body and mind, leaving me to figure out how to keep moving forward and help support my family in the ways they need me to.  Because it is only fair that I do what I would tell others to do and attempt some sort of self care, I have started going to hot yoga.  That’s right, you read that correctly, HOT yoga…and I love it!  I am also starting individual therapy, Lance and I are going to couples counseling, and the kids will go to a play therapist.  The added appointments in our life were enough to keep me away from making these appointments for the past three months, but it is time.  We need help; we don’t know what we are doing.  Every scenario between my personal life, professional life, mom life, wife life are all new and unfamiliar.  It is humbling to say the least.  I officially don’t have my shit together.

I wanted to share about marriage and trauma/crisis, but first it’s important that some of you get to know me a bit before I start sharing what it’s like to be married to me these past three months.  Pre-cancer I was a very independent and opinionated woman. Pre-cancer I loved my career as a therapist, its part of who I am.  I was driven to do better for my clients, and continue to grow in my career.  I loved running Heritage Women, our women’s ministry at Heritage Church.  I would spend hours in meetings and conference calls, all while putting on awesome events for our women to know Jesus more.    All of this didn’t require much of Lance, and my emotional needs were fairly managable.  I needed his support and love and flexibility for these experiences, but generally I could get through much with asking little from him.

I think one of the biggest adjustments in our marriage since Davis was diagnosed is my need for Lance.  I am fragile and weak.  Lance has many times looked at me as if to say, “I have no clue what to do with weak Amanda”, I get it babe, I don’t even know what to do with weak Amanda.  Weak Amanda is unpredictable, emotionally dis-regulated, short fused, tired, disconnected, and sad daily.  I have never asked more of him in these past three months than our entire marriage combined.  It’s been hard.  I’m sure there have been requests that were unfair, unloving, and selfish at times and yet he shows up.  Even if he shows up angry or frustrated, he shows up.  That’s what I admire about him.  It takes a man with grit to be married to me.  I, myself, am tenacious and it takes a lot for me to let things go.  He stands with me and for me.  We don’t know what we’re doing.  It’s been ugly at times.  We have fought, cried, been disconnected, been each other’s verbal punching bags. And then sex……although not absent, it has seen some significant adjustments these past few months. When there is nowhere else to put our emotions we put them on one another.  I can officially say that I understand why so many relationships don’t make it through significant trauma.  It hasn’t been pretty. We love each other, profoundly and deeply. So much so that we will hurt each other the most.  It’s our most vulnerable relationships that we hurt the most and neglect the most.  All out of a deep fear of rejection or being unloved.  So due to all of this, we are going to counseling.  We are both eager to have a space that is a scheduled check-in with each other, and a support for our marriage.  We are committed to one another, and will do what it takes to get through this as best we can.

My heart has been broken regarding Davis’s side effect of neuropathy in his hands and feet from his weekly chemo Vincristine.  When this all started I wouldn’t have been able to predict the depth of loss and the continuation of loss throughout this process.  We have lost so much.  Our most recent loss we are all mourning is Davis having feeling in his feet and hands.  He can’t feel them.  He shuffles his feet and requires leg braces when we go out walking.  His hands are curled in and his fingers are limp.  He is still using them but is incredibly limited in strength and fine motor skills.  They are cutting his dosage in half to try and repair some of the damage his nerves have experienced.  It is expected to all return at the end of treatment.  Thank you Jesus!

Grief is ugly.  It knows no time limits, it’s waves come unpredictably, and it can be all consuming. Any time I consider his hands I cry.  I’m just not accepting of it.  I dream of storming in his doctors offices and screaming at them that he won’t be getting that chemo anymore.  I cry even now as I’m typing because I’m just so heart broken.  My baby can’t feel his hands and I could scream I’m so sad about it.  I want him to have a carefree play date, I want him to be able to run outside without fear he will trip and fall and land on his port. I so badly want him to be able to pick up legos again, and push hard enough to connect them.  And yet that isn’t his story.  So instead I will show up to his doctors appointments respectfully advocating for him.  Asking as many questions I can think of, and finding out all the options we have.  Instead, I will cherish the times he holds my face and his fingers are folded in and he caresses my cheeks with the outside of his knuckles.  All the while saying “I love you mommy.”  I will always remember the many times I’ve seen him climb things that in my mind I think, you aren’t going to be able to get to the top, and he proves me wrong.  He’s a fighter.  He is more determined to get to the top than to give into the limitations that his chemotherapy has given him.  This will get him so far in life.  He is my hero.

I know my describing myself as weak probably sparked in some of you an inward desire to fix that for me.  I’m sure some of you have an urge to text me and encourage me that I’m strong. I so appreciate all of your love and encouragement in this process.  There is no text, email, or voicemail that hasn’t gone unread or not listened to. I have no shame in saying I’m weak.  I am.  I am created by the Divine and living in the fallen.  My physical self is limited, but my God is limitless.  So whatever you perceive in me as strength know this…the strength is only coming from the Holy Spirit.  The times I’m able to do the laundry, go to appointments, smile, know it is only in Christ that I am able.  So I’m ok acknowledging my weakness.  I’m trying to become more comfortable with my weakness.  It is only then I can point and give Christ the Glory He has always deserved.

Kristen Adams