Cancer, Again?

whitesandshiking

(The following is a rewrite of my deleted post, When the doctor says you have cancer, that I wrote three days ago. I deleted it, because that post was a mess. And a little hysterical. πŸ˜‰ )

This past Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, I went to see my doctor and he told me the growths that have recently appeared on my forehead and neck are cancer. Either basal cell or squamous. He told me I need to have them removed in the hospital. My surgery is scheduled for December 6.

My feelings felt hurt. It just doesn’t seem fair for me to have cancer, AGAIN. I had a type of uterine cancer when I was 26 years old, which the pathology report said had most likely already spread to my endocrine system. But after much prayer and only minimal surgery, and no other treatment, I was cancer free. That was 39 years ago. I was even able to have another child a year and a half later, despite the surgeon saying that would never be possible because of my extensive scar tissue.

When I was in my early thirties, I had a large painful tumor in my gallbladder. The doctor said it was almost certainly cancer and that it needed to come out right away. I saw the surgeon on a Friday and he scheduled me for surgery the following Wednesday. Not wanting to have another surgery, I told the surgeon, an atheist, that I was going to pray and ask God to take the tumor away. The surgeon literally laughed in my face. “You can pray,” he said, “But I will see you in the hospital this Wednesday.”

Wednesday came and I checked myself into the hospital as instructed, even though the intense pain was gone and only a mild achey soreness remained. The pre-op nurse said the surgeon wanted her to do another ultrasound first thing, to see if the tumor had changed or grown since my previous ultrasound, which had been done five days before. I got up on the table, she ran the wand over my belly, and as she did, she looked puzzled. “This machine doesn’t seem to be working right,” she said. “Let’s try this other ultrasound machine.” So I walked across the room and climbed up on another table. After passing the second wand over my belly and taking several photographs, she printed out the pictures and said, “I will be right back.”

Moments later, I was summoned to the surgeon’s office. I found him sitting behind his desk, staring at two pictures that he held, one in each hand. “Look!” he said. “Do you see how big your gallbladder was last Friday? Do you see how this large, single mass completely filled up your enlarged gallbladder? Now, look at today’s picture. Not only is the mass completely gone — your gallbladder is many times smaller than it was just five days ago. Thin and elongated, back down to a normal shape and size.”

Then this atheist surgeon looked at me in amazement. “Maybe God really did heal you!” he said.

When I was in my forties, shortly after graduating from nursing school, I had all the yucky symptoms of colon cancer, which is one of several cancers that run in my family. Surgery removed a large precancerous polyp, which the pathology report said was adenomous benign. Many colonoscopies later, I remain free of colon polyps and free of colon cancer.

But now I have skin cancer and I’m scheduled for surgery in less than two weeks. This will be my fourth surgical procedure done under general anesthesia since May 2017. I really hate going under general anesthesia, because I have almost died from an anaphylactic shock reaction to an anesthesia drug, twice in the past. But even more than hating anesthesia, I hate the word cancer.

Why, God?

As I was driving home from seeing the surgeon last Tuesday, right after being told that my suspicion was correct, that these new growths are cancer, I prayed and asked God WHY? Then these words from a song that we sang in church last Sunday, came to my mind:

Your mercies are new
Over and over
Your mercies are new
Over and over
As surely as the morning comes
You’re faithful!

Yes, Lord. Your will be done. My life belongs to You. Thank You that I have an excellent surgeon whom I trust. Thank You for a good hospital and a great surgical team that has always taken the best care of me. Thank You for my excellent health insurance. Thank You for my loving husband and my caring and dependable stepdaughter; I know they will see me through as I heal from this surgery, as they have done before. And thank You that my Google search revealed that basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers almost never metastasize and kill a person. Thank You for miraculously healing me of various kinds of cancer and precancer in the past! Most of all, God, I thank You for Your great love and mercy, and for Your amazing grace that has saved my soul, through the cross of Jesus Christ, my Savior and my Lord. Amen!

Your mercies are new
Over and over…..

~Thank you to my readers for stopping by. And an extra special big hearty Thank You to my long time blogger friend, Phoebe Sparrow Wagner, the author of WagBlog (https://pamelaspirowagner.com) whose great knowledge about skin cancers alleviated my fear of googling basal and squamous cell carcinomas.

((HUGS)) and Love and Happy Merry Christmas Holidays!

When We Grow Up in Chaos, We Often Choose Chaotic Relationships as Adults

Rat_diabetic

I just read another terrific post written by Cynthia Bailey Rug on the topic of chaos.* Specifically, she states that those of us who grow up in chaotic environments, have a strong tendency to get into similar chaotic relationships as an adult. This is true, she says, until we have found a way to heal from our childhood wounds.

I believe it was Freud who first called this type of behavior “repetition compulsion.” His theory was that we gravitate toward unhealthy relationships that are similar to the unhealthy childhood home we grew up in, because we are unconsciously trying to resolve, or fix, whatever was broken in our childhood.

But I disagree with Freud. I believe the driving force behind this frustrating and self-defeating behavior is simply what Cynthia says in her post: as adults, we gravitate toward what we are accustomed to. When a relationship mirrors the way we grew up, it feels familiar. It feels like home. Even when home was a terrifying and dangerous place to be.

A study I read about that was done with rats appears to bear this theory out.** In this study, half of the rats were born and raised in the perfect rat environment. These rats had plenty of food, plenty of water, comfort, and safety. Whatever makes a rat healthy, happy and secure, these rats had it. But the comparison group of rats were raised in chaos, in an environment where there was never enough food, no safety, and no security. Whatever makes a rat miserable, short of outright killing them, that was what they got.

After the rats were grown, they were moved to an entirely different place. Here, they were given the choice of which environment they wanted to live in. In this new place, there was an easily accessible area that was, once again, rat perfect. There was also another area that mimicked the miserable, uncomfortable, and dangerous environment.

Being unrestricted and free to choose between the two, you would expect that all of the rats would run to rat paradise, wouldn’t you? Surely no rat in his (or her) right mind would voluntarily choose to live in rat hell!

But this is what happened, according to what I remember reading about the study: the rats that were raised in the perfect environment, chose to live in the new rat paradise. But the rats that grew up miserable and uncomfortable — always either too hot or too cold, starved, subjected to very bright lights and extremely loud noises — those rats chose to live in the new chaotic, miserable, dangerous environment. Even when rat paradise was right around the corner and easily accessible.

I believe this explains pretty much everything about my previous rat-like existence, lol. Until I finally got help for my PTSD, I went from one bad relationship with an unloving abusive narcissist, to another and another. Like my daughter told me when I was going through my last divorce in the year 2000: “Mom, I know there are always more fish in the sea. But you are fishing in a toxic pond!”

It hurt a little to hear that, but she was exactly right. Today I thank God that I am finally free of relationship toxicity, and have been for almost 15 years.

*This post was inspired by another great article by Cynthia Bailey Rug, titled “Comfort in Chaos”. Please check it out:
https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2018/11/20/comfort-in-chaos/

Thank you for stopping by. Happy Turkey Day tomorrow! Please say a little prayer for me if you will. I saw a surgeon yesterday and he told me that my suspicion was correct, I have skin cancer. My surgery is scheduled for December 6. I just got back from having a pre-op ecg and bloodwork done. This will be my fourth surgery under general anesthesia since May of last year. I told the surgeon that we have to stop meeting like this!

God bless. Here’s a big grandma ((HUG)) if you want one.

**Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I read about this fascinating rat study. I tried googling it, but haven’t had any luck so far. If anyone reading this knows what study I am talking about, please tell me in a comment! Otherwise, if or when I find some information on this study, I will come back here and post a link.