Frustration creeps inside of me every time I think I’ve wasted a time.
The other day it did, again. It didn’t help that I wasn’t able to help Papa with the laundry. I heard him from my room complaining about how tired he was and instead of helping him out, I was just stuck with the pre-occupation of my mind. I guess that’s what thinking about cancer does to a person- it paralyzes.
I wanted that day to be very productive- like how I wanted each day to turn out. If there is one thing I miss with my life before cancer, it’s the sense of being productive. But instead, I spent most of my time thinking- just sitting, lying, and thinking. I felt it was such a total waste of time. I can’t even remember what exactly I was thinking. But I was thinking about something.
I “zoned out” after reading the last chapter of this book that I have been with for months now- When God and Cancer Meet by Lynn Eib.
Janine, a very close friend of mine, found this book while we were in Booksale SM City Cebu. I wanted to buy good books for me to read when she handed me the book saying she really would have wanted to give it to me as a gift, but couldn’t since she didn’t had extra money then.
I told her no problem and I totally understand. We were both unemployed- she was preparing for her VISA screening, while I was dealing with cancer. Deep inside, I considered it her ‘gift’ to me. She was the one who found it in the first place.
There’s this thought that have been tapping me since I was diagnosed- Should I call cancer a blessing?
It was hard for me to call it a gift when I started this battle. Like I said, I feel like I would hurt many people and families impacted by it if I do. I can’t simply say “Cancer is a gift”. I find it so hard to put those words together. Cancer has taken so much from me and has given me many things I do not need and want.
But just when I was starting to read the closing paragraph of this book, I met the words: “God can make blessing come from cancer when God and cancer meet,…”
I stopped right there. It felt like it is the answer to my greatest cancer question of all time. It hit me so hard I had to recompose myself before going on. I have been delaying myself to reading this last chapter as I intended to linger a little longer with this book not really realizing what lies beneath it.
Would calling cancer a gift help me in my healing?
Healing, like with other cancer survivors, didn’t come as easily as it looked like for me. I may have entered remission and I may have finished my weekly chemo, but I wasn’t completely healed, yet. I discovered that physical healing is the easiest to achieve, rather than the emotional and spiritual. And I am taking my time.
After I finished my weekly chemo, I found myself flooded with emotions- emotions that I have been keeping at bay for many months since diagnosis. Some are even emotions that I have been longing to feel again, like joy. I also found myself resurfacing personal and family issues that have been temporarily set aside because of cancer and its treatment.
I realized healing would be a long, long course of achievement for me. At some point, it felt like healing is another set of battle- a sequel to the actual cancer battle. Or maybe this is part of the actual battle itself.
I have come to terms at how God had to let cancer happen to me, although there are many parts of it that I still don’t understand. But after all this time, I still could not accept that cancer is a blessing in my life. It felt like calling it is pure betrayal to my self- like I was taking cancer’s side.
Before it was Cancer versus Myself, now it’s like Myself versus Myself. And I would not want to abandon Myself- not after all this time. But is calling cancer a blessing indeed a betrayal to my own self? Is it or is it not?
Maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. I repeated the phrase from the book over and over again. I was struck by it. Something about it tells me that I do not necessarily have to call cancer a gift itself. But instead, blessings can come from cancer- when it meets God. However, only God can choose the blessing.
Along side all the bad things, I know good things can come from a cancer diagnosis- I’ve seen them, I’ve experienced them. But I do not have to consider it a gift. Even if it happened six weeks before I turned 24, it wasn’t a birthday gift for me- I wouldn’t consider it one. If it was, then it would have been the worst, worst gift ever.
Cancer is not a blessing. However, God can make blessings- good things to be grateful of- come to one’s life despite and not because of it. I understand it now.
I have said it before that I would never call cancer a gift as my punishment for cancer- for all the things it has taken from me- for all the things it has given me. But this time, I am not calling cancer a gift not out of resentment but out of acceptance and learning. Acceptance that sometimes bad things happen to good people no matter how hard they try to be good. And learning from my experience that, indeed, good things happened to me despite the struggles that came along with my diagnosis.
I’ve seen blessings come after my diagnosis. Although I may not have felt all of them because I was clouded by depression- but I know I’ve had them. I’m not saying I’m now okay it happened to me- I still think it was unfair. But I accept it indeed happened- I’ve had cancer. But I can’t help but feel excited of the many more good things that are coming from it. I am, in no doubt, looking forward to what God has still in store for me.
I guess I don’t necessarily have to take cancer’s side. I’m not sure which side to take, but I’m sure God is on my side.