Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I just keep thinking

…of how grateful, blessed, and lucky I am.

I had cancer. But I got it in school: late in the term, in this community, while I have steady health insurance. My community has borne me up. For the first few days, I felt like a pastoral-care lab rat. But we all got over it. People don’t try to take care of me, anymore—but they are still so genuine. They care for me the way I wish we all cared for each other, all the time.

If I ever doubted it (and I did), I know now that my faculty has my back. My advisor, who always was my advocate, has become my friend. She gives me time whenever I stop by and her door's open. She listens, and she makes me laugh. I checked in with my homiletics prof yesterday; she’s also the academic dean. She asked how I was, and volunteered information about how I can keep my health insurance, since I don’t need full-time credits to graduate. She’d been in a conversation about me that morning; they want to make sure I’m taken care of. She also told me that she and her spiritual director had prayed for me, that morning.

This is someone who raises sarcasm to an art form. But as I told her what I'd been through, she listened with her heart.

Another, who pushed me hard a year ago to learn a kind of toughness I was totally lacking, has been an absolute rock: always prayerful; always encouraging, always supportive. I am floored at the depth of the gift—this strong, solid core—that neither of us knew she was helping me to find, at the time. (She wanted me to find it, for ministry and daily purposes. We didn't know I'd need it, this soon or this intensely, for life.)

All three of them said, in the beginning of this: if you need us, we are here. They meant it.

I’m still waiting on the biopsy, but my other tests were clean. My wounds are healing well. And I’ll have time this summer, sprawled on my best friend’s floor, to process everything that’s happened—and then to finish two incompletes.

My community has been so generous. They say I teach them. They have taught me how to be there for others.

Cancer sucks. It’s terrifying and stressful, and it steals both your “normalcy” and your sleep. I don’t ever want to go through this again. But there have been blessings, every day of this.

I got melanoma. So far, I have dodged metastasis. I am unbelievably lucky. I don't take my life or my body for granted, anymore.

About the interferon trial: Some of my friends have been praying that I get randomized into the easy group (the month of treatment, rather than the year). I’m not really comfortable with that; it means that someone else has to take the harder piece. Pray for me, yes—but just keep surrounding me with love and support. God will take care of what needs taking care of.

Thank you all, so much.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

God bless you Kirstin--you sound good and whole and holy. You continue in our prayers here --1/3rd of the way around the globe.

many many blessings m'dear, --margaret

Mimi said...

Pray for me, yes—but just keep surrounding me with love and support. God will take care of what needs taking care of.


Indeed.

Kirstin said...

Thank you so much, both of you.

(((((hugs)))))

lj said...

Kirstin,
I'm pretty much off all blogs these days, so I had missed all this. I'm so sorry you've been through so much and so glad to see you doing so well.
Love and prayers, sister.

Kirstin said...

Back at you, lj. Thank you.

It's really good to see you, anyway!

Jane R said...

Wow. (About the dean.)

It is a blessing when tough times bring out the best in people...

Keep being good to yourself -- and I am so glad you have caring people around. You sound more relaxed, too, less tightly wound. (Note: This is not a judgment. Many of us would be in a frazzle under the same circumstances!)

((Kirstin))

I'm thinking of good nicknames. ("Our Lady of the Interesting Ear," that sort of thing.) It may take me a while. LOL

Caminante said...

Kirstin, prayers continue. (It's midnight here so I won't write much because it wouldn't make sense.)

My orange boy tabby wants to tell you that he TOTALLY understands what it feels like to go to the hospital in the morning feeling fine and return later on in the day, confused, wobbly, hyper and in pain. He sends you virtual headbutts and purrs because he can't really do those right now. And he hopes you have really good care around you and people who can understand what's going on even when you can't communicate it too well.

Prairie Pastor said...

Kirsten:

From one WIP writer to another, and one cancer survivor to another, know you're being lifted up in prayer and thought. You're right about being changed. Cancer does change you; however, it will inform your ministry in ways you'd never even think about. Cancer is a good teacher. There are small blessings all around you. May healing and hope be at your side all the way, and may God continue to hold and enfold you.
Pax et lux,
Sharron Lucas

Sally said...

prayers for peace and healing blessings for you.