Friday, May 22, 2015

Hard Times Come Again No More

Well I met with the doctor yesterday. I walked into his office hoping to be done with chemo, so that I could get surgery already. Again... it didn't work out how I wanted it to. I was told that the tumor was shrinking, but I would have to do four more rounds of chemo. My heart dropped. I guess I had a feeling it was coming, but I didn't want to believe it. 

I'm not gonna lie, this whole experience is hard. It is overwhelming in a lot of different ways. Aside from all of the physical problems, there are plenty of emotional problems as well. I have never been the kind of person to sit around for very long... and that is all I do these days. It is hard to see all of the wedding announcements, graduation pictures, people getting jobs, etc. Everyone seems to be moving on with their life... and here I am... trying to decide which movies to watch for the day. OH just a side note, I watched "The Fault In Our Stars". Wow what a terrible idea! I mean it was a great movie, just horrifically sad. I imagine anyone would find it sad, but given the "cancer" circumstances I am under.. I was an emotional mess. Anyway! That is just one of the struggles I am facing. I want to be doing something with my life.. and now everything just got postponed another 12-18 weeks. Ugh. 

I have an amazing family, and incredible friends. But sometimes it is difficult because I feel like nobody REALLY knows how I feel. In my world of constant support, oddly I feel alone. I think that comes with the territory, but it doesn't make it any less painful.  

Well this post feels depressing. That is just how I feel this week though. Even on a week like this I am reminded of a lesson I learned when I was learning how to drive. It was my first time driving on State Street and I was scared out of my mind. I had never turned on a "double left" before, and there I was. Waiting to turn. Worst part? I was at the front of the line! Great. Everyone expected me to know what I was doing. I realized that I had two options at that point.. drive forward and see what happens, or get out of the car and run. Either press on, or give up. I have come to that same fork in the road (no pun intended) many times in my life. Here I am again. On the days when I can't chew because of mouth sores, can't breathe because I walked up the stairs, cry for no reason, or just plain want to give up... I don't. Maybe that is because I don't really know what it would mean to give up.. but either way, I just keep moving forward. Yeah it sucks, but hey life sucks sometimes. Even when it seems unbearable, just keep pushing forward. Amidst the clouds, the sun will shine again.

(Photo taken on an adventure with one of my best friends, Christ Sheets)

We all have trials but it is my belief that we "can-cer vive" anything that life tries to throw at us. Just remember that life is whatever we make it. I choose to make it good, cancer and all.

P.S. I am really missing my AZ girl squad right about now.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Did You Lose a Bet?

Lets start out with a funny experience  from the past week. As many of you know, my father decided to shave his head to support me! I was totally surprised when I saw him. My dad came downstairs to show me his bald head while I was playing cards with my friends. Right after the shock of it all wore off, I looked at my mom and said, "Don't even think about it". Two bald heads are enough for the Lee household. 

Anyway about that funny experience. So my dad goes to work with a shaved noggin, and of course people notice something different. A co-worker approaches him with a smile and says, "Did you lose a bet or something?!". My dad just looks at him for a second and responds with, "No.. actually my son has cancer...". Hahahahaha. I thought that was so funny for some reason. Not that we get offended by stuff like that, but it is funny to see people in awkward situations. 

The second round of chemo is done. Hallelujah. If we are being honest, I really do not want to go back. I don't know how some people go in for treatments for a year. The nausea is just horrible. They told me it is a lot like morning sickness for pregnant women and now I will totally have sympathy for my wife. Sheesh. If she wants french fries at 2am? I am there. It is so annoying how much my appetite changes. I can't even describe it.

The next step in this crazy journey is getting a cat scan!! They will check on the size of the tumor and see if it is small enough to perform surgery. If it is shrinking, but not small enough yet then I will be doing more rounds of chemo... BOOOO. Hopefully it has shrunk enough to just get surgery. That is what I am planning on. 

Well I am trying to learn another life lesson. I know... so many lessons to learn. President Calderwood (my former Mission President) called me before my first round of chemo. He actually had cancer in his twenties also, just a side note. We were talking and I asked for some advice from him. I did not hear what I wanted to... He told me that I need to learn how to have sympathy for the people around me during chemo. I might feel like I am suffering way more than those around me, but he encouraged me to reach out and care for them anyways. Psh I did not want to hear or do that. Sometimes you just want to have a pity party, okay?! But of course.. he was right. There is something magical about serving the people around you even when you are suffering. I am not perfect at this by any means, but it is the right idea. Something to put into practice. Jesus Christ was actually really good at this, imagine that?! In Matthew 4:11 it talks about how He received comfort after being tempted by the devil, and fasting for forty days/nights. Well a modern day translation of that scripture from a living prophet teaches us that Jesus actually sent those angels to comfort John the Baptist while he was in prison! Jesus just went through A LOT. He was drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet he took the opportunity to comfort someone that he loved, in stead of Himself. What a great example.

We all have trials but it is my belief that we "can-cer vive" anything that life tries to throw at us. Just remember that life is whatever we make it. I choose to make it good, cancer and all.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Your Personal Garden

Can I just say that I have had an incredible week? I have felt really really good. I spent the week with awesome people. I just feel so good right now. Sometimes I forget the fact that they dumped a ton of poison in my body two weeks ago. Then I look in a mirror and I remember. Haha! Oh yeah! I lost my hair. Totally bald. Remember how I was thinking I might not lose my hair at all? Totally wrong about that. I am still waiting to lose my eyebrows.. and when that happens I give everyone permission to stop being my friend. Haaa... really though. Nobody needs to see that.

So there are some really great people out there. Sometimes the news, or the world in general, focuses too much on the horrible people out there. Well news flash to them... there are some amazing people out there. Example A? Courtney Baker. With the help of her sister and brother-in-law in Arizona, they made some stylin' shirts. You thought the bracelets were cool? (Well they still are.. but the shirts rock too). If you are interested in ordering a T-Shirt here is the link:

Anyway! I just had to give a shout-out to Courtney and her family. They are TOO good. 

The day has finally come... tomorrow I go back into the hospital for another round of chemo. Bleh. I have been DREADING this day for more than one reason. The main reason is obvious.. because it sucks. I did learn a cool lesson yesterday while I was at church though! I don't mean to be irreverent when I say this, but I started to understand a little bit of how Jesus Christ felt when he walked into the Garden of Gethsemane. I feel like He was dreading that event. Probably quite a bit. Obviously the suffering that happens in my personal Garden of Gethsemane doesn't even come close to what He went through, but I do feel closer to Him because of this experience. But that is my point exactly. We all have our own personal "garden experiences". At some point or another, we will have to walk through something that can help us understand what our Savior went through. I don't know if you will have one, or twenty, "garden experiences" in your life... but just remember that we are given these experiences to gain a a better understanding of what happened in the real garden. Oh!! Another cool thing. Sometimes we put our trials up against each other.. like someone is having a harder time than another? Well we can compare cancer to a bad habit and think one is worse than another, but guess what happens when we compare it to the Atonement? None of us even come close. We are all on the same level of suffering when it is compared to what Jesus went through. That being said, try not to bring pride into it! Who cares who is "suffering" more? We are all suffering. Focus your energy on helping each other, not comparing. 

Man you can learn a lot when you listen to the Spirit! Those are just a few thoughts that I have been having lately. Life is good. Great actually! I can't say thank you enough for all of those prayers being offered on my behalf. You will never know how much of a difference they make!

We all have trials but it is my belief that we "can-cer vive" anything that life tries to throw at us. Just remember that life is whatever we make it. I choose to make it good, cancer and all.