Friday, August 28, 2009

Rollercoaster Ride

For the first time in my life, I am on a rollercoaster ride that I wish I could get off. I am so ready for some normalcy in my life with no more ups and downs. It has been a long road (since April) and it is time for it to be over. These last couple of days I have been an emotional wreck. I am so frustrated with the recovery process. It is definitely testing my patience. I don't think it could go any slower. At the same time, I am struggling with my appearance. I know I shouldn't concern myself with the way I look and it is probably vain. But I just want to feel feminine again. My hair is growing back, but not in the places where it was exposed to the radiation. So I look like I have a marine haircut or Vanilla Ice (Yes, flashback to the 80's). My right eye is swollen, has no eyelashes and my eyebrows are just about gone. Make up doesn't seem to help. I am tired of wearing hats...but they are the only thing that I can wear to somewhat cover up my ugliness. I am constantly clearing out the mucus in my nose and throat so I am sure I don't sound so pretty either. I can't wear the clothes I really want to wear because of my feeding tube and IV port. I have been forcing myself to take little walks up and down the street so that I can start regaining my strength. I was hoping that a little exercise will do me some good. But I feel so uncomfortable with the way I look that I quickly want to run back inside the house and hide under the covers in my bed. I am quickly beginning to understand what it is like to be the one people stare at. I feel like a monster.

I am hoping this is all temporary. Please be temporary. Let this be all over soon.

Psalm 6 - "From Psalms for Praying, An Invitation to Wholeness"
O my Beloved, though I have turned from You, continue to enfold me with your love; Be gracious to me, Heart of my heart, for I am sad and weary. Surround me with your healing Light, that my body, mind and soul might heal. How long must I wait, O Lord? I open the door of my heart to You, my Beloved, Enter in and imbue me with your steadfast Love. I shall remember You all my days; I shall sing praises to You throughout the nights. I am tired of so many fears; I cry myself to sleep at night, while grief and feelings of guilt bedim my eyes with tears. All my doubts, my fears, are creating walls so that I know no love. Depart from me, you enemies of wholeness, for the Beloved is aware of my cry; Love has heard my prayer, and hastens to answer my call. Though my fears are running for cover, yet they shall be forgiven by Love; Illusions that lived in the ego can now turn to the Light; I will know peace as I return Home.


Anonymous said...

We should take a picture of our matching "doos". I recommend a mani, pedi, and massage! We love you just the way you are, so walk, walk, walk. If you need a partner, I would be happy to walk with you and then they can stare at me instead!

Anonymous said...

I saw a woman at Rainbow Foods at the deli counter who had patchy, buzzed hair just like mine...and she wasn't wearing a hat. No hat! And you know what? She looked pretty darn good! It was from that moment on I didn't feel the "need" to have to wear a hat every time I left the house. If she could do it...I could do it.

Yes, people stared. And I did still, occasionally, wore a hat when my emotions weren't able to deal with it that day. But the people who mattered the most didn't see my patchy, buzzed fuzz.

I will always remember the lady at Rainbow Foods. What an impact she had on me that day...and never even knew it. You are a bright, beautiful, and intelligent woman. That's EXACTLY what we see...

Stand tall, stand proud...battle scars and all. :)

Much love,
Jami Helvick

Connie said...

Sue, you can take the above post by Jamie Helvick to heart. They're the best words I've seen: "Stand tall, stand proud...battle scars and all." Absolutely!

Anonymous said...

If people could only put together what they see outside with what is inside, they would see a beautiful woman standing beside the Lord, encouraging her family and friends and many others even while she goes through one of the most difficult journeys in life. As difficult as it may be, you should feel free as a bird to go anywhere you want to go. You deserve it more than any of us.

Jeff (and Cindi)

mimi charmante said...

From someone who has seen you lately, I want you to know, in all honesty, that from the outside, you do not look the way you are seeing yourself. Sue, from the outside, you looked VERY cute in the hat you had on that morning, you looked much stronger than you describe yourself, and you had such a sense of grace about you. I know that you are physically feeling awful, but I also know that feeling awful is making you see yourself in the worst possible light, and honestly, no one else sees you the same way. I know that this has been a horrible emotional ride, but you have been so strong throughout, and if you can hold out a bit longer, things will begin to turn around, and your life, as you knew it, will begin to return to you.
Thinking of you my sweet, strong, graceful friend,

Anonymous said...

Sue, a song for you:

How beautiful the radient Bride
who waits for her Groom
with His light in her eyes.
How beautiful when humble hearts give
the fruit of pure lives
so that others may live.
How beautiful
how beautiful

how beautiful is the body of Christ.

How beautiful the feet that bring
the sound of good news
and the love of the King.
How beautiful the hands that serve

the wine and the bread
and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful
how beautiful

how beautiful is the body of Christ.

Love and Prayers,


Anonymous said...

You are a radiant bride, Sue!

Love, Sal

Jeremy, Michelle, and Girls said...

You know what Sue, you have a right to feel how you feel. This is an evolving process for you and your emotions will change daily, I am sure! However, I encourage you to look in the mirror and see yourself as God sees you...strong, beautiful, compassionate, and full of love. He only sees what's on the inside anyway! Those of us who love you are just so happy to SEE you in any way! It brightens my day to see you outside or out walking. You are truly a gift to me! Sophie and I would be happy to walk with you any day. These are baby steps Sue, and they are all in the right direction! Walk on my friend!


Anonymous said...

Dear Sue,

There was a woman singing in the church choir this morning, and she was wearing a hat. I didn't "know" her, but immediately I knew that she was someone somewhere on the journey of battling cancer.

As soon as she started singing, I gasped in surprise. I may not have recognized this woman's face at the outset (because of the physical changes she's been through) but as soon as she opened her mouth, I recognized her VOICE. I did know this woman! She's the same woman that's led us in singing for quite a few years, and for a season, for obvious reasons, she had been absent from church.

My focus was transfixed on her for the entire service. What a gift to hear her voice again. To see her standing tall, wearing her battle scars without apology, worshiping God with all her heart. She was truly beautiful.

I share this story because you (and your hats -- or no hats --) are a beacon of what true beauty is. You are sharing your suffering with us, and the light of Christ is shining through. You are sharing your voice, being honest about the rollercoaster, and God is using you in profound ways. Now we know for sure that the phrase "beauty in brokeness" is not just a cliche.

It's true. I look to you, and the women in hats (I see them everywhere now) as examples of strength. They're participating in life without hiding or apologizing for their pain. They're at the grocery store, the park, coffee hangouts, restaurants, school conferences.

I admire them. I want to be brave like them. and I want to thank them and YOU for reminding us what true beauty is: being real.

Thanks Sue, for sharing your voice with us during this season of suffering. Your beauty takes my breath away.



Anonymous said...

Sue B:

I remember watching Melissa Etheridge emerge from months of chemo on the MTV Music Awards. She sang her heart out that night in a rousing tribute to Janis Joplin. She was radiant and beautiful...and bald. Everyone was so transfixed by her 'being' that they didn't even notice what wasn't on her head. She owned the night and she owned her looks. Sue, you should not be ashamed of the external you. If people want to stare, let them. You are SURVIVING!! Please don't let cancer take anymore away from you than it already has and don't let it keep you from living outside. You've been through so much since April. It cannot keep you in the house too. We are our own toughest critic and I'm sure it is not what it seems to you. Be a role model for others and for your kids. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, you are a face of cancer. Everyone should be as brave as you. Please don't let looks keep you from living. As you well know, life is too precious. Spike that hair, put on a little lipstick and show the world that you are strong, you are proud and you are a SURVIVOR!

My thoughts and prayers are with you, my friend. Be well!


Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,
I'm your neighbor from down the road, I think I've passed your house when you've been outside with your hat on, and I thought you look pretty cute even after everything you've been through. You do NOT look like a monster, and if you feel like getting out and walking, do it, you look better than you think.
Also, I want to comment on your other post about believing and you'll be healed. I think you need to keep your faith, that God will heal you, you just need to believe. If you look in the gospels, almost every time Jesus healed anyone, he said their faith healed them, which I believe is true. I don't know you, but I think about you often, and I pray for you ALL the time... I think God wants me to pray for you. I do believe you will be healed, I do believe God loves you, I do believe he is with you and will help you get through these final stages of healing. And he will restore your beauty.
May God bless you,
Andrea Wackerfuss

Anonymous said...

Sue, we are your friends/family and we love you. I don't see what you see. I thought you looked great on Sunday especially with all you have gone through. I think you ARE beautiful!! Chin up and I pray the end will be soon! Ruth L.