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Am I a deal breaker?

Maybe you’ve tried to make a deal with God.

Perhaps your negotiations took place on the bathroom floor, swearing that your lips would never touch a drop of tequila E.V.E.R. again if God would only let you live through the night.

I seem to recall I swore I would never even look at Peter again if God would only get that big headed baby OUT.OF.ME!

And I remember the many prayers, promising my everything, if only God would take the cancer from Peyton’s body.  I begged to take it from her.  I threw Pete under that particular bus as well.  I SWORE that I would make it my life’s purpose to be an advocate for childhood cancer.  I would raise awareness for these kids, I would honor each child that touched my life by raising funds, I would find a way to give back to all those who gave so generously of themselves to help us through.

We’re done with the chemo. (There’s a whole other post for another day to go with that statement.)

I feel like I should be FIRED up!  I should be swept away on the momentum of accomplishment and just full of motivation to do MORE, be MORE, make MORE happen.

All I feel is tired.

Some people were able to walk away from the cancer life and turn their back on the memories without worries of the future. I’ve seen those that take up the heavy burden of being a support system to those still fighting, never turning a blind eye to the struggles of those around them, opening themselves to the hurts and pains of others.

Part of me just wants to hide.

I want it to be over.  I want to not think about it anymore. I want to put those worries and fears behind me and my family. I want to stop thinking of all the what-ifs and just concentrate on the now.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

But I remember all too clearly what it feel like to feel alone and helpless in the face of something so much bigger than me.  It doesn’t take much to bring back all that anguish and terror that came with the truth of her disease. I won’t ever forget what it felt like to have someone reach out and hug us with compassion and understanding.

How could I NOT want to do that for others?

I DO.  I feel like God had a purpose in having us carry this load. In my heart of hearts, I don’t think I could just NOT stay involved, wherever we are.


Peter and I are neck-deep in plans for our move to GA.  We have a launch date and by March we’re hoping to be in a new home in the land of peaches.

I’m torn about how to feel about the move in terms of what I’m going to do with my promises.

I know it’s going to be so easy to feel distanced from the world and the people who have been a part of our day to day life for so long.

The clean slate.

A whole world of people who won’t associate us with cancer, we don’t have to be THAT family if we don’t want to be.  We don’t have to be the crap-meter by which others measure their lives.

Nathaniel and Rachael can just be “Nathaniel and Rachael”, they don’t have to be “Peyton’s siblings”.

We can be a normal family…whatever that is.

But I don’t know if we can go back to just being a normal family.  I think we’re all scarred in our own ways by this experience.  Some of the scars are small, barely noticeable and will fade with time…others are huge, a daily reminder of what we’ve been through…a warning of what could lay ahead.

I wonder if continuing to be a part of the cancer community breeds worry in my kids, should I just let them forget?

I feel the need to hold it close, selfishly, in case I need that network of support to fall back on.

It’s been such a huge part of our lives for the past two and half year, do you just leave that behind?

Maybe the move is what we need.

A chance to recharge and start fresh.


Find a new path.

Right now?  I need to rest.


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18 Comments on “Am I a deal breaker?”

  1. #1 Jen W
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Wow. Hugs to you. My best friend’s son is a cancer survivor and she and I have had countless conversations about the tired feeling you speak of. The fact that you do have a clean slate of sorts and that your future isn’t mapped out for you can be very daunting when your life for so many years was structured around hospital stays, chemo treatments and doctor appoint ments. For my friend, I think that there was also an element of survivor guilt. Why her son? Why was he one of the lucky ones to survive when so many still are suffering and fighting?

    Again, hugs to you.

  2. #2 Niki a.k.a. Kollegestoodent
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Just because you move to GA doesn’t mean you’re leaving anything behind. The memories(if that’s what you want to call them) will ALWAYS be there. Sounds like a “clean slate” might be good right about now – for everyone. Besides I hear GA has an awesome aquarium and I’ve always wanted to see it!

  3. #3 Maria
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I hope we can hang before you take off, but I think a fresh start is what you all deserve.

  4. #4 Princess of the Universe
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Oh honey, I’m sure even the most active advocates took a break to re-group and get their strength back.
    Good luck and best wishes…

  5. #5 Chrissi
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Oh sweet girl, you so deserve a break. Look at all you have done. You have become an advocate not only for your precious girl, but for childhood cancer.Big BIG hugs to you. And your family.

    Even if you move, it will still be with you. Perhaps in a capacity that is much less For your other 2 kiddos this might be healing for them, from our experience, the sibs are hit pretty hard.
    Happy Holidays to you!

  6. #6 always home and uncool
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 11:31 am

    But it’s a good kinda tired …

  7. #7 alayna
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Girl, Rest. Rest, now. Seriously, God doesn’t want you to kill yourself. He didn’t get you through this just to kill yourself when it’s over. He also didn’t bring you through it just to forget you’ve ever been through it (like THAT could ever happen!) But, see what I mean when I make that statement? You’ll never forget – you’ll never be the same, even if you do have a clean slate. Take some time to rest and recharge and take care of your family. Enjoy that you are no longer bound by the schedules of counts and chemo. And eventually, because it is a part of who you are now, you will feel drawn back to that world somehow. But, it will be a desire, and it will be life-giving instead of life-draining. Take a break. You deserve it. And while you rest, just talk to God and tell him how tired you are, and that one day, you want him to put a desire in your heart and a plan of how you can make a difference. And when you’re ready, it’ll feel right. When you get to Georgia, check out the Lighthouse. Go as a cancer family to get some much-needed rest (that’s one of their missions, you know.) And later, maybe you can go as a volunteer family. Hang in there, girl! Sending you love from Texas!

  8. #8 threeundertwo
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I’m all for letting the kids have a chance at a fresh start. It’s such a good time to rest and regroup. I think advocacy can take many forms, and sometimes an internet presence is as powerful as a hug.

    God understands the deal you made, by the way, and he says you’re paid in full.

  9. #9 Shash
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Your entire family needs a fresh start, and that is a good thing. I’m sure you will still advocate for Childhood Cancer, and this time you will have more information for those who need your assistance; from start to finish and beyond. That, right there, is the best gift you can give someone who seeks you out for guidance – hope for the future.

    I know how you feel though, in some small degree. We will live with Autism and it’s challenges and society’s challenges for the rest of our lives.

    Some days I’m just too tired. Some days I’m ready to hit the windmills. Some days I’d give my eye teeth to be “normal”. But honestly? I don’t know what that is. For all I know, this IS normal.

    All I know is that I am blessed, and I know so are you. Keep spreading the word!

    (Also, when you look for a house, make sure it has MY room in it. MMkay?)


  10. #10 Carrie
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    You so deserve a break. And you haven’t stopped being an advocate. How many people read your websites EVERY SINGLE DAY? Even when you’re sleeping, people are learning more about childhood cancer.

    BTW, I’m so disappointed that you’re not moving to exciting NE Atlanta, but any new members of the peach state are always welcome! 🙂

  11. #11 Heather
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    I just wanted to stop by and wish you all a Merry Christmas! I have been so behind on blogs – but there are so many times I have wanted to comment – especially on TWILIGHT! 🙂 (I didn’t like the movie much either. )

    And this update hits home with me as I have struggled with the same thing. I was so involved the year after Jacob passed away – but had to slow way down when we had Allie! 🙂 I have found the right balance in participating in fundraisers a couple times a year – but keeping my main focus on my family. They need me most right now. Maybe too much. 🙂

    Have a happy holiday, my friend!

  12. #12 Ashley
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    I know I’m not the one with the right answer, and I’ve never been in your shoes so I can’t say. But I will pray for God to bless you with peace and confidence (and lots of other totally cool stuff) in making the right decision for you and your family. 🙂 Merry Christmas, good will towards all, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and all that other jazz!!!!!

  13. #13 Marie
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    I don’t think anyone could judge you for taking a break!! Including God. You’ve been holding your breath for 3 years, time to let it out. Like you said, there are scars to heal and relationships to rebuild. You’ll find your way back to the cancer community eventually, in a way that fits you and your family best.

    PS. If you and Heather ever start a Twilight blog I will so be there! I wanted to comment on your Twilight post too but only saw the movie last week and the post is 3 pages back!

  14. #14 Dan Cohen
    on Dec 22nd, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Somehow I shut the browser when I was almost done with the message. So I have to retype it. But you are worth it Anissa.

    So here we go again.

    Dear Anissa,

    You deserve a break.

    The kids need a fresh start.

    The move will do all of you good.

    Moving does not mean that you are leaving anyone behind. We all know that you appreciate the support etc.

    Even if you move to Georgia, if you need anythinng, I am here for you. I am sure that I can speak for your friends here and say that they will be here for you too.

    Sending hugs…

    Dan Cohen
    North Miami Beach, FL

  15. #15 D's Mommy
    on Dec 24th, 2008 at 11:25 am

    If you ever feel like GA isn’t the state for you and that maybe, just maybe, a move to TN would be good let me know:) I’m here and I would love to meet y’all since you won’t be in FL when I go back for drills. I’m just saying: TN isn’t so bad y’know:) Ha-ha! P/S: Everyone needs to step back, take time for themselves, and just BE for a bit or for a long time – whatever works best for you.

  16. #16 Aunt Becky
    on Dec 24th, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I’m with the other commentors before me (typical me, always late to the party): a move and a deep breath with some perspective sounds necessary. I wish you massive luck and I’ll be back to check in on you all.

    Happy Holidays, dude.

  17. #17 Thursday Thirteen: 13 Holiday Wishes « Fear & Parenting in Las Vegas
    on Dec 25th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    […] For Anissa: A flawless move and a cancer-free little […]

  18. #18 Pamela
    on Dec 25th, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    I don’t believe our God of love and mercy and healing and understanding holds us to the deals we try to make with Him, when we are in a place where we feel we need to make Those Kinds of Deals.

    Something about He knows the plans He has for us…

    Stop and breathe for a while.