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My trademark brand of crazy

When something’s weighing heavy on your heart, do you have a sure-fire way of overcoming the funk that wants to drown you?  Avoid thinking about it?  Get so busy you don’t have time to obsess about it? Or do you just indulge in the funk, wallowing in it until you are neck-deep in the sheer funkiness of it all?

If I had to nail down my method of coping with the hardest things it would go something like this:

1.  Pray, often and truthfully
2.  Cry, it does me no good to hold it all in, it always finds a way out and usually worse than just crying in the first place
3.  Talk about it, whether it’s a phone call to purge to an understanding friend or just typing it out and letting some of it go
4.  Finding ways to lift myself up, concentrating on the positive, focusing on the blessings, seeking out the inspirational, sometimes I’m lucky enough that the good seeks me out.
5.  Pray some more

News of more children who lost the cancer battle came this week. The hurt is unfathomable.

A young man who’d been out of Leukemia treatment for 11 years went into the operating room this week, a shocking brain tumor.  More cancer? We don’t know yet.  Related to his initial treatment? No answers.  Does it matter?  I’m sure it doesn’t to him, to his mother and father, to all the ones who love him.

As Peyton moves closer and closer to the end of chemo, I can feel the anxiety building up.  Bizarre, huh? I should be leaping around in ridiculous joy….and I AM happy….but it’s hard to explain, I am filled with an outrageous fear as well.  When she was diagnosed we came to rely on the chemotherapy….as hated as it is, a poison in my baby’s body…it is our wall of defense against the disease.  The necessary evil, I suppose.  But we’re about to dismantle the wall.  We’re about to stand naked in the wind and all that will stand between the cancer and us is hope and prayer. Perhaps the wall was never real, the only thing defending us WAS the prayer and hope, but I needed the façade of the wall.

I’m scared.

I’m scared because I’ve seen the hated cancer creep back when the wall came down.

I’m scared because I know sometimes it comes running back immediately, sometimes it sneaks back years down the road.

I’m scared because I know if it returns, the beast is stronger and the wall weaker.

I wish I were one of those people who could just blithely believe that once it’s gone, it’s gone to stay. But I also think those people are lying to themselves that they’re not scared too.  Because once cancer has had its hand on you, there’s no forgetting it’s cold, chilling touch.

So I pray. For peace and strength, for comfort through the fear.  For wholehearted acceptance of the unknown.  I’m a work in progress on that one.

I see the good things that people are doing.

I soak in the generous love shared by many.

I rely on the affirmations that it can be gone.

I keep busy selfishly helping and encouraging others. Selfish how?  Selfish, because in the end it helps me and encourages me.

It’s been one of those rollercoaster weeks where I’m up and down so much the certainty of normal escapes me. My heart. It breaks and shatters until I worry that a day will come when there’ll be nothing left to heal.  Amazingly, there is and it does.  I think it heals a little stronger and more determined.

But today?  When Peyton woke up and said, “Mama, my tummy hurts, I don’t feel good, can I stay home?” I let her.  I jumped on any excuse. Today I just needed her home, close to me.

Is that sad?  I just needed to be near her….more than she needed to be with me.

19 Comments on “My trademark brand of crazy”

  1. #1 maggie, dammit
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    I’ll pray with you.

    maggie, dammits last blog post..HEADRUSH

  2. #2 Ashley
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Even in our life without the dreaded “c” word, there are days when I need them entirely more than they need me. Most days they don’t even like me (and I’m fine with that, they’ll need me sooner or later, like it or not – lol). I don’t know even a fraction of a percent of what your family has been through, but it does sadden me to think that you’ll always wonder or not whether it’s come back. I’ll pray for a much better and different set of circumstances. C-free from here on out! 🙂

    Ashleys last blog post..Half-eaten Shoes

  3. #3 Lianne
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Your coping mechanisms are strong and healthy. I totally get the fear you talk about… and the only way through this is to lean on God and know that whatever happens is perfect.

    It may not be our brand of perfect, but I think, like CS Lewis says, when we look back we will understand perfectly and all the pain and fear will be forgotten.

    Loving you.

    Liannes last blog post..Note to Self

  4. #4 chris
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    No it’s not sad. Enjoy the gift of a day with her home and touch, touch, touch. Blessings.

  5. #5 Rick @ Tiny Prints
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Glad you tweeted this post! Very touching and so so scary. Dealing with cancer with an immediate family member myself.

  6. #6 Debbie
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    My heart goes out to you! GOD hears your prayers. May you find peace that only he can give!

    Debbies last blog post..I dont know the author but this is good!

  7. #7 Debbie
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Oh Anissa, I can just hear the fear and heartbreak in your voice, and it saddens me. But know this – that me, and everyone here, can share this fear with you.

    I’m sorry that your week has been so emotionally up and down. See, we need to find those hairdo pictures, and have a good laugh.

  8. #8 Krystal
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 4:33 pm


    I am not directly connected with childhood cancer but I do have many friends that have children with cancer and I have seen and heard and read their words that are very similar to yours.

    There are those days when you just need to hold her close and that is okay. Don’t think it is sad or pathetic – she needs you as well and that is what makes it equally perfect.

    Krystals last blog post..Thank You Thursday: My Reasoning

  9. #9 Amber
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I’ve been reading about end of treatment concerns and your reactions are totally normal. I feel the same way actually, like I’ll never feel that things are okay, always on the lookout for the second shoe to drop, so to speak.

    Ambers last blog post..Annoyed with the Pink Ribbon

  10. #10 evalou2
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    It has been awhile since I have commented one of your blogs. Sorry dear Anissa….been so wrapped up in so many things and my satellite internet can be so slow. But I do read them often!

    But this one I had to take time to respond to. For no other reasons than to say I am praying for you and Peyton always and to send you a BIG hug and much love! You are both so very precious!!!


  11. #11 Heather
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Tears are rolling down my face as I am writing this. The fear never goes away woman. I wish it did. Six years clean, with the doctors telling us that “if” the cancer was going to come back it would have already. Those words don’t help. I just last week had Mr. K. crying in pain holding on to his side. All those memories came flooding back in a nano second. I let him stay home from school the next day just to keep an eye on him. But, what I really wanted to do is drive him to the emergency room and have a CT scan done just to be sure. But, on a side note….it is an awesome day to say goodbye to chemo. To watch their hair grow back in. To see them gain weight. But, the fear, it never goes away.

    Heathers last blog post..10 years old…oh my.

  12. #12 Double Agent Girl
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Anissa – my internet love…

    Fear is healthy. What you need to remember is this:

    Fear will keep you alert.
    Fear will keep you alive.
    Fear will keep you appreciative.

    You must be sure that you always keep fear directed. You fear the return of cancer, but never fear the battle. You and Peyton have fought hard, tirelessly. YOU CAN DO THIS. You can be free and full of life and love, and still fear the beast. Just don’t fear it for the wrong reasons. You and Peyton are a wall, and your courage will never fail.
    Congratulations, sweet one, on winning. Remember that He will not give you anything you cannot handle. Surrender your fear to him.

    Double Agent Girls last blog post..Love on the Inside

  13. #13 Penny Hawkins
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    I am right there with ya! You know how I cope… I don’t think of it as no more chemo – I think of it as off treatment. I think of the days we HANG out at Paneras for a cup of coffe (I know she is young – but she loves the whole – coffee chatting thing) instead of watching movies at the clinic getting a blood transfusion. I think of getting rid of the feeding tube – instead of the fact that she needed one. I think of watching her have fun – instead of another needle in the chest. I think of girl slumber parties instead of the endless nights in the hospital. Once you start thinking of those things – LIFE COMES BACK. Off treatment is not without worries – but we have a heck of alot of laughter and fun along with it. We love you guys! Penny
    Mom to the most amazing 13 yr old brain tumor survivor and the two craziest handsomest (not a word – I know… but I am not a professional blogger either) green eyed little boys – LOVE THEM EVERY DAY and HUG THEM ALL THE TIME!

  14. #14 Maria
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Until our children have children of their own, I’m not sure they’ll ever be able to understand how much we need them.

    Thinking good thoughts for you and your beautiful family.

  15. #15 Dan Cohen
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Anissa,

    I want you to know that Peyton, you and the whole family are in my thoughts and prayers, every day.

    If you ever need someone to talk to, I am here for you.

    Dan Cohen
    North Miami Beach, FL

  16. #16 alayna
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 12:21 am

    I did a Pampered Chef show tonight for a family that lost their daughter to a brain tumor 3 years ago. She originally had been diagnosed with medulloblastoma when she was 10 – had been cured and cancer free for 6, when another tumor came as the result of her radiation. It just sucks! Killed by the cure. That’s what people don’t get – that’s why there has to be more research and a gentler cure. This mom was saying that she was so mad at God for letting her daughter’s cancer come back, and her daughter would talk to her dad and say, “Don’t let mom be mad at God. You’ve got to help her get over this, or I’ll never see her again.” How many 17 year olds have to think thoughts like that? They shouldn’t have to.

    I like your coping mechanisms. I’ll be praying with you that you never feel the cold death-like grip again, that you’ll be able to let go and enjoy life off-treatment, certainly never the same, but some better for it too. Love you.

  17. #17 Tracy P
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I can only imagine the fears you must be having, but I do know as a mom we worry about our children constantly-you have this very scary part to worry about-the after, the unknown.
    You are such a strong person-you will do this and we will watch from the sidelines taking notes! Do whatever you need to do to cope-keeping Peyton close to you is probably one of the most comforting things right now.
    Keeping you in my prayers

    Tracy Ps last blog post..A Song Brought It Back..

  18. #18 motherofbun
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    There are days I’ve let my little guy stay up later than usual or let him sleep in my bed (like when hubby is out of town for work) or kept him from camp/school because I needed to be with him. I needed him to be a few feet from me so I could reach out and kiss his cheek or rub his back. Can completely understand that.

    Think of you and your family often, often, often. Sending prayers of strength and health your way…

    motherofbuns last blog post..Seabass, Celebrations, and Squirrels

  19. #19 threeundertwo
    on Sep 27th, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Oh wow. Lots of prayers and hugs for both of you as you go flying without a net.

    threeundertwos last blog post..It looked like a box of junk to me.