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It’s hard work being this crazy

I have struggled with whether or not to share this much insight.

Because I don’t want you all to really think I’m crazy.  But, honestly, have I ever really tried to play up the image of perfect sanity?

Nope, I don’t even try to fake it.

I can talk about my crazy.  I can divulge some of the surface crazy.  But this is the down-to-the-bone crazy that sneaks up on me and smacks me down ninja style when I least expect it.

It doesn’t have to make sense…more often than not it really doesn’t.

Let me see if I can walk you through it.

I try really hard to live this life with the belief that things happen with a purpose and a meaning.  I believe God has a plan in my life and although there are times I go down kicking and screaming, THAT’s the plan that ultimately comes to fruition.

Looking back over the past years of our lives, I can pinpoint moments when choices were made or taken from us that impacted everything in our lives…for better, for worse…they were right.

The disbelief that stunned both Peter and me when the doctor came to us four years ago and explained I was having a stroke was almost comical.  Dude, I’m 30!  I have 3 little kids!  This is the first day of our FREAKING vacation!  I can’t be having a stroke.  Check again.

But it was true. I felt trapped in my body for so long, weighed down by the medications and the depression that followed.  I got up at four AM every morning to watch the sun rise, to make myself some breakfast, to let my body move…before I took my meds…because I knew that after I took them, I would no longer be able to carry on a conversation, I would be sitting in a chair watching my children play around me, unable to play and respond as I should. Shortly after I came home, some friends came and got me to go out for breakfast. I was devastated to realize I couldn’t even participate in the conversations around the table, by the time I’d processed what was said and figured out what to say, they were far gone to something else…I just sat there silently trying to understand if this was the new me. Every day the part of me that just wanted to die got bigger and bigger…I didn’t want to be this person, a shadow of the mom and wife and friend and Anissa that I knew I used to be.  I wasn’t strong enough to be this broken version of myself.

With time came changes in medicine, a near-death moment when I know in my heart I chose to live, therapy, recovery, strength, faith, and a newfound belief.

I’m so glad it happened.  No, really, I am. If that had never happened, I truly think that we would have fallen apart as a family when Peyton was diagnosed.  I didn’t know it at the time, none of us ever could have, but we were in training for the crisis yet to come.

After the stroke, the recovery and the drive to better our lives, Peter decided to look for a new job.  He was ready to move. He wanted to move.  Every day was a new possibility, a new opportunity.

And nothing. He couldn’t get a phone call, an interview, nothing. He was so discouraged.  I remember that just before he started his vacation in July 2006, we had a conversation about how he wanted a new job so badly, but that we knew if it was meant to happen it would. It was a bitter pill, easier said than to accept.

Less than a week later, again on the first day of Peter’s vacation (which you’ll all be relieved to know that we’ve made a pact to NEVER vacation in July ever again as long as we live), we found ourselves in a hospital AGAIN, this time getting the news that Peyton body was full of cancer.

We were meant to stay here, Peter wasn’t meant to find a job somewhere else.  I was meant to have my stroke, it made me a more compassionate and understanding mother to what Peyton would go through. We even shared some of the same medications, I KNEW how she felt when her body raged out of control and she hurt to her core. It all came together in a way that, looking back now, fits and makes sense and feels right.

Our choice for Peter to take a job that would move him 400 miles away from his family was a hard one…but made with confidence that it was the right choice. The signs were there, doors opening and paths smoothed to make the transition work.

And we’ve felt that as we plan this final move, to bring our family back together, those same doors would open and the paths would smooth again.

Yet, they haven’t.

It’s been frustration after disappointment and a lot of feeling as though we’re banging our heads against the wall.

I feel this urgency to move, to GO.NOW!

(here comes the crazy, stay with me)

I feel this rattling fear that if we don’t move now, something bad is going to happen.  I can almost phsically feel the ties tightening around us here, and if we don’t break them and go, we are going to be here for a long time. Why is everything seeming to work against us?  Is there a greater meaning to what feels like doors slamming shut?

Some part of me thinks we can outrun it.  I don’t even hesitate to say how nutty it sounds.  If Peyton’s going to relapse, she’s going to relapse regardless of WHERE we are. I KNOW that!

But for all the joy we’ve experienced lately, the happiness at her end of treatment, and the overwhelming relief at seeing her successfully go through her port surgery…I AM still a cancer mom in my head, with all the irrational panic that goes with the label.  It doesn’t go away because she’s in remission.  It doesn’t go away because we stop the chemo. It doesn’t go away because the port comes out.  I don’t know WHEN it goes away. If it ever does.

When things go as planned, when it’s almost too easy, I know in my heart that we are on the right track.

When things are hard and we have to fight for every step forward, our experience is that it’s not going to happen.

I’m so frustrated…with the being separated, the not knowing what’s happening with our move, with the living under a cloud of doubt and fear…I’m tired of it.

I think we can outrun it.

If we can just get a house, she won’t relapse.  If we can just start packing our boxes, the cancer won’t come back. If we can just find the first foothold into our new live, we CAN outrun the fear.

Yeah. CRAZY. I know it.

She had her monthly clinic visit for blood counts and a checkup…the one we’ll be doing every month for the next  year…then bi-monthly the year after that…and so on and so on.

Her counts were good, exactly what they should be and fine and perfect and just FREAKING.NORMAL.  She looks great, everyone says so.

But I need something to start working out, something to go right with this move.  Because I’m tired of feeling like we’re being kept here for a reason.

I can’t deal with what that reason could be.

28 Comments on “It’s hard work being this crazy”

  1. #1 Barbara Jones
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 2:15 am

    You are not crazy. You are an intuitive woman and mom who has had some unbelievable experiences. Try your best to block those ugly little negative thoughts that try their darndest to creep in and sabotage your well being. Channel that anxiety into positive adrenaline focusing on what you want. Don’t be afraid of ‘jinxing it’…breathe, focus, you will get what you need and hopefully, what you want as well. XOXO

  2. #2 heather...
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 3:24 am

    Waiting for the other shoe to drop is exhausting. But yet, here we sit, waiting.

    It’s not crazy, it’s a protective mechanism. This way we’ll never be blindsided because we KNEW it was coming.

  3. #3 Bobbie
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 9:07 am

    After you have been dealing with and fight through and living through something when it is over you still feel like you are living it. Like your life has no purpose. While your days were so full before they are empty now. And it sort of puts you at a standstill wondering, ok, God what have you got in store for me now.

    Then comes the looking around every corner just thinking around this corner is something else we have to go through I just know it and when you reach that corner and round it, and joy of all joys nothing. You are still skeptical.

    I am still waiting to see what is next. I pray nothing. But, in my mind, there has got to be something.

    I guess I said all that just to say, even though our circumstances are different, I understand what you are saying.

    Sorry about the book. lol

  4. #4 AJ
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 9:59 am

    You’re not alone with the battle in your head. I fight it all the time, even over the little things. The only thing we can do is pray, I know it’s cliche, and easier said than done, but I really believe it’s the answer. I hope everything falls into place for you and your family soon!

  5. #5 Janet
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 10:44 am

    One side of me says if you are crazy then a lot of us are in the boat with you! The other side says it seems like you have earned it, so embrace it! Took a lot of living life to get you to this point. Thanks for putting into words what so many are afraid to speak. Our experience was that we did finally end up moving 900 miles away from everyone we knew and then 3 years later God sent us back to within a mile of where we came from. We never saw either coming until it was dropped in our laps. You never know what the path is that He will unfold before you so trust that He really is in control. Trust me, too, that I know how hard that is. Most of the time I find myself asking for just part of the direction and plan and then thinking that I can handle the rest of it on my own, thank you very much! 🙂 Hang in there…take advantage of being able to claim crazy and live each day to the fullest. I know, easier said than done, but if anyone can do it, you can!

  6. #6 Dana
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 11:31 am

    You are not crazy! The things that went on around you before Peyton’s diagnosis were planned events, just not by us. We have to believe this. (My dad broke his hip in May so he was home with us instead of working in Africa when Landon got sick. My husband ruptured his achilles tendon so he would be on sick leave with me at the hospital. Not coincidences.)

    As for vacations, you might need to take one in July. Here’s why: Wilson ruptured his achilles the week before his scheduled vascectomy. We rescheduled for the second week of August – and Landon was diagnosed before we could go. We were terrified to re-schedule it, but knew we had to for the sanity of our family. So we didn’t overplan it, just called and they took him two days later. It was over. The curse had been broken. So maybe, one Friday in July, you just need to throw the kids in the car with a change of clothes and have an impromptu vacation, to break the curse.

    You don’t need bad things to happen now to prepare you for cancer – your family lived to tell the tale.

    And you are not crazy. Just because we don’t always know the plan doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

  7. #7 BlapherMJ
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I sooo know what you mean…. A friend of mine told me years ago to “take it one minute at a time”. Days occur when I have to do just that…. You’ll be alright, because HE is always in control.

  8. #8 imjustagoyle
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Anissa, you aren’t crazy. But you can’t outrun it and perhaps there is a greater purpose for you being where you physically are right at this moment. It could be that someone else needs you; for your wisdom and strength and to hold their hand. Maybe there is still another lesson to be learned on this leg of your journey.

    I’ve only just recently started reading your blog, but you are so funny, intelligent and compassionate. When I told you I was a bit shy about meeting you (or anyone) at the tweet up you said, “don’t be shy, then I miss the chance to meet you!”. I don’t know how to explain it, but that small comment made my heart smile. As if meeting me was an opportunity missed, even though you knew nothing about me. That kind of humanity is very rare and I’m so glad that we have crossed paths. Keep the faith that whatever your physical location, God is always with you and fate will play out as He has planned. It’s ok to want to run away! Don’t despair if it doesn’t happen in your expected time line. Hugs to you and those beautiful babies of yours.

    Robin (imjustagoyle)

  9. #9 Amber
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    You put into words my exact thoughts. The bargaining, and the fear are part of the crazy, but I think it’s a normal, trying to readjust to normal life kind of crazy.

  10. #10 Kyla
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    That is the sanest thing I’ve ever heard. how could you think/feel any other way? We’ve been through nothing compared to what you guys have endured and yet, I find myself thinking smaller versions of similar thoughts. It is an internal fight for control when you know you really can’t control any of it.

  11. #11 PAPA
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Sometimes you just have to click thru and this is one of those times. thanks for being so brave and sharing this. i’m so glad i met you. i applaud your bravery, honesty, and desire to live the life you should.
    things WILL work out…

  12. #12 Mommy Niri
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I feel for you. My mom had a stroke and died a few months later. It tore my world apart. I was a total workaholic and realized what was important in life was people. The sad thing was it took her death to teach me about life. I live much freely now knowing if I could deal with my most important person gone, I can deal with anything.

    I think you are brave and you are alive. You may not feel it, but when the moment arrives you will know that it is time to move. I think you writing about it is that moment.

    Hugs to you.

  13. #13 EC
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Maybe it’s a good reason you’re supposed to stay? Maybe there is a family you are going to meet soon who is just starting the rollercoaster of having a kid with cancer, and they need someone who’s been through it to be a resource for them.

    I don’t know.

    I’m glad you are learning from all the crap life is throwing at you though, rather than just being defeated by it. Not everyone is able to do so.

  14. #14 Ann
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    OH YEAH, but who would you be if you weren’t?

    If you didn’t think you were crazy at this point – if you didn’t question what’s next and look for signs in the tea leaves of life – THEN I am pretty sure you’d be a Baker Act case.

    You are first and foremost, STRONG. Same for Peter and Nathaniel and Rachael and Peyton. You’ve arleady come through more than most families face their whole lives. And you laugh and love and inspire everyone whose life you touch.

    I just hope that you can find a way to believe that whatever cosmic force put those “speed bumps” in your life to this point for good reasons will see you through whatever lies ahead and keep you loving, laughing and inspiring.

  15. #15 Jennifer
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I agree with your thought that everything happens for a reason and that there is a plan. Don’t forget though, that “waiting” doesn’t always mean “waiting for something bad”. I really, really, believe that things haven’t worked out for you yet because you are “waiting” for something GOOD! I just know it!

  16. #16 Holly at Tropic of Mom
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    I don’t think that’s crazy. Crazy is waking up in the middle of the night after a bad dream and going to check your child because you thought your dream had come true and a mob princess had kidnapped your baby. (Um. That was my craziness.)

    As you said, things happen for a reason and it usually works out the way it should. So this is a good time to hold onto faith.

    I didn’t know you had had a stroke. That sounds really awful! You seem to have recovered well.

  17. #17 Karalyn
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Your not crazy at all. Sending you hugs.

  18. #18 Jessica
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    You are not crazy. Your family has been through a lot over the years and I know I would feel just like you. Big hugs to you and your family.

  19. #19 Faiqa
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Hmm. Maybe just *human*.
    Beautifully, wonderfully, amazingly human.

  20. #20 Megan (mommyesquire)
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    It’s called being a woman and a mom. If that’s crazy – you can proudly call me crazy too!

  21. #21 Angela Grimble
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Dear Anissa,
    We all have questions “why?” That is so normal, if we could “see” into the future would we really want to…Sister, pray. Believe the Lord has your families best interest in store for you. Trust in Him and have FAITH that your move will happen when and if God wants it for you. Until you know, pray for open doors and that if it is you just wanting something that would not be good for you that God would close the door so you continue to have direction.
    In the meantime, I am praying for you to have PEACE while all this plays out.
    I love you,

  22. #22 Carrie
    on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    I have a theory. I think every woman has a crazy gene that kicks in as soon as she finds out she is pregnant with her first. Seriously, I have freaked out about the strangest things, and my life has not had near the challenges yours had. Yet, the fact that you keep your humor and optimism is proof you aren’t crazy.

    BTW, I’ve got pizza rolls waiting when you get up here! 🙂

  23. #23 alayna
    on Jan 23rd, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Girl! I know EXACTLY what you are talking about! Like, everything in your life could be a sign- a warning, take heed, the end is near kind of thing. And I don’t think you’re crazy at all, says one mental patient to the other. Seriously, for me it was songs (no where near as big as houses) when we’d have an AFP test coming up and we’d sing a song in church that said something about taking us through hard times or whatever, I’d think, “Is this you, God? Are you preparing me for the worst?” There was this one song that if we sang it on the Sunday before the test, I just knew it was going to be bad news. And guess what? Joey has been technically cancer free for 11 months now and we sang that song on Sunday. And I could laugh! Seriously! I didn’t take it as a sign for anything! So, the longer you go with good news the easier it is to let go of your crazy. I mean, it always lives there, waiting to rear its ugly head, but you’ve got more control and it lives on a shorter leash – each month, that leash gets shorter. Hold on to your sanity, my friend. Praying for smooth roads soon. Perhaps not getting a house is just a sign that there’s an even better one out there!

  24. #24 Marie
    on Jan 23rd, 2009 at 5:13 am

    I’ve never been a fan of the whole “You are exactly where you need to be, everything is happening at it’s own pace” thing…it feels like you have no control over your own life. But when I’m in your situation of wanting something to happen, and feeling like there are too many obstacles, I try to remind myself that perhaps MY time is not the RIGHT time. Maybe the house you want feels perfect now, but you will discover in 6 months its infested with termites. Or maybe something terrible would happen if you moved NOW and you are being protected.

    I’m not a Christian but I know you are, I think the “Fully Rely On God” or FROG acronym is just what you need! God will find you the right place and time to move.

  25. #25 Sarah Clapp
    on Jan 23rd, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I don’t think you’re crazy, but completely normal. It’s tough, because on one hand you’re told, you have control over your own destiny, on the other hand to have faith. I think we need to have faith that the decisions we make to control our destiny is the right thing and what God wants for us. After what you’ve been through, it’s normal to have some post traumatic stress. You should give yourself some time. Things will work out, and everything’s going to be fine in 2009! xoxo

  26. #26 Amy
    on Jan 23rd, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    (didn’t read the other comments, so forgive me if I’m repeating something already said)

    I don’t think this is crazy at all. I think it’s your primitive “fight or flight” response, which kept our ancestors alive in the face of lions, tigers, and bears… Only you can’t really fight or flee from cancer, you just have to poison it and hope to God that your baby’s body can withstand the poison longer than the cancer can… And it’s scary to think that you could walk that road again, and so you want to run away. Normal, normal. Protective. Sane, even.

    You may be crazy, girlfriend, but in this I think you make perfect sense. Embrace it and know that your mama bear instincts are humming along with perfect efficiency, even when you don’t understand, fully, where they’re trying to take you.


  27. #27 Janna
    on Jan 23rd, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Girl, you aren’t crazy, you’re just a mom – a mom that has had a sick child for so long and (like any normal person) is now expecting the other shoe to drop.

    I am a Christian, too, and it seems to me that God may have a good (not bad) reason for keeping you where you are. Pray that it is a good reason! My children (7 years, 4 months apart) are a perfect example of God’s time, not my time!

  28. #28 threeundertwo
    on Jan 23rd, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Human? yes. Survivor of much? yes. Articulate and introspective and observant? yes. An incredible wife, mother, friend? yes. A talented writer? yes.

    Crazy? Not so much. You say it’s hard work – I say take the day off. Crazy will still be there when you want to come back to it.