I am usually not one to feel sorry for myself. I am so thankful that I was raised to live in this mindset: It is what it is. You do what you have to do. On most days it is easy for me to rest in that. Why drown in your sorrows? It’s not going to make the situation better. In fact, it will likely make it worse. But every now and then, something will happen, and it will trigger the reality of my situation. I have a brain tumor. This thing could take my life, leaving my family without a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister.

Yesterday was my day of being thrown back into reality. My college volleyball coach contacted me to let me know that our team is being inducted into our school’s hall of fame. After we finished our conversation, I was hit with this profound sadness. I started reminiscing a bit about those college days. The good ol’ days. The days before I had, or knew I had, this brain tumor growing inside of my head. I often refer to them as the pre-brain tumor days. Life was easy. Each day’s agenda included things like sleeping in, going to class if I felt like it, hanging out with friends, sports practice….fun stuff. The reality of our life right now really hit me. Life isn’t easy. We have a lot to deal with, more than most people our age. Doctor appointments, treatment, etc. is a part of our everyday life. It’s like we have this amazing life, yet there is this whole brain tumor thing that keeps invading it. But after wallowing in self pity for a bit, I was able to sit back and smile. I was able to smile because we are so blessed. God has given us two healthy little boys who constantly fill our lives with joy and laughter. We have a loving family that is always there to help us out when we need it, which has proven to be quite often. This tumor definitely keeps me humbled, especially when I am feeling weak physically. I deal with seizures as a result of this tumor, which is always a painful reminder of the formidable foe I am fighting. It’s also a constant reminder that I am not my own. I’m alive by God’s grace only. There are so many people who have it so much worse. A girl in our neighborhood, who was a few years younger than me, just recently passed away from the same type of tumor that I have. Five minutes ago, I received an email saying that a friend of ours just received news that his tumor has spread and there is nothing more they can do. I recently went to a brain tumor conference and it was filled with people that had bald heads from doing chemo, which exposed the all too familiar scar that outlined a prior craniotomy. A good majority of these people have a grade 4 tumor. Mine is a grade 2. The difference in prognosis is huge. These are the things that remind me how blessed I am. When I start to think about this, my thought pattern almost always follows down the same path. Why has God blessed me with a very manageable tumor? What is his purpose for my life through this? I don’t want to go through this journey without knowing that lives have been impacted. If lives weren’t touched through it, and it was just something that ‘happened to me’, then how depressing! Why can’t a broken leg just have been the thing that ‘happened to me’?
Because I’m looking for purpose through all of this, I am always on the prowl for somebody that needs my help, whether that is through encouragement, information, a hug, whatever. I love that. I love that my pride is constantly kept in check because I’m not on top of the world. I love that I am in a position where I have to look past myself and focus on others. My personality is to achieve, achieve, achieve. It’s so easy for me to grab every detail in my life and set it in order. I have plans A through Z, and then back-up plans for when A through Z don’t work out the way I had planned them to. While it can be a good characteristic, it’s often done at the expense of those around me. I am so focused on my plans, that things around me get pushed aside. “I’ll get to that after I accomplish this. Oh, they need me? Ok, just a second. I’ll be there in awhile, but I have some other things to take care of first.” If God makes time for every one of us and gives us the grace and hope that we need, then we have no excuse not to offer the same to those around us.
So yes, it was a hard day yesterday, but today was a good day. Today I was able to regain perspective. I don’t want to look at my past as the pre-brain tumor days. I want to just be thankful for the past, but look forward to my post-brain tumor days. The days that will happen after I am healed of this tumor. The days when I can look back and say “Yeah, that’s why God allowed that. That is so awesome. God is good.”