Cancer: The Monster We Fight – by Guest Blogger, Jen DeZeeuw

I’ve been moved for some amount of days now to get these words in my head that come mostly from my heart out onto a blog, but finding time for that seems like a chuckle-worthy joke at the moment, so this is what I have for now.

I want to be inspiring for people.  I’ve said it all along, that if our story of what’s hard in our lives can glean hope or validation in someone else’s hard story, then good! But I’m learning that the most validation I can offer to others comes only if I share with them the depths of our junk, while I’m waist-deep in it.  Also, when I write about my husband’s illness, please know that I’m never soliciting sympathy, but rather strength.

People tell me I’m “strong” and ask “how am I possibly doing this hard thing,” but guess what? What else am I supposed to do? I chose not to participate in whatever the alternative is. I fight because of love. But please know the fighting doesn’t come without fear and tears, lots of tears… It is a package deal, here, and not a good one. It makes me cringe to think about the girl in me who falls into the fetal position and cries uncontrollably.

Cancer is a monster that will not let go. We think it lets go, but it doesn’t and it’s got its grips on my husband. We’ll fight again. He responds well to the treatment, but when people ask how my day was today, I think, “I was at the cancer center, protecting my husband from people around him so he wouldn’t lose his balance, how do you think it was?” I NEED all the strength I can get because, friends, this is the hardest we’ve ever done. I saw things that no young wife should ever have to see her young husband go through. I can’t unsee the things I’ve seen. I can’t unfeel the feelings I’ve had. I can’t undo the hurt, the fear, the loneliness and isolation. Friends reach out and extend prayer, but no one knows what it really feels like to go through this and it creates anger in me. I’ve been mad at everyone for having healthy husbands and taking day trips that we should be taking.

This is the ugly that I haven’t wanted you to see. But, I still smile, and when you see me smile, it’s usually authentic, because I’m a happy person in my core. We both are, and that’s what will get us through.