Life… it is indeed a rollercoaster. And oh, the yin-and yang of the ride. You love them, you desperately can’t wait to get on them, and then the butterflies in your stomach and second guesses that creep in as you scoot closer and closer to the front of the ride, compounded by the later blood curdling screams as you fling side to side, upside down and all around! Don’t forget about the faces. You know, the “gorgeous” ones the ride’s cameras seem to catch just perfectly for all other riders to slowly pass and ponder over after the ride… forever etched in their brains. Caught on film to be put into someone’s scrapbook to take out and laugh about for years to come….or, better yet, thrown onto YouTube for all to see… for ETERNITY!!! Oh joy!
I do love rollercoasters. Yet, this rollercoaster I’m on, I’m not always so sure about. I can’t explain my emotions, I’m up when you’d think I’d be down or vice versa, or even sideways… or really anyway in between than what one might think. I’m all over the map.
I hate to say that “ya kinda have to go through it to get it“, because I don’t always believe that’s fair. Yet, sometimes I find it to be true in some situations only to more closely relate to the particular subject at hand. Otherwise, I feel we ALL have common threads to whatever is on our plates in all stories. THAT’S WHY I BLOG. There’s no need to compare or undermine our circumstances; rather, I believe we have what we have on our shoulders for a reason and can share and grow with and from one another positively vs. alone. Don’t ya think?
(side tracking….. Back to my rollercoaster….)
I gotta say I don’t always know quite how I feel about this roller coaster. The ride is bumpy, and even when we feel the high and the joy of fabulous news, it’s hard for our family to fully embrace it, because we know we’re still on the ride.
What do I mean by that?
We found out that we were “Cancer FREE” last week and celebrated with a dance party , ice cream sundaes and invited cousins over for more fun with king cake and cheers. However, just before family came over, many of us caught ourselves clamming up and closing off. My eldest daughter (Sidekick) mentioned not wanting to have any cake, just having a “normal playdate”. I didn’t want any wine (And I looove my vino! I mean, really. Call a doctor when mama doesn’t have her glass of the good grape in her hand! But I just wanted to hang out and not many any toasts or cheers. “Let’s just call this a get together“, I said as my sis-in-law was texting my brother, “not a ‘celebration’, just a “get together”. Why?
I knew exactly why. Ya see, there’s this fear that many other survivors have mentioned to me that they’ve experienced, and I’m feeling already as well. A fear that when I tell people that I’m “cancer free” that they’ll simply high-five me, move on, and forget about me while I still have 2/3rds of a marathon left to run.
As far as our Angelette clan can see, their mom/wife is bald, recovering from one major 10 hour surgery with 4 “train tracks” of stitches and bruises, while preparing for radiation, with more surgeries and chemo ahead. Bare with me a sec, I sound like a whiner. I swear I’m not! In fact, I just am in the middle of doing heaps of laundry and anything else I can try to “do” because I don’t like people to give me sympathy and “do it ALL for me”… I’m just stating facts for a moment. It’s only a moment…. But, I have a family of 5 little kiddos that look at me and don’t “see” cancer-free. My kids want to “see” my long blonde hair again (not a wig either). When we say “Mommy is all better, no more cancer!” Then, they don’t want me to have any more treatments, and want to see my hair on my head, where they can brush it! So, please forgive them if they don’t get too excited when you hug them about our great “news”. They truly are very happy about it. And we are beyond grateful for that news. We’ve been cuttin’ a rug at home with one another! Seriously. (We can really bring some “game” when it comes to Wii Dance Party if anyone’s up for the challenge?? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller??) But, we ain’t done, and they know it. They fear your hug means… you think we’re “done”. The fear is that you’ll leave now.
That fear is real to many, many patients over there at the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, and I’m sure, to many of you who’ve struggled with any major health issue, burden, or loss. The second half of the journey is often, even more emotionally, the hardest. You fear your supporters will wear out. And without you, and your prayers and love, where would we be?
And then it hit me… in more ways than one…
A FELLOW CANCER FIGHTER… GETS HIS WINGS
A fellow graduate from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Paul Coakley, had been fighting to live for his wife and his family of 3 young children (with another due in April), with everything he had. As Doctors said, “he’s been living on sheer will power”. On Tuesday, January 20th, 2015, his soul passed. Or better yet, he left this earth to go be a daddy to his 4 other little angels in Heaven while his wife, Ann, stayed back with their angels that are here on Earth. Heart breaking. But the honor and beauty of their faith and the strength of this fighter was above and beyond saintly.
After simply “not feeling very well” this fall, this guy was diagnosed just a few short months ago with one form of cancer, which quickly spread throughout his body to other forms of cancer and threw their family on the fast track to facing life decisions and threw so many families and communities all around the world, like YOU have, onto their knees like unbelievable PRAYER WARRIORS. THAT was the miracle. The power of so many people uniting in prayer, talking to God.
I know both you would be blessed to read their story, and they would be blessed by your prayers at this time, as they’ve made their TEAM PAUL and ANN COAKLEY page public for just that, PRAYER. PLEASE JOIN US:
How can you help? Click link below to:
Dear Paul, you were one adventurous guy at Steubie U (known for leading groups to jump bridges into the Ohio River! among many other stories told). You’ve inspired us all by your sheer will power to fight and live for your family and your demonstration of what marriage and family really is. Ann, we won’t stop praying for and lifting you and your family up. We know it’s not over for you. God’s peace and courage be with you now, and with your children.
**going link crazy here, but yet another link to blog post about the adventurous “legend” that he was:
Our whole family had been on our knees, every child in our family had teamed up to match a family member in theirs. We prayed with all our heart with so many other families all over the world, literally. To hear this news… was a punch in the gut on so many levels. I cried, and cried, and cried some more. I know that at I hadn’t known Paul well. I know that so many were so very close to this man and are experiencing such great loss on such a deeper level. I merely knew him as an acquaintance from school, as he was a few years behind me, I believe? But, his diagnosis and his struggle made everything that we’d been faced with so real. It slapped our whole family in the face and rocked our world. We wanted him to win so badly. I hated that cancer so much. I do. I hate that ugly, rotten, cancer.
My kids looked at me with giant puppy eyes, “Did he make it? Is Mr.Paul still here? Was there a miracle?” They knew I had something to tell them last night at our night prayers when they looked up at our “#PRAYFORPAUL” sign on our prayer shelf in our living room. “Well, Guys, Mr.Paul is still a daddy with his babies, but with his 4 babies in Heaven, just like our 3 little babies in Heaven. He fought with all of his might for his family, and He told Jesus ‘your will be done’ pretty much. He’s a real warrior. He fought harder than anything, but God knew it was best for him to come ‘home’ now so his body would feel no more pain. He loved his family and his faith more than anything. He’d be proud of the miracle that did happen. The miracle in the ‘gazillion’ people that got on their knees to pray. I bet he’s pretty darn proud of that! Now let’s keep praying for him and for his family and asking for Mr.Paul and his angel babies to pray for us, too.” And we did. We all prayed, teary eyed. It hit home pretty hard. But we prayed. And we won’t stop.
That could have been us. Dear, God, that could have been us. Thank you, Sweet Lord. This roller coaster of life is just that, a crazy, up, down, and all around ride. But, as the previous meme depicted, It’s a ride. I bought a ticket, and I’m hanging on until they kick me off. I am sooooo ridiculously thankful that for whatever reason, God sees my time’s not up yet. I agree, dang it! I’m not gonna take that for granted. I celebrate my “cancer free” announcement. I now move on and will “keep my head in the game”, but seize the days of life in general. Yes, I’m recovering from surgery, and “yes” I have a road ahead…. but that doesn’t mean I can’t live and do whatever I feel I can when I can, because God gave me a gift to stay here with my children that I should be so grateful for. “Cancer-free” means that I can move through the treatments ahead without a looming question over my head of, “Is this working?” Praise God!!!
I’m so humbled to be given this opportunity and, mark my words, I will pay it forward and give back. Somehow, some way. I have to.
MUSIC GETS ME THROUGH IT…
The best way I can sum all the crazy roller coaster of emotions is a bit like this (and this is only a drop in the bucket of my “never-ending play list” of tunes running through my head, “keeping my head in the game” these days):
*Other than, of course my usual “3 Little Birds” & “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough“, … here’s a few more
(feel free to click each link below to jam along, most with video included)
RAY CHARLES:HIT THE ROAD JACK (bye bye, cancer!)
ELTON JOHN: I’M STILL STANDING (hilarious video!!)
U2: BEAUTIFUL DAY (perfect windows-down-driving song!)
DAVID CROWDER: OH PRAISE HIM (Amazing video…good stuff!)
Thank you for not giving up on us, or for the repose of my previously mentioned fellow college grad, Paul’s, soul and his wife, Ann, and their family.
Thank you for always sending me your prayer requests. There are so many of you whom I know are struggling just like me, and I haven’t forgotten, nor will I give up on you. It’s a roller coaster. I bought a ticket and I’m not letting go. You’re prayers are keeping my grip strong and my worries light. I hope you feel it reciprocated. Thank you.
“…It’s gonna be alright.” –Bob Marley