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The Life You Almost Lived

Grenades. Lots of them. For the rest of your life.


This was how a doctor explained my diagnosis to me shortly after moving to Florida.


He said that from now on it would be as if little grenades are going off in my body and once one problem is taken care of, another fire will pop up.


Sitting there in tears, I couldn’t help but feel the weight of what he was saying.


I didn’t want to believe him. Every part of me wanted [wants] him to be wrong.


A week before Christmas last year, we found out that my treatment was working and that my tumor on the right side of my brain (my good ear) was shrinking.


I was elated! I thought, “This is it—I’m going to be healed!


I’m a firm believer in miracles and hoped that maybe this meant I might be getting one.


Two weeks ago I had another MRI (once again, the week before Christmas.)


After being off of treatment for 6-months, my doctor’s are concerned that my tumors may start to grow again.


The initial report claimed that my tumors are stable, but upon further inspection, my doctor feels that the tumors may have grown slightly since my MRI 3-months ago.


Thankfully, technology allows doctors to perform further analysis on MRI’s, so they can more accurately detect tumor growth, but the tests take time.


So now we wait.


If you read my post “The Art of Becoming Deaf,” then you’re familiar with the doubts I’ve had about traveling this next year.


Emotionally, it’s not easy to take a leap like the one we’ve made, but dealing with my health condition on top of it has been a whirlwind.


I’ve been battling with my fears of what might happen this year, and I’m terrified that my tumors might grow.


While waiting for the final results of my MRI, I can’t help but feel like the doctor’s grenade analogy is unfortunately accurate.


Whether I get good results this time or not, results are only good until the next test.


Then you start all over again.


And wait for the next grenade to go off.


Before my diagnosis, ringing in the New Year was always filled with pure hope and excitement.


My dreams weren’t tainted by the threat of health problems.


It’s hard not to picture this next year [as incredible as traveling the world will be] without thinking about the possible challenges I may face.


Even though I pride myself on my positive outlook on life, I still struggle with feeling helpless.


One of the most important lessons I’ve learned this last year is: You need to grieve.


So, I’m grieving the loss of the life I almost lived.


A life filled with predictability and normalcy. A stable life that followed the path I planned. And a life where I was healthy.


But, also a life that in the words of my husband “would probably have been boring anyway.”


My life may not look the way I originally wanted it to, but in many ways, it is so much bigger and better than I could have imagined.


The reality is life can be hard. For everyone.


And some years may be better than others. We all need to grieve something at some point, but it’s also important to practice finding joy and acceptance.


For me, I’m finding joy in my marriage and the incredible adventure God has given us this year. I’m learning to accept the changes that have already occurred in my life and will continue to happen.


But most importantly, I’m learning to accept the new me [grenades and all.]


[Side note]: I HIGHLY recommend listening to the song “Try” by Mandy Harvey. She’s a singer who competed on America’s Got Talent this year after losing her hearing when she was 18 years old. I recently read her wonderful book “Sensing the Rhythm: Finding My Voice in a World Without Sound.” I’m so encouraged by her story and think you will be too!



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