by Stacey Embry,
Morgan County Library
Sometimes it is Hard
This last treatment was different, not necessarily worse, just different. I spent my follow-up appointment discussing panic attacks and anxiety. I have discovered I have a few triggers and they are hard to avoid. Angela, the social worker, discussed that PTSD is a real thing for cancer patients. I believe her.
Those letters have turned over in my head since then, and you know the empathetic part of me, could only think about the many journeys of others. I used to tell my kids to think outside of themselves, done. But I don’t tell you this to feel sorry for others, I tell you this so you will appreciate your own journey.

We are not in a competition to see whose situation is worse. I post about my journey on Facebook, good and bad, so that people will know what a diagnosis of cancer is for me. I don’t post to make them feel sorry for me or to feel better about their situation, it is not a competition. Everyone has their own path to live, and it is important to respect yourself and what your situation in life is.
Someone asked me why I had been sad. Hmmm. I have cancer. Enough said, but I went on to share my triggers and the general anxiety that happens in a physical content. For example; they put saline in my port, I taste that sour garlic taste, and my blood pressure skyrockets. I have never had “white-coat syndrome” until now. I am a pretty healthy person and have been off bp meds for more than five years. If you think I have control over my bp at the doctor’s office, you are wrong. People who don’t suffer from anxiety, don’t get it. “Don’t worry.” Okay, thank you, I wish I would have thought of that.

Again, this is why I always plug reading, so that we can learn about others. Find friends who are different than you, but remember it is not a competition. My life is my life, my anxiety is mine, and, guess what? God knows it. So, as far as “let go and let God” goes, he knows me. He knows I pray every day. He is with me every time that saline hits the back of my throat, and he loves me anyway.

Wow, guess this is the “Pastor’s Pen” this week. Let’s keep it there for a little longer. What is your goal in your spiritual life? According to my God, it is to love one another as he loved us. John 15:12 reads “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” None of that “love the sinner, not the sin,” just love another. It is not a competition. Okay, I will step off the pulpit and put my librarian hat back on.

Read books. Yep, there are the words of wisdom from the library lady. If you have a hard time understanding other people, I honestly wish you would make new friends, friends different than you, friends who have those sins you don’t want to love. I know that is hard, so read or watch a documentary that is outside your comfort zone. We have these things at the library and you can borrow them for two weeks, we will even renew them a time or two if needed.
So, yes, this treatment I struggled mentally. The gift of cancer is vulnerability. I shared a TED talk about vulnerability at an adult program. The first time I watched it, I cried. I admired the path that Brene Brown went through to share the joy that comes from being vulnerable. Admitting our weakness and asking others for help, as I did at my doctor’s appointment, prepared me for that question, “Why are you sad?” Because I can be.

For more information, visit the Morgan County Library, 600 N. Hunter, in Versailles; call 573-378-5319; or see the library’s website at Library hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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