Editor’s note: Today’s story is by Haley Bellows. For more about Haley, you can follow her on Facebook. Speaking of Facebook, do you like Prodigal on Facebook? It’s a great way to stay in the loop so you don’t miss a single post.
This word alone causes more emotions than any other word I know. I don’t think I knew the extent of this until a little over a week ago.
I was at the doctor’s office after finding a golf-ball sized noncancerous tumor in my uterus a couple of days prior. I thought I was there to talk about the surgical procedure I would be undergoing in order to get rid of this, but instead I heard that word.
I could not tell you where my mind went after that, but I know it was not in the doctor’s office anymore.
Everything has been a blur the last two weeks. My mind has been spinning with more unnerving medical terms than I have ever heard in my entire life.
Submucosal Uterine Fibroid. Noncancerous Tumor. Surgery. Leiomyosarcomas. Soft tissue cancer. Laparoscopy. Hysterectomy. Lymphoma. Radiation. Chemotherapy.
Doesn’t that just give you the chills?
After I first found out that the doctors found three spots of cancer in my uterus, I was terrified.
I am 20 years old. That was the last thing I ever expected to hear.
After my doctor’s appointment, I sat in my car for an hour just crying. Mascara running down my face, eyes burning, phone in hand. I didn’t even know where to start because I had so many people praying on my behalf that day. How do I begin to explain this to people who are relying on God to pull through for me?
I felt so confused about why this was happening and about the common theme I found in people’s responses.
“I’m so sorry.”
“Is there anything you need or that I can do for you?”
“I don’t know what to say.”
And my least favorite of all…
“God has a plan for this.”
Really? Does He? Is that supposed to comfort me?
That was the last thing I wanted to hear. In my mind, there was no reason that this should be happening to me.
I went through the weekend packing my days full of activities in order to avoid thinking about the fact that I would be having surgery soon. I was counting down days.
Monday came around and I tried to live life normally, even though I had this huge part of me that no one knew.
I found myself so bitter.
People would be complaining about a headache that caused them to not be able to do their paper, and all I could think about was the fact that I have cancer and I got it done. Why couldn’t they?
I had several appointments with professors to figure out what I was going to do with school because I only had 2 weeks of classes, finals week, and then it would be summer break. I had several coffee dates to talk about how I am doing. I never knew what to say because I had avoided thinking about it.
Wednesday came around I was leaving that day to head home before my surgery.
I went to the spiritual life house on campus and they prayed for me before I left. Then that night I had some people from my church at home pray over me. I had never felt so blessed in my entire life.
I was so certain that God was going to do something miraculous, and I had so many people believing that for me too.
Thursday morning I got so many texts from people saying they were praying for me or they were sending me verses to provide peace before I went under. I walked into the doctor’s office, uncertain of what I was going to wake up to. If the cancer spread throughout my uterus, they were going to do a hysterectomy.
They hooked me to the fluid IV and the surgeon asked if I had any last requests. I started crying about wanting to keep my uterus, and then I asked if I could have my stuffed pig on the table with me until I went under anesthesia. The surgeon chuckled.
“Sorry for laughing.” he said. I just have never had anyone over the age of 8 or 9 ask if they could have a stuffed animal on the table with them.”
The next thing I remember is counting down. 10…9…8…I was out.
I woke up not remembering ever falling asleep. The nurses quickly rushed over asking questions. I had no idea that I was just out for 6.5 hours while to doctors did everything possible to save my uterus.
And they did. Praise the Lord.
But they then began to inform me that the cancer had spread in to my lymph nodes and there was nothing that they could do while in surgery to help that. I would need to go through radiation and chemotherapy treatments and I don’t think that I fully understood that until the next day.
I found myself so angry. I truly belied that God was going to perform a miracle. I have read so many stories about doctors going in and the cancer was gone.
Why couldn’t that be me?
In the midst of my anger fit, I was texting a professor from my school. After babysitting his children and falling in love with them, I had become a part of the family. He sent me a text that has stuck with me every time my mind wanders.
“I certainly think anger is appropriate. The Bible is full of people who felt anger at God and God allowed it, even encouraged it.
Feel free to be angry.
And also try to hang onto the thread of Christ’s presence, which is there no matter how you feel.”
I sit here two days after my surgery, still feeling as if this is all a dream. I start chemotherapy on Monday and I am not going to say that I feel complete peace because I would be lying. But what I do know is that I am surrounded by people who are helping me through this.
I have been getting daily reminders that I am not alone in this. People have been blessing me left and right.
I am choosing to have a tight grip on my belief that Christ is always present, no matter whether I understand His plan in this or not.
I don’t have a happy ending to this story. I am not able to say that I am cancer-free or explain to you how I made it through this journey.
At least not yet.
Question: Have you ever walked through something that has made you angry with God? How did you respond?