The Weight

I’m tired…. worn out.

Not just physically but emotionally. This disease is sitting heavy on my body and on my spirit and the weight is getting me down. It’s been nine months now but yesterday was the worst single day for me since I was diagnosed. Cancer markers rising, I couldn’t contact Rachel… I felt incredibly isolated and helpless.

Realistically, there is absolutely nothing I can do to make myself better. Not a thing. It’s completely out of my hands, like so much of our lives these days. Everything is “wait and see”. My life is now not mine in the most literal sense possible. All I can do is keep asking God to intervene and keep showing up for chemo… which is kind of daunting given what it does to my body.

Yesterday I was pretty frightened and I found myself uttering those familiar words… ‘God, help’… though this time with a renewed sense of urgency.

It’s one thing to believe that God is going to do something when the picture is fine and dandy, and the cancer levels are decreasing. It’s another thing entirely when they’re going up with such regularity. This is where faith really comes into it’s own. The Bible defines faith as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. My recovery, my healing, most certainly fits those two characteristics…. right now it is very much hoped for and very much unseen… at least to the human eye anyway.

It would be really easy to get pissed off at God… for a whole host of reasons actually. Let’s start with actually having cancer in the first place and move on from there. But God didn’t give me this disease. As I have said before, He’s not that kind of God. Spiteful vengeance and retaliatory payback are not in his nature. It’s impossible for those things to be present in a being who is called Love (1 John 4:8). So by working out what God is, it’s easy to deduce what He isn’t. And He isn’t the kind of guy that goes around hitting people up with terminal diseases.

But why, then, is this disease even here at all? I have no family history of cancer. I am, for the most part, healthy (though Rachel would argue I don’t get nearly enough exercise), I don’t drink or do drugs (never have) and live a pretty ‘clean’ lifestyle.

So why is it here?

I have no idea.

And I really wish it wasn’t something I had to contend with.

I wish the word ‘Oncology’ was a rarely, if ever, present word in my vocabulary.

I wish that I had no idea what a CEA 19-9 marker count was.

I wish that every little pop, cramp and twinge in my body didn’t make me stop and wonder what was going on.

I wish that Cody didn’t try and identify with me by having “a sore stomach like you, Dad”…. even when he doesn’t have a sore stomach. As beautiful as it is that he wants to be like his Daddy, how painful it is for me that he is trying to emulate cancer symptoms in order to do so. Bless his little heart. I’m so glad he doesn’t understand what is really going on. One day I will sit him down and explain all of this to him… I’ll tell him how Daddy was very scared that he would have to leave him and not be able to come back and that Daddy fought very hard to make sure he got to stay around. I’ll show him the photo’s, the doctor’s reports, the scans and x-rays, the scars, so he will know what great lengths I went to to be there for him…. he will know how much I love him by what I endured for him.

And he will know how God rescued his Daddy.

One day.

But in the meantime… it’s one foot in front of the other. Day by day… sometimes minute by minute. Just keep swimming.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (The Message) says this:

Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it… and then God told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

That’s the paradox, the contradiction of God. My weakness makes room for His strength. And in these times that are fearful and tiring and uncertain, when I feel I have nothing left in the tank, God shows up and reminds me that there is indeed nothing I can do… and He offers me His strength… because it is more than enough to carry this weight.

Do I understand it?

Of course not.

Do I believe it?

With every fiber of my being. And I will hold onto it until my last breath.

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~ by Kristian Anderson on July 6, 2010.

11 Responses to “The Weight”

  1. hi kristian

    what would it be like if you knew that you were not going to recover from the cancer to your body?

    ive been following your blogs through a friend of yours in nz. my question isnt aimed to question whether you will or wont recover fully from the cancer, rather at the source of your hope. it appears that your strength is coming from your belief in a god who will make you victorious over the cancer invading your body. perhaps gods strength is in learning to mourn well in death rather than in achieving life; not that we dont rejoice in the latter.

    god bless you as you fight on.

    please be encouraged by my response.

    a friend

    • Hello Evan,

      I don’t know who you are but if you were indeed a friend, as you say you are, you would understand how distressing your comment actually is. Both to myself and to many others who love me, and my wife and my sons. For whatever reason you have found it appropriate to highlight the fact that death is indeed a very real prospect in my cancer fight. I would have thought that my ongoing awareness of this fact was obvious. I live with this thought every day. I wonder if you’re quite able to comprehend what it is like to live with it? Perhaps you are.

      What would it be like if I knew I would never recover?

      Devastating. What did you think my answer would be? I love life and I love living. I have a lot to live for.

      God’s strength in learning to mourn well in death…. as you have said, is of no benefit for me. Those needing that sort of strength would be the ones I leave behind. I will not need that strength should my battle prove unsuccessful. My wife and sons, on the other hand…. well, you can join the dots. It paints a heartbreaking picture, does it not?

      As to the source of my hope.. it is unfailing.

      Are you familiar with the story of the three Israelites thrown into the fiery furnace?

      Daniel 3:16-18 quotes them as saying:

      Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

      My God is able to save me. But even if He does not, I will follow Him still, because my hope lies not in the things this world can offer, but in His great love for me, my wife and my children. My life is not my own, it is His… and as heartbreaking as it would be for my wife and children to see my dead, my days are His to do with as he sees fit. I have a hope that those who do not know Christ can only imagine. Death cannot take that from me. Do I fear death? Not death itself, because I know what awaits. But I do fear leaving my beautiful family behind. And I do fear the ramifications on them if I were to pass away. It is a very heavy weight that I carry in this regard. I contemplate it daily.

      I don’t know if you have any sort of belief in God… if you don’t then I pray that he shows himself to you. As for me, I know Him. I know that he is mighty to save and that he cares about me and my family more than anyone ever could. I can’t ‘prove’ to you how I know this… but, live or die, I belong to Him.

      • Further to this post… Evan, please see my post re: ‘Dress Code’.

  2. We fight and stand with you- in faith- Kris. Your words are poignant and truth in its most raw form. You inspire with your courage and restore the rest of us to hope in our struggles and to continue to fight our battles with courage and faith like yours. Prayers and love continue to be with you, my friend.

  3. Kris, your words summed up exactly what i was thinking…..

  4. hi kristian

    my appologies if my comment has distressed you or your family. i doubt very much that you have any enemies in your emotional and physical struggle. i tried to convey a different perspective than the way it was interpreted by you. perhaps in the future we might be able to discuss this, but while you might consider that i wrote in such tone i do not think it wise that we do so now.

    may you continue to know gods love as you have indicated to me and that of your friends and family. there are many who are praying with you. evan

  5. kris good luck mate
    thats the first of your blogs ive read… really well written and inspiringly honest.
    keep fighting on man thinking and praying for ya
    danny jackson

  6. Hi Evan,
    May I just say that whilst you may be offering another perspective, the wisdom and timing of it is really off. A real key would have been Kris’ first words of being “really tired and worn out.” You will never know the battle that has been waged, particularly in the last 24 hours… Not a good time to come in with your ‘perspective’! Plus not knowing Kristian personally, I really wonder what you are trying to add to the equation. What is he supposed to do, lay down and die?

    As Kris said, of course we have faced the possibility that he could die, which is why the journey is so difficult, there is a lot at stake here. But we are believing God has spoken His words into our hearts “With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation!” Psalm 91:14-16.

    When Kristian was first diagnosed, as his mother, I sat before God and cried out to Him to speak to me about this situation. He gave me the above Psalm and then confirmed it 3 times. We stand on that! No matter how it looks we fight the fight of faith to the very end.

    Kristian is my first born son and, as with all my children, very, very precious to me. We have fought many battles over the years where death has tried to claim him prematurely. This battle is more ominous and difficult but nevertheless, we shall win this one as well.

    The thing is though, regardless, we still believe in a beautiful God who loves us and fights for us. As Christians we know this life is transitory and that we are eternal beings created to spend eternity with God. We win either way! However, having said that, we also believe that life is a gift and that we have an enemy who has come “to rob, steal and destroy.” We value the gift of Kristian’s life and Rachel and our beautiful grandsons, and I for one, will not give it up easily!!!

    My prayer for you is that you will learn a heart of wisdom and even if you think these things, which is your right to do so, timing and silence are often a more excellent way. God bless you. Sandy Anderson

  7. Hi Kris,
    Your blog was made known to me by a lovely friend of ours, Tam, who I know through church.
    I am reading it, blown away by the similarities in journey, even though they will be very different also.
    I just wanted to encourage you by letting you know that I was diagnosed with an ‘incurable’ cancer 3 years ago. I have had chemo, radio, stem-cell transplant, more chemo, more radio, pathalogical fractures all over my body, a hip replacement, large tumours in my skull and chest… the list goes on!
    I too, believe in a loving God who heals. After 3 years of constant treatment, and living with death as a daily reality, I am thankful that our God has healed! The last four test results I have received show no trace of cancer!
    I want you to know this, as I have learned over the time that faith comes by hearing, so it is good for us to be sharing testimonies of God’s goodness and power. God longs to be gracious to us, and I believe completely that He restores. I am yet to read your writings, but will do so that I can pray for you as many have prayed for me.
    Even from what little I have read of your experiences, a lot of them are matching up with what issues I have battled with over the years.
    Hope is important, but hope in our Creator is essential.
    I am not sending you my blog link because I want you to read it – as I know how overwhelming it can be to receive so much info from so many people about cancer (they do so out of love), but rather, it is there if you need encouragement and reminders that God can rescue you from the grave – He has for me, and I pray the same for you.
    Will be an privilege for me to walk beside you as you continue your experience Kris.

  8. Hello Kris…
    This world of ours becomes quite small via emails and blogs…I live in BC Canada and a friend brought your blog to my attention….
    Your blog on July 5th sounded so dismal and scary that you had reached rock bottom and I recognized this as I too have been there…
    Three years ago on the 8th of this month I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer also in my liver and told to get my affairs in order as statistically I had approx a year. I am a widow with three sons and like you have commented in reply to Evan it’s not your fear of death it’s the aftermath your loved ones are left to deal with and grieve.
    I see a huge difference in your blog the next day …you humbled yourself to God in public that you need his help and he has picked you up, your outlook changed. You dusted yourself off and stood up and with every tiny bit of energy left in you …you will carry on.
    I believe there is huge power in prayer and for the many who don’t leave a comment…I’m sure each like myself say a prayer on you and your family’s behalf.
    God bless you and allow you to conquer this cancer invading your body..

    I know each of our journey’s with having cancer are all different but I just wanted to add that I’ve had the chemo and herceptin and radiation and meds I’ll likely take for the rest of my life …The Dr’s will never admit that I’m cured…I’m considered a NED (no evidence of disease) That is the difference between man and God…God can heal but Man (Dr’s) need proof
    I’ll take God’s diagnosis thank you!!

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