I Want My Life Back!

Dear, dear ones,

I’m astounded that so many of you tell me that my blog is wonderful, that you love rooting for me to get well and want to know all about my ‘battles’.  I should be flattered that you compliment me, and tell me I write beautifully.   One after another you’ve come forward to tell me you’re inspired by my strength and courage.  You say that I’m amazing.

How could anyone believe such nonsense?  ‘Pam the Amazing’ is a silly, silly fairy tale.  The real Pam is nothing like the myth.  Please, please, please let me dispel the myths.  

I’m not strong.  I’m nothing close to strong.  I crumble every morning.  I fall apart each day around noon.  After my nap I have a breakdown.  I dissolve into tears at dinnertime.  I get up a hundred times overnight and every time I wonder why the world is falling apart.  My world is falling apart.

I’m not brave.  I tremble when I consider what’s ahead of me.  I’d do anything to avoid all of this horribleness.  I wish I could tell you that I ask God to comfort me in my distress.  I don’t.  I ask God to turn the clock back and make me not have a brain tumor.  Every day, when I go to the Brigham and Women’s for radiation I see brave people, so I know what brave looks like.  Every week, when I arrive for my appointments at the Dana Farber and wish that if I had to see a doctor it would be any kind of doctor at all other than an oncologist, I look around the waiting room and see brave people.  If you need to shower someone with praise for being courageous, pass me by and give a salute to one of these folks.  They actually deserve your admiration.

I’m not amazing.  I’m heartbroken, I’m anxious.  Maybe you’re mixing me up with someone else.  You know this stuff we hear at church about humbly accepting God’s will?  Not me.  I’ve taken God off my Christmas card list.  Having cancer sucks!  Not just for me, but for all the people who love and care for me.

I’m grateful.  Believe me, I’m grateful.  I’m so, so, so grateful for everything everyone has done but I wish none of you had to do any of it.  I’m the one who’s used to doing for others.  Visit the downhearted?  Comfort the afflicted?  Bring healing to the sick?  No problem, I’m there.  Want to know a secret?  I like being the strong one.  How did I become the consumer of generosity when I’m much more comfortable producing it?

I don’t want to be sick.  I don’t want to be sad.  I don’t want to be scared.  I want to be healthy and happy and loving.  I want to cook dinner for you when you’re sick, or when your spouse is sick, or when your parents are sick.  I want to drive to your house with that lasagna you used to praise.  I want to come to your living room and comfort you.  I want to take communion to you.  I want to wear myself out tending to the sick — I don’t want to be the one who’s sick.  If I’m going to be amazing I want to be amazing for being generous — I’ll never be amazing for accepting generosity.  I’ve learned this about myself:  I have a selfish desire to be unselfish.

I want my life back.  I want to feel productive.  I want to be engaged in projects that make a difference to others.  I want to stop waking up in the morning with anxiety — as if I were being called upon to give a speech to a room full of people, but hadn’t gotten around to writing the speech.  I want to go back to looking forward to life.

I want my friends and family not to hurt so much.  I want to do my share but I’m really pissed now because this brain tumor stuff is hurting the people I love.  Just the other day, for example, my very best friend’s daughter’s asked her, “How can I bear responsibility for being Liqa’s friend now that her mother has cancer?”  I’m the one who’s put this poor girl in such a terrible situation.  This, young innocent girl — a girl I’ve known almost as long as I’ve known my own girl.  A girl who has been a second daughter to me and who has always treated me like a second mother.  I’m the one making her life hard.  This isn’t what I want.  I don’t like it when people attack me, but if you really want to get my back up attack someone I love.

When I thought I knew my place in the world I was happy to have a place.  What sort of place do I have now?  I was a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter-in-law, a friend.  I liked my life!  That is, I used to like my life.  I’m completely powerless now!  I don’t know what sort of future God’ has planned for me.  I don’t even know if I have a future.  It shouldn’t be like this.  There ought to be less pain and more hope.

God must have some monumental plan for me, but I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what it is.  It seems that every time I get myself straightened out He puts the whammy on me.  This is the fourth time he’s turned my life upside down.  What is He thinking???

So folks, I’m sorry to disappoint you but this is who I am.  I don’t know why anyone would think I’m tough enough to face this.  I’m so scared!  I don’t know what to do.   I’m running out of energy and I don’t know how to replenish myself.  I apologize for this depressing post, but this is where I am right now.  I guess I’m really not ready to accept the hand that God has dealt me — because, to tell the truth, I just don’t want to.



About pamvbradford

I am a fifty seven year old banker specializing in government banking. I have a beautiful twenty-one year old daughter and a wonderful husband. My husband and I recently downsized, and purchased a beautiful condo in Watertown MA. We love our new home. I know I am a very fortunate person. I am surrounded by supportive family members, by supportive coworkers and by the marvelous support of our faith community at Sacred Heart Parish in Lexington MA. As the Psalm says, "There is nothing that I lack." My whole life changed on July 18, 2012 when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The news came from out of the blue. My tumor was removed by the marvelous Dr. Mark Johnson and his wonderful team of surgeons at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The surgery truly was a miracle. I couldn't possibly have gotten better care. Now the 'easy' part is over. The tough part is to learn to walk with God in the midst of danger and surprise. My mood shifts from gratitude to fear and back again but I know God has a purpose for me. There's a reason I didn't die on the operating table. There's something that God wants me to do. This blog is my effort to share with others, with all of you, what it is that I am learning as I put one foot ahead of the other, live each day as it comes, and discover what it is that God has to teach me. Your prayers keep me going. Your love comforts me. Your knowledge and faith guide and teach me. God bless you all!
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11 Responses to I Want My Life Back!

  1. Pingback: Autumn leaves and hair « AppleChider

  2. mommasylvia says:

    I just found you today. I am sorry about what you are going through. I know it is like torture. I’ll be praying for you. We went through the brain tumor thing with our 2 yr old back in 2000. If you are interested you can read about her journey here http://faithfulmomof9.wordpress.com/about-betty-boop-under-construction/

  3. Pam, don’t apologize. There’s no need. Your life is scary and uncertain right now, no doubt about it. Sending you a cyber hug and walking with you on your journey.

  4. caffieneplease says:

    I’m right there with you. Except its my child that has the brain cancer. Its very confusing and very scary. I wonder too what on earth is God thinking? My mind cannot comprehend how this piece fits in our life. I have to trust that God knows what he is doing. I have to trust that He will make good come forth from the bad. But there are still days I just want to know WHY!!! Ok my mini rant is over. I’ll be praying for you!

  5. Lisa Cimino says:

    Dearest Pam- You are such a love to share from your heart all the very tough stuff you are going through – I can’t even imagine for a moment what it must be like. I turned on the Christian radio station WEZE (am590) just to hear what God had in store for me to hear (I needed something). The preacher spoke about anxiety and life’s challenges causing us pain and then spoke about God as a provider and how He can truly provide what we need. I guess I knew that but sometimes the weight of a situation calls us to feel so frightened and alone. I needed to be reminded that God can give us what we need when we need it. I need God right now and He is the only one who can show me the way to peace and comfort. I pray that you will come to feel His mighty provision for the journey you are on. And honestly, I bet all those people in the waiting room at DF are looking at you and saying the same things.
    Love You –
    Phil 4:6

  6. Lorie says:

    Dear, dear Pam,
    If you weren’t afraid, angry, and sad, you would have become something you’ve never been in all your life — a fool. No one but a fool could be fearless, peaceful, and happy when her life has been turned upside down! But as Molly said so well, being brave is about continuing forward in the face of those awful feelings. I bet if you asked those people at the Brigham and Dana Farber whose courage you so admire, they’d admit that they have exactly the same feelings. But they also have hope — the secret weapon in this battle, along with faith and love. Your hope is still there, too — that’s what made it possible for you to write with such candor and integrity.

    As for preferring to be the one ministering, instead of the one being ministered too, well, yes, as a matter of fact that’s one of my weaknesses, too. I think it’s probably related to my desire to maintain the illusion of control — remember how long we talked about that? But the truth is that we’re all ministering to each other, just in different ways. Your blog is showing me, and others too, I suspect, how to walk with Jesus when the path is very, very hard. It is such a gift to your readers that you are pouring out your very self so that we can benefit from your wisdom and honesty. What shines through all your posts is your love — for Paul and Liqa, your sisters and brother, your nieces and nephews, and all of us lucky enough to be your friends. My wish for you today is that you can feel some of the love that you’ve given us coming back to you to strengthen your hope.

  7. Karla says:

    being scared and pissed is what is normal, you are one remarkable person. you do not need to be strong for everyone let people be strong for you for a change!!!!!!!! i think we are all asking God why???? it’s not fair for you to have to go through this.
    we all love you, think of you all the time and are in our prayers.

  8. Chide says:

    Dearest Pam, I would like to first thank you for liking my posts. I feel some sort of deep connection with you, as we’re both going through the same journey with our cancers.

    First off, it takes a great deal of courage to admit that you crumble, cry, and wonder what your future looks like – especially online. Admitting your fears doesn’t make you weak, but rather, it makes you human and realistic. Your life is threatened and brain cancer is a very special and peculiar type of cancer. God didn’t throw it at you for no reason; you are special and such a beautiful person who is obviously well loved from the looks of the previous posts.

    So a little piece of advice from a 19 year old (my wisdom might not count haha): In order to make it through this difficult journey, I get up every morning and tell myself that whether today will be good or bad, I promise to make the best of it because we should all be living as though we’re dying. Brain cancer is a demon. Do you know how to defeat demons? By killing it with life, joy and happiness. You must find humor in your daily situations and laugh it out. In order to have a future, you must see your future. I understand your daughter is my age, so believe that you will see her graduate college, and marry the man of her dreams, and be a grandmother.

    Lastly, believe that you’re not helpless. Helplessness feeds the cancer.

    All the best. You are not alone, despite the rarity if brain cancer. You might be the age of my mother but I do understand somewhat what you’re going through.

    Much love.

  9. ronald lancaster says:

    Pam, You are honest and that takes courage. So I am going to continueto callyou exceptional, even though I Hear You! This is a nightmare you are in, and there are no words or deeds that help. You’re right….you want and need your life back. If I could go back in time, it would be me with the cancer. I would rather be suffering than to have you suffer. I wish I knew how to make it happen. You know you are loved, for what it is worth. Keep on writing; it makes a difference. Love, Julie

  10. razberries says:

    Pammy- what you’re feeling is NORMAL and acceptable! You never need to explain yourself to anyone…just keep being who you are and fighting the good fight. That is all you can do. You were there for me when my friend Emily was battling cancer. Know that I am thinking of you and praying for you, as well. We all are. We miss you very much at work! I am sorry you are going through this and that your family is going through this. I always read your blog to keep up with you- thank you for sharing these very personal thoughts and insights with all of us. That in itself, is generous- you are being generous to us with your time to sit and write these meaningful words. I am not a very religious person as you may or may not know, but I do believe in God, and believe there is a God. It is sometimes hard to understand why God places obstacles in our paths. I will never know the reason. I do know that my friend Emily is now my guardian angel, and you can be sure that I have told her all about you and to look out for you and yours. Sending you “virtual hugs”! xo

  11. Molly K. Johnson says:

    Oh Pam, my dear one, there is no need to apologize for being honest. That is what I hope you will always be as we walk this journey together. And yes, ma’am, it is indeed a privilege to walk with you. I don’t expect it to be perfect all the time. I don’t need you to be beatifically at peace with what’s happening in your life right now. I’d be positively gobsmacked if you were! You have every right, and every need, to feel all of the feelings that are tearing through your mind and heart right now. Being brave isn’t about never feeling those things. True courage comes from feeling the fear, and moving forward, refusing to be paralyzed by it. You want to get pissed off at God? Go ahead, girlfriend! Take it to Him in prayer. Give it to Him with both barrels. I’ve done it before, and I suspect I’ll be doing it again a time or three before I’m done. Believe me, He can take it, and love you anyway. You want to cry? Let ‘er rip! Cry to God, cry to me, to your family, other friends, whomever you can reach. We can take it and love you anyway. That’s what love is.

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