Cancer, On My Mind

2 Years Down.

I couldn’t let today pass without writing down a few thoughts.  October 20th will always be a big day of reflection for us…it was the day that we were called in early in the morning to the doctor’s and heard the sentence,

“There’s no easy way to put this, you (Nate) have cancer.”

SO much has happened these past 2 years.  Like I talked about in my last post…we have been busy.  In 2+ years Nate has lost his job, got a new job in software, we moved to Lindon, UT, Nate got diagnosed with cancer, underwent a 18 hour surgery to remove the tumor (and consequently half of his face) then rebuild it with his fibula bone, moved to Cedar Hills, UT, went through the highest dose of radiation possible for 2 months, went on lots of trips/I ran lots of races, Nate applied for more coaching jobs and got hired on at Idaho State University, moved to Pocatello first into an apartment, then into our house, done a ton of renovations on said house, found out we were expecting a baby girl, I went back to school at ISU, Nate had a surgery on his eye, a few weeks before Nate’s track season ended we had baby Corra May, and a few weeks after Corra was born Nate had a bigger surgery on his jaw that ended up getting infected and taking a long time to heal. Now our sweet Corra May is 5 months old and Nate is a few weeks away from ending his second XC season at ISU.

We were so go, go, go for so long that I feel like I’m finally “grieving” as funny as that sounds.  And not so much grieving, because our outcome has been so wonderful, but just feeling the stress of everything we have gone through the past 2 years.  Life after a baby requires a much slower pace of things; a lot of rocking, a lot of feeding, a lot of holding.  For a while I was sure that my increased anxiety was just another round of some post-partum anxiety.  While, I’m sure that definitely triggered some of it, I think the main cause is just finally allowing myself to slow down and feel the stress of everything that has been going on.  Now, don’t get me wrong, most of the things that have transpired in the past 2 years have been amazing and so, so great.  But some of it was really hard.  And I just feel like we have done a lifetime’s worth of events in 2 short years.  I mentioned in my last post that I was going to take a ‘break’ from everything and finally allow myself to process the stress instead of trying to mask it with more and more tasks and events. Slowing down and just focusing on myself, Nate, and my babies has been SO good for me.  I had a few weeks where I was constantly thinking about what would happen if Nate’s cancer came back.  I had a few weeks of wondering why I was feeling so anxious.  I had a few weeks of just being nervous about the future and its outcomes.  And now I’m finally feeling like I’m at a point where I’ve kind of processed most of everything from the past 2 years.  I’ve received some answers and peace and I’m feeling ready to take on life again and all of it’s unknowns.

A lot has definitely happened these past 2 years.  And while it has required some rough moments, and some processing, it mostly has been so wonderful.  As I’ve reflected on these past 2 years I’m mostly overcome with so much joy.  We have witnessed miracles, felt God’s and others’ love and service so strongly it was almost tangible, we’ve been able to bring another little babe into this world who brings us so much happiness, Nate is healthier and has less setbacks than he has had in a long time, we have learned and grown SO much in ways I never thought possible.

I was asked to write some of my thoughts down a little while ago for a project one of my friends is working on.  I feel like it sums up how I have felt:

I felt like I had had my fair share of trials and that I
would be given a much needed break. However, after the birth of our second
child I yet again found myself struggling with anxiety. After a sleepless night
I laid in despair talking to my husband and said, “I just can’t do this
anymore. I can’t keep trying so hard when all I do is get hit back down.”
Within 2 years I felt like I had been through a lifetime worth of trials.  Through all of them I kept trying to do the
things I’ve known to be right and true; pray, ponder, read scriptures, fast,
have hope, keep the faith.  But as I
found myself struggling again, after I had been so valiant, I couldn’t help but
wonder why, and really, how. Why was all this happening to me after I had
worked so very hard to be good? How could I still be struggling after I had
tried every possible avenue that we are taught to pursue? My answer came just a
few days later during general conference. 
Carol F. McConkie related the story of Henry B. Erying’s father and his
struggle with cancer.  He too was brought
to a point of despair where he pleaded to know why he had to face this trial
after being so valiant.  His answer was
this, “God needs brave sons.”  No sooner
did those words leave her mouth when I was overcome by my own answer, “God
needs you to be brave too, Kacee.”  Upon
further reflection I have been filled with more peace and understanding; God
needs me to be brave, to be an example, and
to testify
. And so, I testify to you this: God is ALWAYS there and VERY
aware of every detail.  He LOVES you and
wants you to be HAPPY. He gives us trials for a purpose.  Even when feel like we can’t go on, we always can if we rely on Him.  There truly can be joy through the trial, but
we have to look for it. Count your blessings. Smile when you feel like
frowning. And trust, with every ounce you can muster, that you will never, ever
be forsaken. Trials will be but a small moment; no matter how long that moment
might feel. Beautiful, bright and JOYFUL days are ahead; Just you hold on!   

Life is crazy, hard, but so SO wonderful.  I have been stretched and pulled and tried a lot in a few short years, but the knowledge and growth that has come from it is irreplaceable.  I would do it all again to be where I am now.
And of course, have to give a shout out to my main man, Nathan Anthony.  He truly is an amazing human and I’m thankful every single day that he is mine.  He never lets ‘life’ get him down and has never skipped a beat even being dragged through the depths of cancer and its aftermath.  Love you always, domiNATE!
Thanks to everyone who has made our outcome this good.  Your love and service is something that we will NEVER forget.  It truly changed our lives and makes me yearn to do all I can to be that wonderful too.
2 years down, forever to go!