Managing Relationships while diagnosed

Welcome back! I trust your week if off to a good start. If this is your first time, thank you for stopping by! If the week is off to a crabby start, grab a bowl of pepper soup, drink up, breathe and take a walk. You will figure it out. You got this.

 Yesterday, while listening to the sermon, my mind kept going to a sister I had not seen for a while. She was instrumental to my healing. She came to visit, she brought me organic fruits, she was there. I had not seen her for 3 Sundays straight. She was not picking my phone calls; she was not responding to my texts.

My mind wandered off a bit and I picked the phone to text her (forgive me Jesus, yes, I know, Pastor was preaching… ). I looked back coz I swore I heard her son giggle. There she was! Our eyes met! I went to her later to catch up. It was good to see her.

If you are a regular on my blog, by now, you would have figured out I am a relationship kind of gal. I cherish the people God brings into my life. I am vested, I want to see people do well. I am not a believer of this terrible doctrine that floats in most immigrant communities: “Life was hard for me so it must be hard for you”. Nah… God don’t like ugly. I try in my little way to extend a hand of fellowship to whoever God brings my way.

One of the ways you really know who is with you or not is through adversity. A cancer diagnosis is a SURE way to know where people stand with you. A cancer diagnosis will test your relationship with God, with people, your spouse, your kids, your parents, your siblings, your in-laws, your employer, your co-workers, your best friends, your frenemies…. EVERYONE!

Our relationships are tried in the fire of the cancer journey. The end result is one of two things: a strengthened more beautiful relationship or a relationship that blows up and no longer becomes existent. There is never a middle ground. It is such a delicate place to be. I have heard horror stories of couples divorcing because the toll of care was too much. Some people might also be afraid to lose their jobs or be labelled as “the employee with cancer”, they suffer in silence. Some “friends” lose your number because they just don’t know how to handle the news. I get it. I gained some close friends and I lost some too. I was blessed to have more strengthened relationships than I lost.

Currently, my relationship with God is at another level. In Christianity, we are told to access God as a child interacts with his/her father, not as a God. If you take a close look at the Lord’s Prayer, it starts with “Our Father in heaven”. Unfortunately, a number of people have horrible daddy-child relationships, so it makes it more difficult to approach God as a father. That was the first step for me. As I spent more time studying my Bible, my concept of His love for me became renewed. It has also helped me to heal my relationship with my earthly dad (if you have an African/Nigerian dad, you would understand what I mean…bless their hearts). I am enjoying the Daddy upstairs and I appreciate the one he gave me while he is still alive.

I am still joyfully married to my husband of 15 years. We had been through challenges in the past but the cancer shook us a bit. My husband’s coping mechanism while I underwent treatment was an interesting one too. He went on a house remodeling spree!! I am sitting here thinking “where is the money coming from?! We need to think of chemo, radiation, surgery, etc…” Rather than pull a fuss, I let him be. He had no control over the cancer, but he could control my living conditions. He sanitized and remodeled everywhere! That’s the kind of spouse we all need! We tried to improve our communication (still a work in progress), we actually attended more parties during my treatment, looked for avenues to talk, be vulnerable with one another…. I am the vocal one, my husband can sit beside you for three days and not talk (more like, unless it is necessary). On our way to thriving, we have resolved to no longer take each other for granted. Life is too short; it is so not worth it.

I could not have asked for a better boss. My husband’s boss was God sent too. My work schedule was rearranged. I could work from home the week I went for chemotherapy; my husband was given flexibility so he could be available for my care, my co-workers pampered me to the heights! My dignity was respected! I was not turned into a pity party.

What am I saying by sharing this? A cancer diagnosis brings out either the best or reveals the worst. I had some not so good experiences too. But I am not going to give it room on this blog. I had people I thought we were close who could not offer an ounce of help. It was like pulling teeth. I bear no grudges but guess what, I am no longer investing my well being into their lives.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Please feel free to share, leave a comment and spread the word. A cancer diagnosis is nothing to be ashamed of.