Pushing Through Recovery and Seeking a Meaningful Story.

Two and a half weeks have past since my full thyroidectomy and lymph node removal surgery, and I am reluctant to admit that it has become difficult. The first couple weeks I was pushing through the pain of the surgery and the little inconveniences of recovery, but the process of healing in that regard was relatively simple for me to push through mentally. It was surgery after all, it made sense that pain would come, and it made sense that I would be down for the count for a week or so with all of the antibiotics and anesthesia in my system.

Now, however, since my wound is healing very nicely, and I’m gaining more mobility in my neck, I desperately desire to be able to go about life normally, but my body will not allow it. I feel very tired all day and while I can go out for a chunk of time–even the majority of the day or the majority of an evening–I cannot make it through a full day of walking around or even talking without getting exhausted. I really do not want this to be a woe-is-me blog, so please bare with my transparency and honesty.

It is definitely a mental battle. I have neverย been forced to rest for this long. I am used to being able to get up early, exercise, accomplish an extensive “to-do” list each day and feel pretty energized even at the end of the day. Deferring law school a year because of being diagnosed with cancer four days before starting was difficult, but not as difficult as dealing with the frequent thoughts I have these days:

“What are you doing with your life now?”
“Why are you just sitting there?”
“Why are you wasting time?”
“How are you helping others by laying on a couch?”

I have committed myself to a daily devotional each morning and have learned that if I read immediately when I wake up, I can read what I planned to before my nausea and exhaustion settles in. It has certainly helped start my day off on the right foot and kept my spirits high. I look forward to being able to read more throughout the day and growing more in knowledge and understanding. For now, it is hit or miss each day if I will be feeling well enough to read and comprehend. It’ll come though, I know that.

I want to make a difference in this world, and it is hard for me to be confined to my apartment for much of the day. I want to go out and talk to people. I want to love strangers, seek justice for the oppressed and pursue opportunities that place me in optimal position to impact people for good.

Right now, I need to seek more silence and prayer. There is nothing else I can do at this point, and I am finding peace in that. From living in California, working four jobs while going to school full-time and being part of a world-class percussion group to—-> moving to Chicago, being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, having no school and work only two nights a week for a couple hours…I do not think it is an accident that I’m being forced to slow down. It is time to truly evaluate what I want the rest of my life to look like when I complete radiation and get back to full health in the next few months.

I am so thankful that my favorite author, Donald Miller, just released a new book called “Storyline: Finding Your Subplot in God’s Story.” It looks like it is going to be an excellent resource for planning a life that has a meaningful story. I hope that while I’m quarantined for radiation treatment, I can spend time working my way through this book. I meet with my endocrinologist on Monday to talk about the treatment.

In everything though, I continue to be reminded of how blessed I am and how beautiful the people in my life are. Thank you for your encouragement and steadfast love through this journey. While I like to pretend I can do this all on my own, I am willing to admit that I am wrong. I would not be where I am today without all of your love and support. If you have made it through the end of this post, you are one of those people, and I just have to say from the bottom of my heart–Thank you.

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Ps. 73:26

11 thoughts on “Pushing Through Recovery and Seeking a Meaningful Story.

  1. Donald Miller says:

    Come on? I get to be with you at your bedside while you are recovering? How awesome is that? Honestly, though, being forced to rest is such a “severe mercy” as C.S. Lewis would say. It’s God’s love, making you slow down to remember what matters. I love that you are wrestling with it with such grace. I wouldn’t have half that grace. Get well, be well, rest in Him. I’m praying for you tonight.

  2. Sharon Fain (@sharonfain) says:

    My dearest Lydia… from one Type A to another… there is no “planning” a life… only walking a journey in love and light and grace. We aren’t here to tick off boxes or be on a schedule. ALL things become good in Christ… ALL. I’m excited for your journey!

  3. Susan Faye Ness says:

    I love you, my lovely daughter. Whatever your next steps end up looking like–whatever your sub-plot, whatever you do (or do not do)– what defines you is this: at your core, you are a beloved child of God. NEVER forget that.

  4. Carrie E. Smith says:

    Dear Sweet Lydia, You have already made such a difference in so many lives and will continue to touch so many lives, hearts and souls. I’ve been studying this verse – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10. God is preparing you to do good works – maybe not in the way you’ve planned but in the way He has always had in mind. Continue to be still and listen to His heart. The strength, the healing, and the blessings will come. You remain in all our thoughts and prayers.

  5. Rich Dixon says:

    One of my life principles is “Plan less, prepare more.” The plans often fall apart anyway, and preparation allows you to be flexible and adapt to whatever comes along. So maybe a question to ask is “What can I do with this season to prepare?” Don’s book sounds like a good place to start seeking answers.

  6. Jan Thomas says:

    You have no idea of the number of people who you are already reaching and touching through this journey. No, cancer isn’t a journey that any of us would choose to take, but it’s a journey that I guarantee can be incredibly rewarding in many many ways. Mark and I are examples of experiencing that. Enjoy the time you have right now to “smell the roses” along that path and know that in more ways than you could possibly count, you are touching many many people along the way. God is good all the time. All the time God is good. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. tom says:

    our stories matter. so many are confused and think that its about the destination…you’ve got margin right now to soak in the journey. as has been said…many are being blessed and encouraged by your walking…and hopefully soon pedaling again…and bearing testimony to His faithfulness. Grateful to share in the endeavor. praying blessings for courage-cooperation-perseverance and most of all a “spandex” attitude.

  8. Mary Beth Johnson says:

    I chatted with you a bit on instagram about my pending total thyroidectemy and have since been cyber stalking your blog and instagram photos ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I’m inspired by your story and I am so thankful you are sharing your story so others in the same situation can be encouraged. In the Bible, Paul told his churches to be encouraged that they face trials so they can be a witness of Gods grace and mercy and provide encouragement for their fellow believers facing similar circumstances. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Anna says:

      This is the hardest part of the journey. Stay strong in heart and you will get through this. It is never easy but it is these challenges that make us better people in the end. Reach out to family friends and let them hold you tightly in love, support and prayer. It helps so much in getting through this. I am 6 months out from RAI and really starting to feel so much better. I was starting to think I would never feel the same again….and that may still be true…but I am feeling strong and you will too. Hugs to you!!!


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