stories of grace, hope and life beyond cancer

Somewhere between vigilance and paranoia


At the moment this is where I find myself, treading the fine line between vigilance and paranoia. Trying not to ignore what my body is telling me (like I used to before cancer), that aching limb or infection that just won’t improve, while at the same time trying not to be a hypochondriac, trying not to fear that every ache and pain is metastatic cancer.

I joked with my GP the other day that I should get frequent flyer miles for coming to their surgery so often and he just smiled faintly and said that they don’t mind if I visit as often as I like with my random ailments. They might not mind, but the thing is… I do! I mind very much and I would very much like to not see them for a really long time!

That’s one of the (many) things I guess I didn’t know about cancer before I got it… That it’s not over when the active treatment is over. Side effects endure (chemo really is nasty stuff even one year on), the fear of recurrence lurks in the back of your mind, your dreams for having children have to change. The after effects are further reaching and more varied than I ever could have imagined.

This is a strange place to be. Surely I should be thrilled it is all over and just be getting on with things. And I am… Really! I cannot tell you how pleased I am not to be a regular in the hospital anymore and my life is moving forward. But still, a strange sense of desolation remains.

In thinking about this I was reminded of a passage in Habakkuk 3 (v 17-19).

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

I feel that this passage describes perfectly how I feel at the moment. There are many areas of my life that have been devastated and that remain desolate. But, this has not robbed me of joy or of blessing. Even in that place I know the goodness and love of a faithful and amazing God!

9 thoughts on “Somewhere between vigilance and paranoia

  1. wow, this blesses me like you cannot imagine. I have held those passages dear for a long time and you have deepened their meaning for me tonight. I stand with you in prayer and hope!!! Sending warm wishes from cold SA

  2. Awesome application of that verse – thank you, Cath. I miss and think of you and Joel often!

  3. Thank you, Cathy.

  4. God’s grace is there in the honesty – this is so much more helpful in giving hope that well meaning, positive ‘ everything is going to be okay’ messages because at the heart of it – God is there and so everything will be okay.

  5. So happy that you are blogging again Cath… you are an inspiration to us all and a wonderful woman of GOD. May the LORD shouwer you and your precious family with blessing upon blessing upon blessing… Hugs x Gill & William

  6. Dear Cath Thank you for this eloquent post which expresses so well how I felt a few years ago. As the months and years have gone by things have got a lot easier. I worry less and enjoy the fact that I feel I am a more compassionate person and am more appreciative of the good things when they come. I hope and pray for you as you continue this journey that you did not choose. Love to you Amanda
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  7. Hi Cath, your blog today has confirmed that we are to be more transparent and honest with each other and I thank you for doing just that!! You are such an inspiration to all who read your post. Lol Alex xxxxx

  8. Dear Cath Your blog is amazing – so honest and inspiring. Coming to the end of treatment is so challenging and quite frightening at times – I can remember feeling thrilled that I no longer had all the treatments to do and my time was again under my control (or as much as it ever is) and yet at the same time feeling that I should still be doing something active to fight the cancer or fight it preventatively. May God Bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you, give you peace and comfort at this stage of your journey an indeed, forevermore.

    Lynne Hobbs

  9. You truly are inspiring. I can totally relate to what you say about the constant GP visits. I haven’t had cancer, but I did suffer the loss of my husband at the age of 27 after almost 5 years of marriage. He left me little blessings, two boys aged 3 and a nine month old. 2 years on and its still challenging. You are so strong and such an encouragement to many. (We were part of CHS for a while, in case you wondered who the heck I am. We were in Janie’s home cell group) God bless

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