June 9th, 2011

June 9th, 2011 at 10:58 pm by under Deanna's Journey

Going to the movies is risky when you have cancer.  Hollywood loves cancer – no joke.  For a screenwriter, cancer is dying gold.  If you’re writing a tearjerker, you need a long, lingering death.  The characters then have time for absolution and resolution; there is anger, fear, love, forgiveness and finally acceptance all wrapped neatly with a bow by the movie’s end which comes in usually fewer than 120 minutes.  When you have cancer, watching Hollywood’s version is incredibly annoying.  And you never know when a screenwriter will throw in a cancer death to assure that the audience experiences that much sought- after LA-created cathartic connection, thereby allegedly enriching the movie-going experience.  Annoying.  Really annoying.

While I was healing from my bilateral mastectomy, my mother and I decided we needed to see a comedy.  Mom suggested Tyler Perry’s latest flick. And you guessed it.  The central character (a mother figure, of course) has cancer, and her long, lingering death is the catalyst that brings her extraordinarily dysfunctional family to a point of emotional healing.  I thought I’d barf.  And I hadn’t even had chemo that day.  We were trying to escape cancer, and I had to sit through Hollywood’s less than accurate portrayal of the cancer experience.  My poor mom – who had picked the movie – leaned over and apologized.  I told her no worries.  I blamed myself.  The long-time cancer survivor knows to read plot summaries before buying your movie ticket.  I should have done that.

So understandably, I was a little gun shy when my kiddo was begging me to take him to Kung Fu Panda 2.  Animated four-legged Kung Fu masters don’t usually suffer long, lingering cancer deaths, but one never knows.  After reading about the movie online, I thought I could sit through this sweet kid flick.  But again, I was met with the unexpected.

I think God uses all kinds of tools to feed the soul.  And this week, God used Kung Fu Panda 2.  I’ve been stuck.  It’s odd.  I’m nearing the end of treatment.  Finally. More than three months of chemo, a bilateral mastectomy, another two and a half months of chemo, and reconstruction.  And then I’ll wait.  Triple negative breast cancer is aggressive, and when it returns, it usually does so within two years.  And so after I finish treatment, I can do little more than wait to see if the cancer comes back.  The thought of that makes me crazy.  I’m assertive.  I want to do something – anything to actively fight the possibility of recurrence.  But there is no targeted treatment for my type of breast cancer.  And so I’ll wait.  And worry.  And wait.  And that makes me nuts.

At one point in the movie, the overweight panda is talking to two other animal warriors who are imprisoned by an evil adversary and too afraid to come out of their jail cells.  Without a hint of irony, the adorably chubby panda says earnestly, “You’re imprisoned by fear behind bars of hopelessness and are fed three square meals of shame.”  Yeah, I know.  It’s a kid flick.  But I knew that darn bear was talking to me.  When fear comes to live with you, he brings friends.  Hopelessness and shame are his companions.  For me, the shame comes in failing to recognize the gift of each day – allowing fear to rob me of my joy.  I couldn’t help but smile at the simple truth delivered by a pudgy panda in pants.

The movie also has a sweet message about adoption.  The panda goes in search of what happened to his “real” parents finally realizing in the end that the goose that raised him, fed him, and loved him was as real as any father could ever be.  For this adoptive mommy, the message was beautiful. And it reminded me of a scripture I read recently.  Romans 8:15 tells us “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father.”

Ain’t that great stuff?  As God’s adopted children, we receive from him not a spirit fear, but we are heirs to His kingdom and can call Him Father.  I think about how fiercely and unconditionally I love my adopted son.  Then how much greater must God’s love be for us?  And if God loves me, I’m okay.  It’s okay.  It’s going to be okay.  He’s promised us that all things work for our good – all things – even cancer.

And so it is.  I am His adopted child.  He’s my Dad.  And that’s enough.


8 Responses to “June 9th, 2011”

  1. LaDonna Jones says:

    Deanna, as a single mother who has suffered from Chrons, Chronic Pancreatitis and Fibromyalgia for the past 10 years, I am in awe of you and your strength. I am sure that you do have days when fear comes in (Lord knows I do), but you are such an inspiration to me and so many others. I pray for you and I am so glad that you have such a wonderful husband to stand by you as you go through this chapter in your life. What a testimony you are. My favorite scripture is Isaiah 54:17 ..”No weapon formed against you shall prosper…”. That has gotten me through many lonely nights in the hospital. I pray for your continued strength, for your healing and blessings for you, your son and husband. Stay blessed and encouraged. Thanks so much for your postings. God Bless, LaDonna Jones

  2. Denean McCutchen says:

    THANK YOU your words blessed me….. UI don not have cancer but i have conjestive heart failure and i am only 40 yrs i have had it for the past 5 years and i often worry about it and feel sorry for myself andf you are so right EVERY DAY IS OUR BLESSING no to walk around worrying or staying in bed feel sorry for my self…. YOU ARE A STRONG WOMAN AND I THANK YOU

  3. Lynn Wells says:

    A refreshing, honest look at the movies. I identify with being affronted with pain on a different but similar plane. When we were going through infertility, it seemed sitcoms relished in drawing that emotional angst to the screen. When I miscarried repeatedly the same was true. Then current shows dangled the thought of baby, only to tear it away from the character with a made-for-TV miscarriage; renewing and deepening my wounds.

    Thank God for the small truths that breach the reaches of our hearts and souls just when we need them most. Thank Him for His Son, for comfort, and for fellow humans who share their hearts on quiet introspective nights when we just need to know someone else has felt it too.

  4. Julie says:

    Deanna, thank you. I’ve been watching (and wondering and waiting) for an update. I love the message about fear, how true. I was diagnosed with breast cancer about 3 weeks ago and have been on a whirlwind pace ever since. It is so easy to sit and ask “why me”. I actually ran across your blogs as I was looking up wig shops. There are so many questions, however everyone is different. I got my long, blonde hair cut to jaw length last night, start a little at a time. I had a port/cath put in this week and my chemo treatments start next week. We shall see. Please continue to share with the rest of us (newbies). Take care and God bless.

  5. Stephanie Beckner says:

    Deanna, again your words move me. I continue to think of you and your family and watch for updates on how you are. I hope you realize what an incredible testimony you are through this blog! Praise God for His promises!

  6. Robin Willis says:

    I am constantly amazed at how God uses the most unlikely things in life to teach, strengthen and comfort us. As each nugget of God’s love for us unfolds – I get a silly grin that spreads across my face……for I know that my Creator gave me exactly what I needed just when I needed it!

    Deanna – God has created you to be just that POWERHOUSE of a woman that you are! Every step in your journey……you have walked and trusted in Him. The battle is the Lords……and He IS faithful!!

    Would love to meet you someday. Until then – I will continue to pray to our Father for you.
    In God’s love and grace,

  7. MARK RILEY says:

    Deanna, You are an amazing lady. I will continue to pray for you and your continued healing. I always watch Channel 8 news because of the great people like you that work there. Many years ago Randy Ollis came to my son’s Christian school to talk to the kids about weather forcasting. He also wanted to know if he could give his personal testimony. I was great to hear a man of faith share his testimony with us. I loved what you said in your blog about your faith. God bless you Deanna, you will be in my prayers from now on.
    Mark Riley