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Do not fear the sickness

It’s been a long time since I last wrote. Since my last post, I’ve had two surgeries, nearly died, spent over five weeks in hospital and was physically brought to my knees (literally and metaphorically). 

My slow recovery has left me with lots of time to think about things. This coupled with the fact that a few cancer friends have either died or are experiencing a decline in their health has been very confronting. I’m frightened. Almost all the time. 

Due to the surgical complications it’s the longest I’ve been off treatment since diagnosis. I’m good at treatment – give me something to do, to focus on and to move forward with and I can cope. These long months of nothingness have been torturous and the perfect environment for fear to grow. 

Before I joined the APS I was a kindergarten teacher. My first teaching job was at a small brand new Anglican school on Brisbane’s northernmost edges. We were a team of about ten mostly young women – looking back we must have been cheap to employ. And I guess they were hoping we couldn’t cause too much trouble. It was an intense year – without going into too many details our beloved principal was sacked and there was a fairly vicious industrial dispute. At the farewell assembly for our principal, a Colin Buchanan song ‘Be strong and courageous’ was played. I can remember biting back tears. 

Now some eleven or twelve years later the words of that song keep coming back to me. It was a verse I’d never noticed as sickness didn’t feature in my world before August 2015. 

Do not fear the darkness 

Do not fear the sadness

Do not fear the sickness

Jesus has conquered them all. 

I am so frightened of the sickness.  Not necessarily of pain but of it taking over and taking me. And I find the words above so interesting – the sadness and darkness sit with the sickness. I am probably as frightened of the sadness to be honest. If I let myself really process what has happened and is happening to me I would cry and never stop. 

I had a talk with my oncologist at my last appointment about dying. A couple of people in my Facebook group have recently gone downhill rapidly and died somewhat unexpectedly. Michael promised as best as he could that he will not let that happen to me – that if we get to that stage there will be time for things to be said and planned.

This afternoon I get my latest set of test results and we make a treatment plan going forward. 

You have changed my life completely, and for this you are unforgiven.

– Rowena Kinkaid 

4 thoughts on “Do not fear the sickness

  1. No words are enough. That time long ago, was when I first met you – such an inspirational, beautiful, old soul! It was a privilege to work with you then, and such a blessing to still call you friend. Take heart in the love and prayer that surrounds you from near and afar, and the abilities of the amazing team around you, and that Jesus has conquered it all!! đź’śđź’ś

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  2. Having fear of sickness, sadness, darkness and death is natural – facing it, being with it, as you are doing takes so much courage. You are so brave Caitlin. Know that we all love you and are praying for you every day xxx

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  3. Dear mighty Caitlin. It is a bit strange reading of an other’s inner life in a blog. I am so grateful for the chance to be brought near, yet I can’t help but feel a little like a voyeur. It would be easier to read, cry, want to write but nothing comes. (You have always seemed able to write and speak with clarity, beauty.) Your honesty is bracing; you look face forward into this thing that scares you and you don’t save us from the sadness. Thank you. Should you come to Canberra to that house that apparently you have bought (good job on it!!), i could write on your blog from across a table. You have all our love Caitlin. All our prayers. Christ circle you and your beautiful family. Richard

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