Cannot Do This Alone - Irina's Healing Journey
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Cannot Do This Alone

Cancer is not something one can anticipate to happen to them; it is something we hope we would never have to encounter in our lives. When I was diagnosed with the stage 3 breast cancer earlier this year, in January of 2015, at 35 years of age, it was a complete shock… All I remember that day is walking out of the doctor’s office and standing in the parking lot, holding on to my husband and saying, “I cannot do this alone…”

“ When we say wedding vows “for better or worse, in sickness and in health”, we really don’t imagine “worse”…
When we say wedding vows “for better or worse, in sickness and in health”, we really don’t imagine “worse”, we hope for “better”… My husband’s support, his words, his kindness and presence have not failed to uplift and encourage me, and we have only grown stronger together.
Nothing can prepare a person for an overwhelming amount of information, the rollercoaster of emotions, the questions, and the grueling fight to recovery, but we have to find every bit of hope and strength we can muster. After connecting with a great team of doctors, I was informed of the long and tough process ahead: chemotherapy, surgery (perhaps more than one), radiation, not to mention all the side effects. The night of the initial diagnosis I think I read every Bible verse on hope and healing I could find. A turning point for me was when I determined that I did not want to allow cancer to dominate my thoughts and my life, and, instead, I was going to cling to my faith in God and fight forward with every bit of strength He gives me. My husband and I have also tried to make our kids’ lives as normal as possible, even though there were limitations to how much we could do between my treatments. They have even embraced mommy’s new “haircut” when my hair was gone soon after I began chemo treatments. And then I just hold them a little tighter every night.
I am truly thankful that I have not felt alone through this process. The support, both in word and deed, from our family, our church family and friends, colleagues, has been beyond what we could ever imagine. Cancer throws a wrench into every facet of life of a family, and every encouragement and helping hand matter beyond words. This journey is not for the faint of heart, but I know through this season my heart has been changed by His grace. I have learned to believe, and have learned to let go of things that do not matter, to pray wholeheartedly, love intentionally, and be grateful for every day as a gift.
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