By Niki Hardy
God's Brave Women - Niki's Story
When life stinks worse than a two-week-old tuna sandwich left festering under the Texan sun it can feel like we’re out of luck and out of choices. Maybe you’ve been there or you’re there right this minute, looking around not knowing where to begin, the weight of it all making you feel small and timid. I get it.
Losing your mum to cancer is hard. Watching your forty-two-year-old sister fade away from the same disease is soul destroying. Being diagnosed yourself just six weeks later? That rips the ground from under you. So yes, I get it. I felt out of luck, devoid of choices, small and afraid.
"Losing your mum to cancer is hard. Watching your forty-two-year-old sister fade away from the same disease is soul destroying. Being diagnosed yourself just six weeks later? That rips the ground from under you."
It was like being a cancer puppet, pulled around by bouts of nausea, never-ending rounds of
doctors’ offices and blood work, and, for me, a (ostomy) poop bag. Yes friends, my cancer was rectal cancer. Go figure!
Yet, in reality I had to make hundreds of choices, big and small, every day. Some were important choices about my medical care. Others felt more tender, like when and how to tell my still-grieving dad and sister, or how vulnerable to be with our church. Then there were choices I had to make instantly, like whether or not to punch the lady who told me her uncle had just died a painfully agonizing death from rectal cancer. (I’ll leave you guessing what I chose on that one.)
Early on, the biggest choice we faced was how to tell our kids. It loomed overhead like a piano swinging from a balcony, waiting to drop and destroy the safety of our family. The easy choice was to run from under its shadow and keep quiet, to put it off and tell them later. We knew it would freak them out. Having lost their grandma and auntie to cancer, as far as they knew people who got cancer died, and died quickly. The thought of telling them the same heat-seeking missile of death was now locked on their mum’s rear end filled us with dread.