August 1, 2012 0 Comments
Guilt! Why Do I Feel This Way?
Guilt is not what I was expecting when I started going through the cancer treatment process. Even at times before my diagnosis, I felt guilty because so many people had to get involved in the day to day stuff. With my wife taking care of our little one at home, my dad had to drive me to so many appointments. On my 40th birthday, he had to get up really early so I could be at the hospital for my Spinal Tap. Can you believe that the doctor would schedule my Spinal Tap on my birthday? The Spinal Tap didn’t hurt, but I never want to go through that again. After the procedure, I was told that I had to drink an entire two litre of Mt. Dew. It was to keep the headache away. If you read my other post, you already know that I gave up drinking Mt. Dew in 2007. I actually had some guilt because it was the first Mt. Dew I drank since 2007.
My dad drove me to all three of my surgeries. One of the surgeries was in Pittsburgh. I drove us to the hospital and my dad drove us home. If you know my dad, then you know that he doesn’t drive in Pittsburgh. I am not really sure why. It must have been one bad experience (back in the day) to keep him out of downtown Pittsburgh for all of those years. Again, I felt guilt because I put my dad in a spot where I knew he was not comfortable at all.
I wasn’t really sure why I was feeling all of this guilt. I guess because I began to feel like I was being a burden to so many people. My mother-in-law volunteered to take me to my chemo treatments. My dad drove me to the cancer center so many times. My neighbor cut my grass. I know if you would ask any of the people who helped us out, they would all say that it wasn’t a burden on them. That did not change the fact that I had to ask people to take time out of their schedule and do something for me or my family.
Guilt! Should I Feel This Way?
The daily guilt I felt for the added load that was put on my wife was almost overwhelming to me. A lot of time is needed to take care of a young child. Before I got sick, I tried my best to help out my wife as much as I could. I would help with the dishes, laundry, sweeping the floor, and I would even change the dirty diapers. I didn’t mind doing any of those things that would take some of the load off my wife. After the diagnosis, my father-in-law told me that I was going to have to focus on just getting better. I was going to need plenty of rest. I was going to be sick from the treatments and I wasn’t going to have the energy levels to help out like I wanted. My wife had to take care of everything. I am thankful for the days when our parents would come and help out. There were days where I was so weak and tired that I didn’t even want to get off the couch. It is astounding what your body goes through during a fight with cancer and resting is about all you can do. Sometimes it’s the only thing you can do. That was hard to take and the guilt took over!
One of the hardest parts of going through the treatments was being so weak and tired that I couldn’t even play with my little girl. It was even difficult to pick her up because I was so weak and tired. I felt tremendous guilt over this and inside it was tearing me up. The day my daughter was born, one of my goals was to be close to her. I wanted her to not only call me daddy, but friend. At times, during the treatments, there was a gap between us and I was praying that it didn’t ruin the foundation that I had already laid. After my treatments were over, I realized that a year and a half of my life was gone and time obviously didn’t stop. My daughter was now two years old and I felt an overpowering sense of guilt that maybe I just wasn’t able to be the daddy she really needed me to be during my fight with cancer.
Guilt! Why I let It Go!
- It would have been easy to hang on to these feelings of guilt. For me, as a believer in Christ, I understood that cancer was just a trial in life that had important lessons for me to learn. My hope and prayer is that I learned what I needed to learn. The lessons I learned may one day help somebody else out. I can share from the lessons that I learned and maybe I can be an encouragement to someone down the road. Hanging on to the guilt may hinder me from helping others. I chose to give that load of to the Lord. I wasn’t strong enough to carry that load. None of us are meant to carry a load like that.
- Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
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