So I’ve now released several blogs tracing the arduous tale of my deprogramming from a fundamentalist Christian Cult. From my indoctrination in high school, to getting married at 19 and divorced at 23, to my divorce spurring my church to ostracize me, right up to me fighting cancer while pregnant and becoming suicidal a few short years later.
It’s time to wrap this fucker up.
Before being diagnosed with cancer while pregnant, I was rabidly pro-life. I’d read a book as a teenager about a woman carrying a child to term that was the result of a rape while she was at a fundamentalist college.
I wanted to be that kind of woman when I gew up, to be that kind of “testimony.”
My own testimony was pretty fucked up even without all that.
I told the story recently of the events leading up to my cancer diagnosis when I was 8 weeks pregnant, of how I’d given my baby up for lost the second they told me “it’s lymphoma.”
I told of how I’ve wanted nothing more than to be a mother for my entire life, that I’d struggled with fertility issues in my first marriage. The second those words left my doctor’s mouth, I thought I’d have to abort or die.
I even had several doctors confirm that suspicion.
But then I was introduced to Dr Ho, a man who was certified through M.D. Anderson, an insanely famous cancer center in Texas that is just about the last word when it comes to cancer treatment. And it just so happened that M.D. Anderson had treated more women who were pregnant with my (freakishly rare) kind of cancer than just about any other cancer institution. So they, along with Dr Ho, my OBGYN, and a maternal fetal medicine specialist, all powwowed with my primary care doctor and her entire team, and they concocted the plan that saved the lives of me and my child.
After diagnosis, I was immediately started on super high-dose steroids, and kept on them for about two months, thus getting me into my second trimester. That was they key: halt the growth of the tumor and reduce the inflammation so I could actually eat, and then we’d all move on to phase two.
The steroids worked, and then I was given 3 Rituxan treatments (non-chemo chimera treatment), and then 4 full R-CHOP treatments. At that point I was exactly 7 months pregnant. The tumor was sitting right on top of my chest, and when I reached my 3rd trimester, the tumor and the baby were both pushing on my lungs and diaphragm.
I’d already been on oxygen the entire pregnancy because of this issue. I couldn’t get deep enough breaths to keep enough oxygen in my body for both my girl and I. When I reached 7 months, the oxygen tank was cranked full blast and my O2 stats were continuously – and dangerously – dropping. It was time to deliver the baby, because it was safer for both of us if she were in a NICU instead of my womb.
I wasn’t strong enough for both of us anymore.
They delivered, and she got off oxygen before I did. She was 4 pounds 1 ounce of pure and breathtakingly perfect badassery. She stayed in the NICU for a month, learning how to eat, and getting strong enough to do so on her own. The NICU was in the same hospital as all my doctors, as well as my chemo ward. I stayed at the hospital all day every day with my girl, leaving her side only for chemo treatments, doctor appointments, sleep/shower, and food if no one was able to bring some to me.
My doctor’s wouldn’t let me stay there overnight for obvious reasons. Even my girl’s NICU doctor conspired with them to make sure the nursing staff knew to send me home and make sure I was eating enough.
During this entire time I was still scrambling to reconcile my faith with the insane amount of bullshit that has happened to me. I bought coloring supplies as a way to calm myself down at any given moment. I had thousands of people in my various religious circles praying for me. And for the most part, my faith was my rock during those times, despite the weird amount of pressure to have a “miraculous healing.”
But the meltdown that was inevitable finally came in the form of a frakking earthquake on account of Oklahoma. It was at that point the largest earthquake in the state’s history.
I was on the 5th floor in the NICU with my girl, coloring books and colored pencil’s flying, my neurotic, anal rententive, obsessive cumpulsive, damaged brain was feverishly working to keep the walls from closing in. And then the whole building swayed for about 3 or 4 minutes straight. I froze and went numb with terror.
By the time I snapped back to reality because a nurse was suddenly checking on us, I could barely hold myself together long enough for her to leave so I could give vent to the torrent of mortification coursing through me.
My brain had, by way of habit, immediately started pleading to God to spare the lives of my daughter, husband and I.
A fraction of a second later, I was questioning why I thought that would possibly do any good, mine and my daughter’s lives had been in mortal peril since before God let her be concieved! Like, WTF!?
I found myself at a therapist a few months later, shortly after being told I was in remission. I retained my faith and sanity for a while, and then Trump was elected.
I spent a few weeks triggered as fuck, lost my religion completely… FINALLY, wound up back in therapy, and then became suicidal for reasons I might talk about eventually.
Since that time, I discovered Wicca, which has been hugely instrumental (along with tons of therapy). It initially provoked a psychotic episode due to the religious trauma complex PTSD from my past of spiritual abuse. Fighting my way back from that has lead me to discover that there are thousands of stories like mine out there.
From religious trauma, to being pregnant with cancer, to all the of #metoo stories…there truly is more to unite mankind that divide.
I hope to maybe inspire others to believe that as well.
Blessed be, ya’ll.