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.
Christianity did nothing more than provide me with disappointment, abuse and anxiety. Good on you for getting out. I don’t know much about Wicca. However, I can respect it a helluva more than most religions. From what I gather, it’s about people and nature in the here and now. That’s a way better philosophy than what I’ve known religion to be.
I became a Christian at three. And began a very dark deconversion at 19 (while at CFNI Dallas, earning my theology degree). I didn’t leave it all until 39. I could go on and on about suicide, depression and panic attacks. I began to have those at five. I’ll spare you the long winded details for now.
I can’t even begin to imagine wanting a baby so bad only to be faced with cancer and premature birth when expecting a baby. That must have been a daily nightmare that relentlessly went on for months. That fear must’ve been incredibly overwhelming. I’m so sorry that such a horrific injustice happened in your life, as well as your baby’s and husband’s lives.
How are you today with your near death trauma? How long have you been out of the oppression of Christianity? Five and a half years out, I am still a constant work in progress. Believe me, I understand all of the therapy, healing and discussion that is needed in getting out of the blood cult.
I sometimes communicate online with another nonbeliever from New Zealand. He doesn’t understand the religious impact in society in US culture (lucky bastard) and tries to calm me down. I don’t think he realizes that this (online) is where I vent. In western Tennessee one can’t say anything against YHWH, Jesus or Holy Spirit in their real world.
I once had a blog on WordPress many moons ago. If I remember right, the admin sees the email of every one who comments. If that’s the case, feel free to email me any time. I have two kids and a husband. We all consider ourselves to be secular. I know the overwhelming loneliness of being a non Christian in an overtly Christian state. You’re not alone. You’re not weird and you’re not some sick, immoral individual. Don’t ever allow yourself to believe those of the environment around you. You dared to question and think for yourself. And you got out of it way younger than I did. You sound like an incredibly smart and strong person.
I hope you, your child and your husband are all healthy and doing well. Thanks for all the posts you’ve written on your blog. Have a great week!
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Thank you so much for your encouraging words, dear friend.
I’m undergoing intense therapy to help me learn how to deal with the emotional fallout from having cancer while pregnant, detoxing from Christianity, the childhood abuse, and everything else.
Talking to people online who understand is truly what keeps me sane some days, the days when I question the very fabric of reality itself. Some days it feels impossible to know what’s real and what isn’t. You’re not taught how to figure that out when you’re raised in a cult to simply believe what you’re told to without question, and it’s exactly that that lead me to consider suicide.
However, every day gets better and easier. Every day the fight gets less intense. Every day I meet more people willing to help lead me towards the light.
And that’s why this blog exists ❤️
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I hope you don’t mind if I list other blogs in my comment. They’re all atheists, pagans and agnostics. Some of them are deconverts. If you don’t want that, I’ll understand if you delete my comment. Here’s a list of people that I follow from Kenya, South Africa, Canada and throughout the US. I hope they help. Btw, none of the blogs are mine, I don’t have one. No one has paid me or pressured me to do this either. I just want to surround you with hope and encouragement. Good speed to you!
That’s half a dozen to get you started. I’ve got another half a dozen to share with you another time.
The first two are by my friend Victoria.
I hope these help you. I put them here because I wanted to make sure I didn’t send you diplicate sites. The above are all deconverts who were once quite Evangelical: Baptist, SDA and Pentecostal/Charismatic.
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Thank you so much for sharing these!
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These are great people. I’ve developed a close friendship with Victoria for years now, even though we’ve never met. She helped me to better understand how the brain changes with indoctrination and encouraged me in the process of changing my neurological connections. She lives in Mississippi, as well as Neil. His blog is really good. I was fortunate enough to speak with him twice and exchange a few e-mails with him. He and another great man were my preteen son’s counselors at Camp Quest last year.
Ruth is a really sweet person. Her stories will touch your heart. She certainly knows what trials are like.
Bruce was a devout preacher who led mulitple churches throughout his life. Bruce, Neil and Johnny (Leaving Fundamentalism) are probably the most out deconverts I’ve ever met or read about on line. They have much to lose and they still put their necks out on the line to encourage us and provide us with much needed tools for our transitions.
Know you are one of a growing number of deconverts in this country. We may not be enough to be numbered in our own locations, but we are increasing in number throughout this country.
Have a great weekend. Charity
I really admire how you found the strength to get out of fundamentalist religion as well as get through all the other things you’ve had to cope with, and are probably still coping with.
As a New Zealander like Charity’s friend, I can confirm the difference in our society when it comes to religion. When I became an atheist it made absolutely no difference whatsoever to how my friends and family treated me. The worst thing is my mother hates me using the word atheist!
However, I have come to understand the sort of thing you have to put up with. Many of the readers of my own blog are from the US and they have terrible stories to tell about the way they were treated by those they should have been able to trust the most.
All the best for the future. 🙂
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