This is going to be a really long entry, but I want to write down some of the things I'm feeling right now, as I feel they are really important things to reflect upon later.
Today my parents and I went to a church in Detroit whose father, Father Solanus, was known to cure the sick and perform miracles. My parents have already been a couple of times, but it was my first time. The healing mass went something like this. There was an opening hymn, then a reading and a small sermon. During this, father talked about how in times of despair we need to have faith that God is with us the entire time. We need to eliminate worry because God will take care of us, a lesson that is hard to listen and even harder to live by in times like these. After the sermon, the father passed around a microphone to those that wanted to thank God for good things happening in their lives, like cancer going into remission, or safe travels. The father then passes around the microphone again, this time listening to petitions for what people want/need from God. All it took was the opening Ave Maria to get me crying. I tried so hard to not cry, but I couldn't help it. People thanking God for cancer going away just reminded me how far off that goal is for my dad, but how great healing powers can be. Then my mom took the microphone and thanked God for the fact that the chemo is working and for the opportunity my dad had to come watch me graduate college. That was too much for me. Who would have thought that coming to my graduation would ever be something we'd have to thank God for? Then everyone was looking at me, not as if I was some weirdo, but with these sympathetic looks that seemed to say "We understand what you are going through, and we are right there with you." I wish I could say I fully understood where the urge to cry came from, but I don't. I don't know if her taking the microphone solidified the disease to me, reminded me of how terrible it is, or what, but it had its effect on me, that's for sure. Once the crying started, it was only made worse my people's petitions. This class of 5 year old students came asking God for healing for their friend Ryan, who was diagnosed with cancer recently. Another woman came asking for help in dealing with her husband's diagnosis of ALS, another for a successful surgery, and another broke down asking God for help in dealing with her husband's stage IV lung cancer. She came while he was in treatment, probably walking from Karmano's. Even writing this makes me emotional. It just seems wrong to me that there is so much hurt. It was during this mass that I began to make sense of everything. I almost felt like in that moment, I was being called to stand up against cancer in the way I was meant to, by becoming an oncologist. It just seems right, so fitting, that this be my calling. It kills me to think that because I didn't hear the calling, God had to take drastic measures, making my dad so ill and possibly terminal, just so I could hear it. I pray that I'm not the reason he is sick. But him being sick has made me aware that this is something I can affect a lot of people with. I can learn the science and understand the emotions of this terrible disease. I understand that treatment doesn't just mean medical intervention, it means indulging in faith, regardless of religion, and pursuing any and all avenues that make the patient feel comfortable. I fully believe that going to this mass is making my dad better, whether it be divine intervention, or just the fact that my parents believe they are doing everything possible to save his life. As much as I've strayed away from cancer, perhaps its my duty to go back to oncology and make it a big part of my future.
These next paragraphs get a bit selfish, however, I know I have to be honest with myself and acknowledge these feelings; chances are, they are normal.
First of all, I just do NOT understand how some people can seriously have it all. My plan after graduating college was to go to Malta and to make stops in Europe along the way. Now I'm sitting at home, in Woodhaven with no job, no volunteering positions, and no life. All I do all day long is run errands with my dad and take him and my mom to doctors appointments. The only time I get to myself is when I run or read in my bed before I go to sleep. Meanwhile, people who went to school with me are off gallivanting in Europe and other exciting places before they go off to top ten medical schools, law schools, and/or fancy jobs. While I acknowledge that they worked hard to have what they have, so did I and my MCAT wasn't a 40. How do people do near perfect on their MCAT, have the perfect friends/look/life, do everything right in their life and get to do everything they want while I'm sitting here dealing with hell? It just doesn't seem right. I can't take people asking "is this real life" because they can't believe how good their life is much longer. You know what real life is? Real life is dealing with sickness, poverty, and tragedy everyday for most people, not traveling without a care then coming home and wanting to cure cancer. THAT'S real life. Real life is also appreciating the little things so much more. My dad, for instance, realizes what I'm going through and is doing everything in his power to comfort me, even if it should be the opposite. He even stopped to help an old man who fell on the side of the road, something many healthy people wouldn't do. His compassion for people and ability to see the good in everyone is something I will cherish and hope to emulate in my own life.
What I'm struggling with is this. At this point in my life, I'm suppose to be taking opportunities, exploring, getting away from my parents and discovering myself. However, I'm at home, taking care of my parents, and I feel like I'm loosing a sense of who I am. I do everything my parents say because I don't want to hurt them, I don't want to cause any more pain than what they are already feeling. I just want to be there for them. But a natural part of growing up is sometimes going against what your parents say to do and learning for yourself, because, at this point in your life, you know yourself and what you want. You've grown to become your own person (and are growing) and make these decisions differently than your parents because you ARE different than your parents. I just feel like I'm not getting this opportunity, and I'm scared for that this means for my future. How can I grow as a person during this difficult time? Is it something I'm not seeing that's already happening? How can I grow away from my parents into my own person without abandoning them?
Secondly, I feel like I've finally unlocked the key to being happy, confidence. Its being ok with yourself, how you look, what you wear, and doing things that you like to do regardless of what everyone else thinks. Its being truly honest to yourself and accepting yourself entirely, your good and bad points. Its about having faith in your decisions and not regretting them, because you know you make the best decision you could with the information and emotion you had at the time. That's how you are happy in whatever you do.
Today has been a very trying day. Hopefully I figure out some answers to these questions in the future, but for now, all I have is questions.