I would not say that I have ever been super religious. I was lucky to have parents that raised me with a strong religious foundation as a young child, but I was too young to really understand. After a while, life got busy and we started going less and less.
Despite this, I have always had a strong personal relationship with God. Through the hardest times of my life, I looked forward to going to bed so I could talk to Him and pray to Him. He was there for me during those times and truly got me through what felt like the longest days.
A lot of people who face life's challenges often blame God. Whether it is a loss of a loved one, or a diagnosis of cancer, people tend to turn on God. They don't understand how He could possibly do such a thing.
I never reacted that way. From the second I found out, I never turned on God; I never asked Him, "Why me?" I had a deep, spiritual feeling that this was put in my life not to kill me, but to help me. Sure, it is cliche, but I truly do think things happen for a reason. I knew that this was a part of my plan. I didn't blame God for it.
Oddly enough, however, I didn't feel as connected to God throughout this experience. For the first time in my life, I couldn't pray to Him. It was like there was a wall or a block preventing me from communicating. I tried a few times, and words simply did not come out. I didn't know what to say, and I actually felt awkward. I always wondered why this was so. Why would I not be able to reach Him during the time you would think I need Him the most? But I could feel Him there with me throughout my journey nonetheless.
Many times, I think about my life now compared to how it was before. Sure, I often dwell on and crave the normalcy that defined my life before my diagnosis, but is "normal" necessarily good?
I feel as though now I enjoy my life so much more than before. I appreciate the small things in life. I look at a "normal" day as something spectacular, and think about how grateful I am for the days that I am not weak or in pain. I look forward to my future, knowing that I can take my experiences to help other people.