Editor’s Note: Hayride contributor and all-around conservative hero Jeff Blanco has been diagnosed with cancer. A GiveSendGo fundraiser has been established to aid him with medical and living expenses as he takes on a fight for his life. Please give whatever you can.
Ten treatments. Ten more radiation treatments. That’s what I have left in my
battle WAR with cancer. Well, with wars you can never be too certain, but in my case it appears that my war with cancer is coming to a close. Perhaps this is the final chapter of my Cancel Cancer Chronicles.
I went back and read my first post announcing my cancer and my God how real and raw that was. It took me back to that day when I first met with my doctors. How it was the most intense days of my life. Intense may be an understatement, but I can’t seem to find another word to describe it. It took me back to that moment when I was ready to hear the words “I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do for you”. For those of you who saw me since my surgery, you understand just how severe this was. I don’t even need to explain it.
I would tell you that if you are diagnosed with cancer, one of the first things you need to do is secure some financial assistance as you go through your battle. You won’t be working, you won’t be bringing in money, and your expenses increase. The last thing you need to be worried about is money, so raise funds immediately. For those of you who helped me out, you have my deepest gratitude. I was able to get enough to push me through to the end and I should be able to recover financially. For those of you who offered up prayers, it was great to hear so many of you lifted me up to Christ.
There is one thing that I came to terms with as a Christian, and that is the Prosperity Gospel. Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with the idea that you can ask Christ for material things and he will deliver. That you should ask Christ for things that you want. This never set right with me. Although I’m sure if you ask Christ for things, he might give it to you, but this is the wrong spirit of being a Christian.
I believe that it is ok to ask Christ for the things you want, and a better ask of Christ is for the things you need. Christ will give you the things you need and he may give you the things you want, but Christ owes you nothing. God came to earth and suffered a cruel death so that we may have salvation. He puts breath in our bodies. He is not obligated to serve us, we are obligated to serve him. I decided early on in my war with Cancer that “Fear is contagious, courage is inspirational”. That I have an obligation to Christ to go through this as courageously as possible so that he may use my example as he sees fit. It is for Christ to decide how he uses my example for his purposes. If I never know how or if I inspired others, well then, it’s not for me to know. He may use it for a far greater good than I will ever know. Then again, all this may be to reach 1 person, or maybe it’s only for my sake. Regardless, I’m to serve Christ’s purpose and do so as courageously as I can.
One of the things that has kept me grounded in humility is the reminders that other people have been through much worse. I am not a 22 year old single mother who has to take her child to St. Jude’s. I am not that 6 year old who lost her battle with brain cancer. I am not that 14 year old young man who was executed despite his innocence. Why should they go through such traumatic experiences while I deserve to escape with no harm? I am not so special or important, just fortunate. I am older, and though I don’t walk away from this without my battle wounds, I still survive.
The surgery was 9 hours and I was in ICU for a day until I recovered just enough to sleep in a regular hospital bed. When they were transferring me out of ICU, I remember standing before the wheel chair and saying “Jeff you Cancer, I still stand,” only I don’t think I used my name. It was an important moment for me, because in that moment I just took Cancer’s hardest hits, and now I was working to getting back on my feet. The hardest point, however, came just two weeks later when I was reunited with my dog. It was a moment that I looked forward to, but when reunited he was so sick he could barely walk. I took him to the vet the next day, and well, my buddy of 14 years didn’t come home with me. That was a brutal blow.
But like all wars, you don’t come home without losing something.
Another loss seems to be my sense of humor. I’ve been joking and laughing all through this. It was important to me to keep laughing because it helped keep my spirits up. But now I seem to be all laughed out and more interested in sleep than jokes.
I do have a mask of my face. This mask snaps into place while I get my radiation treatments. I call it my Pompeii mask as it reminds me of the people of Pompeii whose bodies were scorched into an everlasting cast of the person they once were. I will be able to keep that mask. I don’t know what I will do with it, but I will keep it as a reminder of the things I lost in this war.
Ten radiation treatments left. My body is getting weaker, my taste buds are fried. Food is hard to eat. It’s just hard to get down when you can’t taste your food. I need to keep my weight up but now I’m beginning to lose weight. I just need to push through this last leg of this war. Christ owes me nothing but it was leaning into it my faith in Christ that really got me through. No matter what you are going through, just remember, Christ gives the toughest battles to his greatest warriors.
Thank you all for your prayers and your continued support as I finish off this war.