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  • Writer's pictureDerek North

Not OK is OK

August 2018

My life is so Not OK right now

Last fall, almost a year ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in my nasal passage and throat. It had already spread to one lymph node on my neck. If the cancer had continued to spread through my lymphatic system, there would be no cure. I was literally a “hop, skip, and a jump” away from death. So treatment was fast and aggressive. From October 2017 to April 2018 I suffered the gruesome effect of multiple chemotherapy drugs and 35 radiation treatments. It order to save my life it was necessary to destroy much of it. But now to the glorious praise of the Lord’s healing abilities, and his work through modern medicine I am cancer free. I am in a 5 year period that is called “Observation and Recovery”. If there is no reoccurrence of cancer after 5 years I will be technically cured and enter into the, commonly known, Remission stage.

But I am Not OK

My life is still upside down in so many ways. My health is different. My emotions are different. My spirituality is different. And the most difficult part of all that is I don’t know how those things are all different. I just know that they are. I am suffering through what might be described as low grade post traumatic stress. I am often triggered by a certain smell that reminds me of a tragic event during treatment and suddenly begin to weep. I will begin meeting with a counselor in the coming weeks. Over the past year, and continuing on, there have been and will be so many miserable things that are outside of my ability to control. I cannot control the emotional rollercoaster that I am on. I cannot control the lack of saliva, nor the lack of energy, nor the lack of hearing. There is a real chance that in 5-6 years my teeth will rot and need to be replaced due to the high levels of radiation I received. This makes me deeply afraid.

All of these things are Not OK

But God is still the King over all things, even the not ok things in my life. And I am alive. That is enough to keep me moving forward. But I am learning that in order to move forward I must accept the “not ok-ness” of my life. I cannot shrug off my cancer, the devastating effects of treatment and say “yeah that was hard, oh well, it’s over now, back to normal”, or “God loves me so it’s all good!” It’s not all good. It’s awful. It’s still hard. It’s still not ok. But in accepting that I find healing. Allowing myself to be ok with not feeling ok is moving me forward. In the authenticity of that concept God meets me. And when God meet you, you change.

I am still not ok. But I am still loved by God and moving forward. And so can you…

Derek North

Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church of Davis

2023 update: no reoccurrence, I'm in remission!



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