Experience of Foot Washing

Warning! Swear words included.

Some good friends of mine have taught me 2 sayings these past couple of years. This started in 2020, and not just because of the COVID shutdowns. My parents’ home flooded, and they pretty much lost everything—followed by all sorts of other annoying need to deal with things. But then these 2 sayings! These sayings help us mentally ward off and call out all the shit that life throws at us.

"Fucktastrophe"

"Fuck this shit"

I believe having cancer (and all that comes with it) fits well with the plenty of days that are a fucktastrophe, thank you chemo. And for everyone who has had cancer or will get it, "Fuck. This. Shit."

I was reading a post in a cancer Facebook forum where someone was expressing such gratitude for their caretaker— that person was carrying him through his cancer journey. Later, I read a heartbreaking post where someone needed a caretaker, yet they didn’t have one—they didn’t even the funds to buy one—Fucktastrophe.

I wish I could adequately state how much being taken care of is not my norm. So, “fuck this shit” is the best I can do. I've let go of big pieces of me.

My ego.

My independence.

My insecure shyness of parts of my body.

This year has been a wild ride and I will not come out the same person on the other side. I do think I’ll be a better version of me.

A friend said something along the lines of, "You’ve been busy washing the feet of others. It is your turn to have your feet washed." And it is humbling. I am learning how to not be Peter and say, “no,”—pointing out all the reasons why my feet should not be washed.

Side note: The next two statements are from my perspective. I cannot speak for others.

Looking in from the outside: I would hear people share their struggles with me (e.g., someone needs help in the bathroom, another cannot live on their own, yet another can’t get from the couch to the bed on their own). When I was looking in from the outside, I honestly believed that it is hard to accept help. BUT we love you, and there is nothing to be upset about. Those caring for you want to help.

I would often say, “Does it make you feel good to help others?”

The response, “Of course, yes.”

“Then let others feel good and let them help you.”

Looking out from the inside: Fast forward to today—to all those big pieces of myself I’ve let go. It is humbling. It is horrifying. It is vulnerable. It of course feels good to be loved and cared for, BUT there is no part of me that wants to NOT do it on my own. I mean, there are days the doctor has told my family that I should not even be living on my own.

This new humbling, horrifying, and vulnerable experience also includes kind gestures—from small ones to large ones.

  • I was sharing with a good friend that in October, my third week post-infusion #4 (where I usually feel good) falls on a fall break of a few of my friends. I was hoping I’d feel up to a bit of a road trip. I’d have to get to Indianapolis on my own and then I’d be good to go with my friends for the trip. So, just a 5ish hour drive on my own. As my friend was departing he said, “I’m more than willing to drive you to and from Indy so you can go on the trip!” I wouldn’t have even imagined asking someone to drive 10 hours out of their way twice so I could have a fun week. That’s just too much.
  • On Friday, of Labor Day weekend, I check my email around 5:30 p.m. and find numerous emails from some of my college friends saying, “…sent you an Amazon Gift Card.” They had decided on the same day and time they’d surprise me with some sunshine. And suddenly, I don’t have to worry for awhile if I have the funds to order something on Amazon!

These are just from this week and are only two examples. Some others include:

  • Mom, Dad, Denise, and neighbor Mike taking the daily (where I have the most needs) care
  • Rides to the hospital
  • Picking up dog food
  • People’s visits on my deck
  • Cards
  • Flowers
  • Money
  • Plumbing/installing a new bidet toilet seat (the more ewww stuff)
  • Cleaning/weeding
  • Someone else fighting my insurance battles
  • Lego sets/watercolor sets/books/bracelets/gift baskets/coloring books (some even with swear words!)
  • Chemo shirts

And while I've said this numerous times, this round, I’m ready to tap out of this chemo stuff. Yet, I am reminded again, I am not doing this alone. Thank you for washing my feet!

Round three is on Tuesday (9/5), please send those good thoughts, prayers and vibes my way. I’m praying for a round of chemo that is not a fucktastrophe!

6 responses to “Experience of Foot Washing”

  1. Margaret Vredeveld Avatar
    Margaret Vredeveld

    Cancer is definitely enough to make
    a preacher swear!!! I love your honesty. Still wearing the bracelet around the clock. It’s my way of being always praying for you! 🙏🏼💞🙏🏼

  2. Joann Johnson Avatar
    Joann Johnson

    I agree with you and Margaret! I am also wearing my bracelet constantly so I can pray for you too! I am praying that one day you will stand on the other side of cancer.

  3. Heather Battle Avatar
    Heather Battle

    Cancer is indeed fucktastic, Dana. You’re on my mind and in my heart and my mom added you to the prayer list at our Lutheran church. Love you to the moon and back. Hey cancer, you leave my sorority sister alone!!

    1. Dana Hendershot Avatar
      Dana Hendershot

      Thanks, sister!!

  4. Christina Avatar
    Christina

    Our congregation will be holding you in prayer until you are through.this.shit. Sending lots of love and I HEAR you about the independence thing. It would be TOUGH to lose that. even temporarily.

  5. Debi Avatar
    Debi

    You’ve been taught perfect swear words ! ;)), this cancer trial you are on will help you( as it already is) be a beacon for others. You are never alone, many prayers are sent your way today and always.

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