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Hayley Ziebart

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Hayley Ziebart: Captive by cancer

A few definitions can be found for the word "captive." I was so intrigued by some of them - after looking it up on Google - that I simply must share:

#1: A person who has been taken prisoner.
#2: A prisoner of war, who is forcibly confined, subjugated or enslaved.
#3: One who is enslaved or dominated; slave.
#4: Kept within bounds; confined.

And my favorite...

#5: Subjugated; obsolete

Obsolete. No longer produced or used. Out-dated.

One thing all of these definitions make certain is that captivity is not a nice position to be in.

For the past four weeks, I've been enduring a hardcore "AC" round of chemo (AC stands for Adriamycin-Cytoxin, the poisons they are currently injecting into my 137-pound body), and I have been a captive.

My brain simply is not my own. During my very worst days, which are usually the five days following an infusion, my brain's function is best drawn as a flat-line.

Seriously. I feel as though my heart is beating, so I am alive, but my brain, is ... well, dead. People talk to me, I see them, I feel my ears picking up the vibrations, but my brain does nothing to translate information. I spend half my time asking for things to be repeated and the other half of my time praying that people won't figure out I'm pulling the mean, superficial "smile-and-nod" routine on them, just to be polite!

It's awful. And for those of you who know me and my incredibly SOCIAL personality, you can imagine that faking conversation is about the worst kind of torture for me.

Aside from my brain's function, my body is equally useless. Just picking up a fork to stab a piece of food that I know isn't going to taste very good anyway but still must eat wears me out.

For a solid four days after this current regimen, or "cocktail" as my mother likes to call my medicines, this is my function... or lack thereof.


And now for the part where I admit another form of captivity, a form where the cancer-blame-game doesn't apply.

Hello. My name is Hayley and I am a control-freak/worry-a-holic who preaches God's reality but continues to inflict unnecessary depression and fret upon oneself for reasons unjustified.

You know what I'm talking about. We all do it. But lately, I'm deeming myself the Queen of it.

I'm beginning to wonder if these medicines are giving me some sick, masochistic tendencies, as I swear I see the cage and say to myself, "Get in there!"

I wish I could explain our flesh, but it really is so deeply complicated and warped, and I suppose I know God didn't sacrifice all He did for us and pay our dues if the flesh was so easily defined.

You ready for this?

News flash, everyone: Life is not in your control.

Plan all you want. Plot all you desire. Lay out the next 10 years on a color-coded chart, laminate it and hang it on your office wall for all I care. You still have no control.

Don't you think I had a plan? A two-year and a five-year and, boy, can my husband attest to how captive I was of it - and, yes, am still trying to be!

CAPTIVE. I am a captive of cancer. True.

But BC - before cancer - I was/am a captive of myself.

The funny thing about captivity (like when you see a killer whale at SeaWorld and notice how their dorsel fin flops over because their body and their very nature just knows they aren't where they belong) is things don't function to their utmost potential. The captive killer whale will do tricks and listen to people's instructions for a while, but eventually that nature rises up in them and terrible outbursts of behavior occur. They know. They are not where they belong and they are not doing what they were made to do. Their purpose for life becomes... obsolete.

God MADE us for one purpose.


We were not designed to be wrought with stress and fear...doubts and regrets.

We were not created to be spent by things, entertainments and luxuries.

We were not knit together to be wasted on any aspect of living that this world offers.

As our dear pastor reminded this past weekend (on this same subject, mind you), we came into this world with nothing, and we are all leaving this world with nothing.

So before you spend another precious gift of breath (and I'm preaching to myself here, too!) on anything your life may need to be happy or feel less stressed because you "have it all figured out" ...


Find the front of the cage, reach your fingers through to the latch, open it wide, step out, close your eyes and call His Name. He is absolutely the only source of freedom this world offers.

And I don't know about you, but I'm ready once again to start living for the purpose I was created.

Hayley Ziebart is married with two sons. Read her Fridays on Douglas County Moms. Also check out her personal blog at lifesprom.blogspot.com.

I\'m beginning to wonder if these medicines are giving me some sick, masochistic tendencies, as I swear I see the cage and say to myself, \'Get in there!\'

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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:34PM Published Mar 4, 2013 08:52AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.