Literally and figuratively. I was in a huge funk for the past few days. I became really negative about Mayo, and about the potential results of the brain MRI I had yesterday. It seemed like there was no chance we’d hear any good news, and I just could not take any more bad stuff. I remembered that the Lord is my strength (Ps 28:7, etc.), but it seemed like the part of me that it takes to move one foot in front of the other wasn’t strong enough to even lean on His arms.
So we got to St. Augustine late last night and stayed with our friends Andrea and Neenad. Neenad is the one I’ve mentioned does all my cancer-thinking for me and directs my path. He found all my beloved doctors for me and got me into Mayo in the first place. But he can’t erase the cancer on my PET scan or remove it with the wave of his hand. God can, of course, but sometimes it’s hard to really feel that when you’re down.
The kids cried through the drive then Naomi was up all night, yada yada. Then we show up at our appointment and there’s a woman my age standing next to me with a mask on her face. Her mom has to check her in because she can’t speak. She needs a pail to throw up in because she’s had two strokes and can’t hold her own puke bag. “No! A bag will not do! I must have a large pail for my daughter’s vomit.” I prayed and tried to praise God that I can still hold a flimsy puke bag. The prayer fell flat.
Anyway, I immediately despised the first doctor we met, but she did grow on me. Then she insisted that I meet with a geneticist to see if I got this cancer from a mutant gene. I knew this was an issue, and because it pertains to my children (if I have it they likely will), it is extremely touchy. The other doctors had told me it was an issue to be addressed later, so I was entirely unprepared to face it today. We’ll get the results in a week, and the positive part about it is that if I do have it, my brother will know what to get extra screening for, and in 18 years Abigail can begin early screening to catch the stuff before it’s too late. Plus, in 18 years the treatments will be much better.
Overall, the genetic stuff and very real cancer patients at the hospital devastated me and I had an awful day. Yaacov tried to get me to focus back on God but I didn’t put my heart into it. By the time I met with the oncologist I was sprawled out on his waiting room couch crying and had decided my hope was gone. Sort of bipolar considering how I felt just days before. I kept thinking I needed to focus on something positive but instead embraced the sadness without even trying to go the right way.
The oncologist walks in and doesn’t have any new findings, isn’t lovey-dovey the way I wanted, and didn’t seem to really care about me. But, God was there. And God still answers prayers, even when I fall short and lose sight of what’s really important. This guy walks in and says word for word what Yaacov and I said to each other and God the other day. He said, “We’re just going to treat this cancer like it hasn’t spread. Like it’s Stage 3.” No one else had suggested this, online or in person. But Yaacov and I talked about it and I think we discussed it with my family when they were in town. The words were so beautiful. I know cognitively that pretending it’s Stage 3 is not the same as it actually being Stage 3, but the difference to me is huge. It’s the difference in being treated like you’re living instead of dying. And guess what? I’m ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m so grateful to be alive at all, and that God set it up with those words, just to comfort and remind me that He’s listening. Plus the last few days I had fleeting thoughts telling me to stop thinking like I’m dying and remember that I’m living. But I’ve mostly ignored those.
Not anymore! I’m alive in and through Christ, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus… (Ephesians 2:4).”
I’m also just alive in general. None of us know when our last day on earth will be. I always thought I’d sort of know when things were happening, but I was wrong. I had no inkling about this cancer thing. So I probably won’t have an inkling about the day He heals me either. It’s so that no man can boast.
Thanks to all who read and comment on this. I’m trying to get back to as many people as I can, but it’s a slow process. Please know I love you all and you have no idea how grateful I am for your prayers and support.