We got in last night, right before a storm. It started this morning, just in time for my appointments at MD Anderson. There was a tornado watch and flooding everywhere. The signage here is awful so I trudged through the rain (without an umbrella) for half an hour before finding the place. Soaked and frozen, I texted with friends that it could only get better.
I was wrong.
Now that I’ve lost my hair, at my best I feel like a hideously disfigured clown, so it wasn’t hard for the cruel doctors to crush what was left of my spirit. Still, they did everything in their power to make sure I was utterly devastated. It worked. First, the nurse practitioner met with me and told me there was no point in my ever having surgery to remove my tumor, because I’m going to die of cancer anyway. Then the esteemed Dr. Litton came in with two witnesses to drive it home. “Don’t look at this like chemo will be done in 6 months and the you’ll move on. Think of it like you’re chronically ill and maybe you’ll be on chemo until you die.” When I became teary eyed she pursed her lips, tilted her head in an exaggeration motion and said without emotion, “I know.” Just like she learned from reading the back of an empathy book. I didn’t bother taking notes on all the helpful tidbits she shared, but she repeated them all for me so I wouldn’t forget or get confused. “I would hate to give you false hope…our goal is not remission, it is just to control it… Metastatic means it spread. If it hadn’t spread, it would be different…cancer is smarter than us…” Then she sent me on my way.
I wish I had been strong enough to say something awesome about how God is smarter than her and cancer. Instead I thanked her profusely. Then I ran to our rented minivan and sobbed until I was dry heaving. The agony and profound sadness I felt was incomprehensible. I knew there was a chance there wouldn’t be good news here, but I didn’t need to drag my family over here to be pounded with negativity. And why on earth did I feel such peace and joy about coming here?
I’m barely even breathing so haven’t worked much out yet, but the general thoughts I have are that God gave me the excitement about coming so 1) I would come and 2) I would feel hope when I needed it. Maybe for some reason when the trip came together, God knew I really needed that good news. And of course there is a time for every season, “A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” (Ecc 3:4).
A pessimist might think I’m here to learn that I’m going to die. But I don’t see a point in that. I’ve heard it before, and don’t see why I would need to go through all this hassle to get it engrained in me. It is well-documented that people with the most positive outlooks stay healthier and respond better to treatment, so I’m going to reject the hypothesis that God would send me here to learn to shut up and die. Instead, I’m going to consider it more documentation that humans aren’t responsible for my imminent, total, (unexpected to the medical community) healing. Selah!
Before my appointment, God showed me a verse I now think pertains to these doctors trying to get me down. I’m going to cling to when I get upset about this experience: Col 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
Please note that Yaacov and I are trying hard, but this one is still a pretty deep wound. If people are looking for something to pray about, I would really appreciate a focus on lifting our spirits. I very much appreciate all the prayers so far, and we’ll continue to pray for supernatural healing as evidenced in my next PET scan (didn’t have one here yet but probably will in Tallahassee in the next month or so).
We were scheduled to be here through Friday, but I’m done here so we’re going back in the morning.
Jeremiah 14: 19
“Have you rejected Judah (Erin) completely? Do you despise Zion (the Petschers)? Why have you afflicted us so that we cannot be healed? We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror. We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord, and the guilt of our ancestors; we have indeed sinned against you. For the sake of your name do not despise us; do not dishonor your glorious throne. Remember your covenant with us and do not break it. Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, Lord, our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.”