Saturday, November 17, 2012

The week I thought Cancer was back.

This past week, I went in for my regular mammogram.  I was actually feeling pretty calm - I mean, it's been close to 3 years now since The Bad News, and things had been feeling pretty good.  Add to that the fact that I've been doing a good job taking care of myself - cutting out added hormones where I can, eliminating soy, taking vitamins, and losing weight - it adds up to good stuff in the cancer world...or at least, it's supposed to.

But the mammogram tech said that she needed to get another picture, and said it was no big deal.  Then, they had to take me back to the ultrasound room, "just to get a different view."  Then, they kept coming back for more and more pictures, until The Radiologist came in to take a look personally.

My heart sank.

And in that moment, I knew that, once again, I had the choice to trust God or deny His power and sovereignty.  I once again found comfort in the fact that, though this was certainly taking me by surprise, it was no surprise to God.

As The Radiologist was looking things over, she kept making concerned noises, until she finally said, " Unfortunately, I see something that shouldn't be there.  I see a lump.  It might not be cancer.  But I don't know, and we need to check."

I wanted to throw up.

When I first heard those words three years ago, I remember being overwhelmed with the fear of the unknown.  But this time, I understood what cancer could mean.  I knew the pain, the trauma, the agony that came with that word, both for me, and for those close to me.  And I didn't want it back in my life.

They managed to get me in for the procedure to check the lump the next day, but it still seemed like a long time to wait.  And in that time, I wrestled with the fact that I might, once again, have cancer.

Truthfully, I thought I did. 

And somehow, I became ok with that.  I knew the road would be hard.  I knew it would be painful.  But I also knew that I had grown to thank God for the cancer the first time, and if He decided to use it for His glory a second time, I was prepared to trust Him for that.

Not my will, but His, was my hope.

And in the meantime, God gave me a couple of opportunities to share my perspective on cancer when seen through the lens of a child of God.  I'm so thankful for those conversations.

I went in for my procedure, and I was so blessed by the nurse.  She was so very kind, throughout the whole process.  I made it through, and went home to recooperate.

And wait.

The waiting felt long.  I wasn't sure if I would hear back on Friday or Monday, and I so hoped for Friday.  I knew that the earliest that the clinic would get any lab results back was 11am.

I kept my phone very close by. 

Just after 11:30, the phone rang, and my mouth immediately went dry.

It was The Radiologist.  I found it awkward to go through small talk, but I tried my best. 

"How are you?" I asked.

"I'm fine," she replied. "How are you?"

I felt like that was kind of what the whole phone call was about, so I just waited.

"Well," she started again, "It's good news." 

I finally exhaled.  She gave me a lot more of an explanation, but truthfully, I retained very little of what she said.  It'll probably be in a report somewhere anyway.  But I'm cancer free! And I'm so very thankful. 

God could have allowed the cancer to come back, and He still would have been good.  I would still have acknowledged His faithfulness.  But I am immeasurably grateful that God, in His goodness and grace, has allowed me to stay cancer free. 
But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    for he has been good to me.
           Psalm 13:5-6

I'm so thankful to be a survivor!

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