Yesterday I had an MRI. Friday I have a PET scan. Pathology on my lymph nodes is being done somewhere in a lab. Appointments are scheduled. Now, I wait.
Waiting can be a very dangerous place. It’s in the waiting that my mind can run wild. Thoughts of “What if?” tear paths through my grey matter, causing a new host of problems. Anxiety, sleep problems, and even back spasms can quickly sprout up.
As I shared earlier, I want to face this cancer journey with joy. Of course I’m not happy to have been diagnosed, but if I have to face this, I want to do it well. My intention is to be honest and transparent along the way, and the truth is, there are days that the mental battle rages and I feel as though I may not win. In my quiet time this morning I had to simply whisper, “I can’t muster up the joy. You have to do it for me.”
Psalms 23 is often quoted in times of sickness and death. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil . . .” (vs. 4). My mental picture of this place is actually cartoonish, drawn by none other than Dr. Seuss. Two pages that sit in the middle of the book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” have been forever etched in my mind. It is this place of waiting, that for me, has become synonymous with the valley of the shadow of death.
If you’ll allow me some creative liberty, this is how the story is playing out for me in this season:
Waiting for a scan to scan
or a test to come or some news to plan.
Waiting for a wound to heal
or my hair to grow or the nerves to feel.
Waiting for the phone to ring
or a bill to come or some other thing.
Waiting for good news or bad
for report results whether happy or sad.
Every day is just waiting.
Dr. Seuss would then reply, “NO! That’s not for you! Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying.”
I’m not sure any of us actually have the opportunity to escape the waiting. We do however, have a chance to transform our thinking about it. Even now, after sitting at the keyboard, processing thoughts and trying to convert feelings to words, I feel a peace settle in.
I know my prayers have been heard and I know I’m gifted with a community of love and support. And most importantly, I know the reality of the last half of Psalms 23:4 “. . . you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
We are never promised a life without pain and suffering. However, we can rest assured knowing that we never have to travel through the valley alone.