Pensive anticipation February 11, 2014Posted by Judy in Musings.
Tags: breast cancer, healthcare, surgery
I’m a planner and a thinker. I am forever thinking ahead to what is next and imagining, in detail, how it’s all going to work out. What’s this delivery going to be like? How is this road trip going to pan out? What am I going to say when I call the pediatrician? Most of the time, it doesn’t work out the way I imagine it, but that hasn’t stopped me from continuing the imagination game. When thinking about the upcoming surgery, I was pretty sure that I would be in full on freak out mode by now. I even had a partial blog post composed in my head about the freak out. Given that most of my imaginations don’t come to fruition, I shouldn’t be surprised that this time was no different.
But I am surprised. I mean, why wouldn’t I be freaking out.
It’s a big deal. Sure, it’s a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy, but it’s still a big deal.
Instead of being in freak out mode, I’ve been very pensive, almost brooding. I’ve been completely lost in thought for the past few days and I’ve come to the realization that I’m not actually looking forward to the surgery. You would think that I WOULD be looking forward to the surgery as that would mean that something was finally being done about the cancer. But that’s exactly the problem: something is being done about the cancer. Up until now, I could easily pretend that nothing was wrong. Even though there was a flurry of doctor’s appointments, cancer was only the focus during the appointment. Once I left the cancer center, I could effortlessly push cancer under the rug and behave as though life was normal. In fact, the past three weeks since the setting of the surgery date HAVE been quite normal. We’ve gone on playdates, gone to church, done regular grocery shopping and I’ve used my new workout gym. For all intents and purposes, everything was honky dory.
The surgery is a reminder that everything, in fact, is not honky dory. Rather than denoting the ending of this journey, it signifies the beginning.
It will be the beginning of paranoia. What is this pain? Why do I have a headache? What are these marks on my skin?
It will be the beginning of constant monitoring and testing.
It will be the beginning of the uncertainty.
This, is the beginning of the rest of my life.
You may say, “But everyone has uncertainty in their life.” True. Most uncertainly is easy to ignore given it’s ambiguity. Prior to December, I knew uncertainty was there, but I didn’t have to think about it. Now that my uncertainty has been stripped of it’s ambiguity, now that it has a name, there is no chance of snubbing it. I have to face it head on and come to terms with it. I have to come to terms with the fact that there are no guarantees. The apparent early stage of the cancer doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t come back in a metastatic form. The fact that there is likely no lymph involvement doesn’t mean that I won’t have to endure chemo. The only guarantee is that I have to have radiation. While it doesn’t bring on the same horror as chemo, it’s no walk in the park.
So I’ve spent the past few days contemplating the uncertainty and the lack of guarantees, and acknowledging that my paradigm of what constitutes normal has shifted. The most important realization, however, has been that shifted paradigms are only an issue if you don’t have a solid rock on which to cling. I have faith in the great God of the universe and in His healing powers. I believe in His promise that “anything we ask for in prayer, believing that we’ll receive it, will be ours.” (Mark 11:24) It is by this faith that I’ll hold on as my paradigm shifts wildly about. This faith will help me adjust to the new normal. This faith will hold me up and sustain me.
And so it goes, the beginning of the rest of my life.