Fifteen years ago, my cousin lost her dad to cancer during my sophomore year of high school. I realized that cancer was the pits.
Nine years ago, my then-fiance discovered a lump and my life tilted on its axis and I realized that cancer is more than the pits. Cancer sucks. And surgeries and chemo treatments and CT scans took over our calendar for a while, and Chris got a clean bill of health, and in the midst of it we managed to have a wedding and apply to medical school and life went on with a beautifully clean bill of health.
Two years ago, our dear Yaya was diagnosed and this stupid disease reared its ugly head in my family yet again. I knew more about what to expect, but it’s still so hard to see someone you love enduring tests and procedures and treatments. The months went by and Grandmother Nancy finished her chemo and life settled in again.
Last week, my mom got some absolutely stunning news. In a completely roundabout, accidental way, an ultrasound looking for one problem found something different: a pleural effusion. Pathology analysis on the P.E. fluid revealed that it was caused by metastases in the lungs; the primary tumor site is still unknown. We’re flabbergasted. Mom hasn’t been “feeling sick” or experiencing symptoms that would make us wonder if something was brewing. And here we are, as she shuttles all over town to every doctor you can think of for every test they can order. Next week she’ll have a PET scan, which Chris says is likely the best source for discovering the original tumor and any other mets. Then on Thursday, she’ll have her first meeting with an oncologist, who will (hopefully) have all the tests results by then and will be able to lay out a full diagnosis and a plan for treatments.
It goes without saying that I covet your prayers – for my mom (Cheryl) and my dad (Jud); for my brother Jason, his wife Sharon, and their 5-year-old son Dylan, and for my little family. Waiting is tough. Waiting for results is tough. For mom, all the tests are probably wearying and some of them involve drinking nasty stuff or having scopes or needles aimed her way. Yuck.
As I have prayed this week, the thing I keep coming back to is that God is Sovereign. He is sovereign when life is good; He is sovereign when life is bad. I do not doubt His extravagant love for my mom or the others in our family. I believe that He weeps along with me every time the enormity of this situation hits me fresh, and I am comforted by the fact that He promises to make all things beautiful – in His time. It can be so difficult to see the beauty, or the joy, or the peace at a time like this – but I trust that God can bring all of that: beauty, joy, and peace, and more, from this part of our lives. A couple of weeks ago I was reading for my Bible Study group & I came across the Bible passage that tells us “He knows the end from the beginning” and that resonated with me like it never had before. I trust that God has been preparing my heart for this valley, and that He will lead us through it, a gentle Shepherd.