by Christie PErkiNS
This all started with my “trip”
to in Home Depot. I was just checking out lights. Luckily it was just my husband, me, and my random eyewitness that was on the aisle.
The floor was incredibly flat and smooth, not slick even a niche. Then poof! I dropped from eyesight. It’s like a magic trick. You know how tricks like this work: you see it, but you don’t.
How in the world can you fall on that? “That,” meaning nothing. I question my trick.
But, since my eyewitness was mentally documenting my fall and my husband had that quizzical look on his face I decided to fool them again. I pretended nothing happened. But the cock-eyed looks from the gents on the aisle made me splash out a smile, a chuckle, and a shrug.
Lets just forget that… moving along.
A couple of days later I’m in the granite store and we do a repeat trick. Wow. Fabulous moments going on here. Always getting the same quizzical look and silent words reverberate loud and clear in my ear…
What in the world?
My finale is always the same though: a smile, oops eyes, and a shrug. And the next several days I continue to fall when I walk. I trip on a thin cardboard box, the end of the broom- the straw fluffy-puff end, not the handle.
People begin booking my stunts.
Well. They are thinking about it I’m sure. I continue to practice at home and avoid public appearances. This life of tricks is quite appealing to the paparazzi.
I hide inside.
My visual migraines start up again and I am super lightheaded. I feel like I’m going to pass out while sitting down teaching a lesson and while checking out baby outfits (and no… there’s no additions coming…well, not to our house anyway).
I’m all off balance. My husband talks me into a self-tattle.
And since I’m at the cancer center already getting a blood draw I start in, “I think I’m okay, but I keep falling when I walk,” I say. Apparently that was the wrong thing to say (or right thing?). So… the cancer center evaluates my situation and jumps on a brain MRI.
And here’s a little factoid for you: Metastatic breast cancer (also known as stage 4 breast cancer) loves to travel to the bones, brain, liver, and lungs. Since my cancer is already a wide-spread bone dweller, we are hoping that the contract with the brain falls through. Don’t want these hoodlums creating ruckus in the neighborhood. So these strange unobstructed slip ups combined with my traveling cancer are concerning to the cancer center.
They had to check it out.
The Brain MRI
I wake up the morning of my MRI feeling okay. I’ve got this.
But, I walk in to find out that I have to reschedule. Apparently, I have to pre-medicate with Benedryl for 24 hours before. You see, last time I had an MRI I had a slight allergic reaction to the contrast: burning chest, itchy eyes, and a rash on my neck and chin and a few spots on my arms. Legs were itchy too. But it wasn’t major. They just gave me Benedryl and a bulging eyed body guard who greets me with “Whoa. Don’t move.” It’s fine.
I was puppy-guarded until my itching subsides.
Anyway. So there’s a hold up because of my past history with an MRI. Yadda, yadda- this can get boring fast.
We reschedule for the next day and my new body guard tells me that he’s worked at IHC for 25 years and he’s seen an allergic reaction to the contrast “maybe twice.” He assures me it’s really rare.
The next morning I wake up demonstrating my eye sprinklers- they seem to cover the area pretty well. Everything is settling in. Yesterday was fine but today wasn’t. Reality nips at my feet.
Everything goes well and my sleepy juice is kicking in. I’m grateful for a projected nap in the MRI machine… yet, anyone that’s ever had an MRI knows it mimics a war zone. If I can sleep through Star Wars this might be possible too.
There’s no nap going on. But this time all I can think of is heaven and smiling angels. It’s nice, it’s calming, and it’s working. Last time I imagined my kids running through sprinklers but the image goes retro and I see a bunch of images spliced in disconnected segments.
The power of the mind is incredible and I was able to override spliced images this time.
Done. I walked away content. I’m ok. Immediately I begin preparing for the news. I’ve been praying that I won’t lose my spark regardless of outcome. It’s my greatest fear- to lose my spark. So I overcome my fears by getting to work on how I will respond.
Responding to News
I had it all worked out.
I was going to give them the news. I wanted to make this easy on them. I would hate to be the bean spiller. When they talked to me I decided that this is how it was going to go. I would initiate the conversation:
“I’ve got 2 guesses. My first guess is they scanned my brain and found nothing. Do you understand the grief I’m going to get from my dad and brothers? They would say: There’s no brain? We always knew something was up with you.”
We had a good time joking about the last brain MRI results.
“My second guess is they found 2 black spots on my brain. One that’s tweaking my right leg and one that’s attacking my fat globules production center. It’s fine once that one is destroyed because I should be skinny again when that’s obliterated- so I’m not too upset about that one.”
And this is what I had planned in my head.
They would tell me about the brain tumors and I would tell them it’s fine. This was going to be okay. I wouldn’t even cry. I was going to stare it in the face and let it know who was boss.
But then the phone rang. It was the cancer center.
The Phone Call
I blew out a puff of air. Was I ready for this? My chest constricted. I can’t wait all day. I can’t just ignore this phone call.
But I wanted to.
I mustered up my courage and said a little prayer. Whatever was to be was to be. I knew and trusted in God’s plan for me. He has always been so kind and has always upheld me in my difficult moments. I know that He knows me and He knows what I am going through.
I have come to trust his comfort. I feel it and hold tight to it. And throughout this experience I have felt an underlying comfort. I knew that whether there was a tumor or not that it would be okay.
I know that he has a plan that only I can fulfill. We all do. I know that my life doesn’t just consist of here and now but I existed before I came to earth. I had a purpose then, in the pre-existence. I came to earth and am now muddling through whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing here. And when I die it will not be the end.
Of that I am certain. My purpose continues to exist in the eternities. I still have big things to do when I leave this life. Life is just not here and now. Life continues.
I took in a breath of air. Here goes.
“Hello,” I said. My pregame plan ran through my head. All the mumble jumble I created of easing their burden flashed rapidly through my head. And in a brief moment I decided what I was going to do with that plan…
Ah. Skip it. Let’s not extend this any longer than we have to. And just like that my plan dissipated with my breath.
“We got your test results back,” she said. Her voice was even, maybe slightly chipper. For a brief moment I battled what I should say. But I didn’t have to say anything the empty space was filled in quickly.
It turns out I’m just plain clumsy. Ok, well that’s not exactly the words they use. They tell me I’m fine.
So the crowd goes wild with finding my new-found fault. I’m so relieved my weakness could be so glamorous. I find my own reasons for clumsiness and dizziness: possibly my chemo pill, or possibly my deadened nerves in my legs from chemo treatments.
But, some have called it a miracle. I believe in miracles. Call it what you want but I do know one thing: Heavenly Father is so aware of us and He will help and bless us in whatever we face. He comforts us in our journey and when we get a little off kilter He sets us back up on our feet and gives us the strength to do all that He needs us to.
Thank you always for your unending prayers, friendship, and concerns. You all carry me. Have a wonderful day. And oh, if you see me fall, just smile shrug and know that I’m just plain clumsy.
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