by christie Perkins
Life is not a constant tumultuous wave of trials, as it sometimes appears to be. Even in a life with stage 4 cancer. Every once in a while there’s a
splash wave of goodness that comes your way.
You have to be watching for it.
Last month was tough for us. We currently babysit this cancer by periodically popping our head in on what is going on. We expect good behavior. But sometimes we find a mess we have to clean up. And sometimes, with some assistance, these messes resolve themselves.
I head into my cat scan a little concerned. My hip has been hurting much more within the last month and my legs are going numb. It’s all a strange sensation- these playdough legs. I wasn’t quiet ready to eyeball my current situation but here I was facing the day. Slight tightness constricted my chest as I waited for the CAT scan to pop it’s head in on me. My breath quickens. My mind tosses around the “what ifs” in my head.
So I pull out my handy back-up plan: I pray.
I’m sure it’s fine, I convince myself. Yet, I refuse to do the patient sneak peek at the scan before the doctor. Lets just enjoy today. I have come to know the power of today. Today holds possibilities, today is carefree, today is limitless with potential. Today is not shattered by tomorrows troubles. Today is great.
The next day was the doctor visit. I walked into the cancer center in detective mode. You know what I’m talking about: you know that they all know your secrets and you try to pick up their clues in facial expressions and hello tones.
But the clues are vague.
Were they avoiding eye contact because they know something… or are they just busy? I’m putting two and two together as I check in at the desk. And it all adds up.
My doctor tells me the bad news: The cancer has blown up. My one spot on my vertebrae has expanded to every vertebrae on my back. My hip has multiple spots (which explains the pain) and my ribs have more lesions also.
So suddenly life is blasted fast forward and what was projected several years down the road is now frosting my cake.
I can’t even remember the good news she started out with. She had to remind me: the lesions in my lymph nodes and my lungs have all significantly dropped and almost resolved themselves. The lump on the back of my head has shrunk significantly… which I already knew.
Oh, yah. That’s right. There’s good news. I’ve got this. Something is obviously working. I forced my mind to hear the good even though the negative news was blaring in my ear. She immediately ordered up a PET scan.
I only had one question: “Are you sure this is my scan?”
“Yes. It’s definitely your scan. There’s too many similarities,” the doctor said.
Splat. My hope plopped. But, I held firm to the good news and it kept me afloat during the day. Yet, at night my mind worked out the details of the “other news.” All in all, it was a rough week.
But, hold tight. The news gets even better.
More News… And a Wave of Goodness
So I endured the PET scan diet and ate my dino-licking diet of meat only and green leafy veggies. (By the way Romaine lettuce wrapped in a bacon self-stacked rack is not so bad… but maybe not quite as good as the BLT I was avoiding eye contact with.) Anyway.
So, if you don’t know, the CAT scan shows shadows of problem areas and the PET scan lights up the active shadows… or the tumors with cancer. There are sometimes some false positives in all of this but the doctors are pretty good about finding what is real.
So, I did my PET scan and waited.
Once again I enjoyed my “today’s”. For 5 days I enjoyed my “today.” But, on news day I dragged my feet and couldn’t quite get the corners of my mouth to brighten up. I did not want to face this day.
We prepared for the tough news. By prepare I mean we cleaned the house and prepped the kids with the words “…just so you know we may get some tough news today.” The surprise word bombs don’t work so well. So, I figured a little pre-anxiety would soften the blow.
Yet, when the doctor spilled the news my day grew bright. For today I had a little miracle and a lot of hope.
“The PET scan shows that your tumors are healing.” In other words they didn’t light up on the PET scan and it proved that the methods we are currently using are working. Yes, the cancer blew up. But also, yes, the treatments we are doing are working. Yes, we have an awesome grip on my stage 4 cancer. (And yes, it is still growing) And yes, I won’t be able to ever get rid of it… unless someone finds a cure.
Hurry it up, would ya. (Until then we are going to chase it around until it tires out.)
But in all of this I was relieved. How could I not be? And it was so good to go home and tell my kids good news. We needed the break.
Shortly after my good news I found myself worrying about the little ones still lurking. As I found myself thinking about the good news suddenly the questionable news would splash my mind and somehow drown out the good news.
I recognized that this wasn’t good.
So I would spend the night problem solving. Trying to figure out how to battle the beast. But one morning I woke up with the impression that I haven’t been able to shake. It wasn’t a big aha moment but a small thought that calmed me.
Just enjoy the wave of goodness.
Yes. That was it. That was how to battle this beast. I wasn’t going to come out ahead by finding a cure or getting ahead of the doctors (though I firmly believe in patient involvement). I was going to battle this baby by riding the wave of goodness.
For I truly feel that I will not be taken to a spot that I’m not supposed to be. There are too many prayers, too many hopes, too much trust in a loving God that I cannot deny that all of this is for my own good. He will guide me, of that I am sure.
This moment in my life is a gift. There’s so much good in my life and I am simply advised by a higher power to step back and enjoy the goodness.
Surfers are always looking for a good wave. I believe it is also what I must do. So right now I am riding an amazing wave of goodness and it truly lifts me to just enjoy the ride.
Enjoy the goodness when the wave comes in. Love it. It is my own little miracle and there are much more miracles in our lives than we even realize.
Just take a moment and ride your wave of goodness today. Relax. Enjoy the gift of today.
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