Tuesday, May 12, 2015

not cancer.

I went to bed last night thinking about the very real possibility that today we would hear the words "it's cancer."

I'll back up. Dan's been having random bouts of extreme fatigue and getting sick repeatedly these past few months. Then he woke up with a lump in his neck a week-and-a-half ago. It's like a racquetball was lodged under his ear. After blood tests, specimen tests, X-ray, CT scan and MRI, they decided to biopsy the thing last Friday.

We kept our cool but the weekend was rough. The waiting.

This morning we went together to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the appointment, and learned that it's definitely not lymphoma (which we assumed it would be) and that at this point it "doesn't appear to be cancer"...

Phew. Happy dance.

Not cancer.

But it could have been. And could still be, someday.   We still don't know what's wrong wth Dan's neck.  The surgeon he's seeing at M.D. Anderson wants to watch it carefully over the next month or so, because the possibility is still there that this could be something funky from somewhere else in his body.  But for now, we are taking this as good news. 

I wish I had taken the time to journal and write yesterday, before the appointment, but I was too - too simultaneously overwhelmed and numb and all cried out. So we caught up on some Madmen instead.

The tragedy -- husband and father to two small children leaving this world too soon -- this stuff happens every day you guys. It wasn't us (this time) but it could have been.

Amidst the relief, I've been wrestling with the what does this mean of it all.

Last night I pictured our life in the worst possible scenario, thoughts I can't even speak out loud they frighten me so much. The question we've all considered hypothetically "what would you do if you only had six months left to live," was like a plausible thing for us.

Now today, I head to the pharmacy to pick up some antibiotics then I have a margarita at lunch with my no-cancer husband.

What does this mean, and who the heck are we?  Who are we to be so lucky that it's "probably just some undetected infection somewhere else in the body." Who are we to have the peace of mind now knowing that a long dose of antibiotics might just nip the thing in the bud, and no, there probably won't be surgery or chemo or radiation or worse.

It's leaving me feeling humbled. And kind of stupid. If I had journaled yesterday, this would read differently, and maybe exhibit some raw(er) sentiment.  I probably would have written about how much I love my husband and what an amazing man and father he is. I probably would have elaborated on my own insecurities about needing him so much.   Now all I can think about is how ashamed I feel that perhaps my negative feelings towards the whole thing were half fear and devastation (for reals) and half annoyance of how this was going to disrupt my world.  Like, him being all fatigued all the time was really throwing a wrench in the balance of our (unbalanced) home and it was buggggggin me already.   Imagine how hard it would be for me if it's something really serious.  Maybe this is because I'm a selfish sinner, maybe it's because I was hiding from the real emotions.  Maybe both.   I barely even let myself go to the emotional place of dear God what if I loose my husband this year, except alone to myself in the shower where the flowing water could immediately wash away the tears and I could get out and towel off and get back to doing things.  That's how I roll I guess.

We all feel things differently. Or sometimes I try not to feel, or pretend like I don't feel.

But. Effing Cancer. I felt all kinds of things.  Even if you've been affected by terminal illness through friends and extended family and co-workers, you don't feel these things until the real possibility of something like this happening in your house hits you in the face (or neck).

We had lots of people praying for Dan the day before the appointment. While I definitely believe in the power of prayer, I don't for one minute think that Dan is a-okay because he had the most people praying for him.

As we walked down the long waiting room aisle toward our appointment, we passed quite a few other patients, some obviously in the thick of cancer treatments.  They've prayed.  As we walked by I considered, we could be joining them soon.  

Then, news. Not cancer. On the way out I felt guilty about the smile on my face and relief in my heart. We won't be coming back here often. 

I bet each one of the other patients we saw has prayer warriors speaking to God all the time for them like it's their job. 

 And God reigns and God loves.  And people still get cancer.

I don't get what this means. But I sit here thankful.  

So I'd like to dedicate today to the ones who have prayed and prayed and still gotten the bad news. God keep us humble and give us perspective in everything that we do.

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