Once again, we packed up the car, said goodbye to the girls and headed down the all too familiar road to Houston. This time it wasn’t after a weekend home from treatment. This time it wasn’t just part of the routine we had come to know. This time it was after 10 weeks of the ups and downs, and highs and lows of recovering from cancer treatments.
This day had been etched on my brain and heart since my last day of treatment back on July 26th (another date I won’t forget). Not only is today (10/2) my Dad’s 70th birthday, but it’s the day I have the scans that will determine if those words, “I think I can cure you,” spoken by Dr. Frank will prove prophetic. I wasn’t sure how I would feel today. Would it be just another day? Would I be anxious? Would I be scared? Would I be praying for a seeming miracle? Would I fear the results? Would I hold tight to my faith, regardless? And, now as I sit here in the waiting room anticipating my PET CT, I can say that the answer to ALL these questions is a resounding YES. I freely admit to you that today I feel a little (okay, let’s be real, A LOT) nervous and a little scared. Part of me, the all too human side of me, sometimes forgets God’s grace and mercy and control, is fearful of my results. But the better side of me, the spiritual side led by the Holy Spirit, reminds me to trust and be faithful. Because I know, regardless of what these scans show, I will be OK.
And, this morning I felt like it was important to talk to the girls and let them know that too. I drove Molly to school and held her hand in the car, trying to hold tight to these cherished moments. Surprisingly, this kind of affection is still a normal part of our relationship, but she is growing up and I know that someday it will change. Anyways, I wasn’t sure exactly what to say or how to say it, and I started to feel the tears welling in my eyes. I took a deep breath and silently asked God to give me the words and to calm my fears. And, sure enough, a calm came over me. I didn’t say anything brilliant, but I told her she didn’t need to be scared…that I would be OK…and that even if the tumor wasn’t gone it would still be OK if we hold tight to our faith. I’m not sure if that pep talk wasn’t meant as much for me as it was for her. She looked at me and agreed, reassuring me that the tumor was slow growing. The insight and depth of a precious 10 year old, was exactly what we both needed.
I had the same basic conversation with Meghan but in a very different way. I had to grab her and hug her before she left for school. I miss the days when she would just give me hugs and kisses and run into my arms. But I will take what I can get and I just held her tight (bear hug tight) and told her that I’d be OK and I didn’t want her to worry. She looked at me with that look a 14 year old gives her mother when she thinks you’ve lost your mind. But it was what I saw deep in her eyes that made me realize that there are moments she is still my little girl, and needs her mommy too. She hugged me back and I didn’t let go until she pulled away, with an, “OK mom.”
With the girls off to school we packed the car and hit the road. I can’t say on the road less traveled, but hopefully the scans will make it a road we travel less. The familiarity of the beautiful fields lined with the most perfect round hay bales, the horses and cows etching the landscape, and the perfectly puffy clouds dotted across the sky looked like a painting I’d seen many times before that always puts me at ease. Then, of course, there is Buc-ee’s which always puts a big smile on my face. But it still strikes me as ironic that we actually pass a ‘Plum Road’ on the way. Remember that someone initially described my tumor as similar in size to a large plum. This ever so slight of a reminder tugged at me and replaced some of the ease with harsh reality.
When we arrived in Houston the rain was falling, and I’d like to believe it was healing rain meant for me (Gina!). We drove by the Proton radiation center where I had 33 treatments over 7 weeks. I started once again to tear up (no I’m not PMSing!). I wanted to go see Deborah again, that sweet angel of a lady disguised as a receptionist, who made me smile everyday when there wasn’t much to smile about. But that reunion would have to wait as we had to make our way to the Mays Building for my scans. Not having spent much time at this particular building during my treatment, it didn’t have the same sort of nostalgic effect on me. That is, until they placed my hospital bracelet on my wrist again designating me as patient 1015769. It’s been nice not being a patient for the last 10 weeks. But once again I was in a familiar place with an all too familiar feeling.
I was concerned when they informed me that there was a power surge and everything would be delayed as they recalibrated all the scanner machines and computers. But surprisingly, I actually got in earlier than I was scheduled. I think people left thinking the delay would be too long to wait. But we were here and had no choice.
As they called me in, I was given a pair of scrubs that were much too large (definitely not getting any style points) and they took my weight and height. Having grown up in the 70s when we learned traditional units of measure (the push to metric never really catching hold completely), I hate it when I’m weighed in kilograms because the numbers mean nothing to me. Maybe sometimes ignorance is bliss! They started my IV and left me to rest for the required hour. It wasn’t five minutes after I had finally fallen asleep that they came to get me for the scan (of course!).
I took the previous 55 minutes to pray and open my ears and heart to hear the Lord. I was calm and relaxed during the scan, and feel like the nerves have subsided and I’m ready for my MRI and to once again kick cancer’s A$$. Romans 4:20-21 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.