After three Fridays with difficult, confusing, and stressful news, yesterday was wonderfully uneventful. Of course, I probably should state that there was no oncology appointment yesterday, hence, no update that might be difficult, confusing or stressful.
I did find out something on Monday that I have tried to stuff somewhere into the back of my brain. A blood test taken on Friday March 2 to determine the presence of CA-125, which can be a cancer marker for ovarian cancer, reported a score of 585 (normal would be 0-35). While there are many disclaimers that CA-125 is not a definite indicator for ovarian cancer, my oncologist feels that this can give us something to monitor in the months ahead.
I still don’t understand how ovarian cancer could be possible, but then I am still in shock about the entire cancer diagnosis. If that swollen lymph node had not appeared in my neck, I guess that I’d still be thinking things were okay. My cough has not been in my chest, so no one suspected that the lungs and bronchial tubes had cancerous patches and a mass. I’m taking a little anti-estrogen pill every morning and hoping that the CT scan on Thursday will reveal that the cancer is not growing and maybe even shrinking somewhat. My mind won’t go to the question of what happens if that proves false; I’m glad that I have such confidence in my doctor to handle that kind of question.
I don’t like surprises. I really don’t. I want to know the ending because then I can better enjoy the experience. Since fifth grade I have never read a book without first reading the last 2 pages to be sure that it would “end.” (Chalk that one up to my reading a fabulous YA mystery in fifth grade, only to discover that someone had ripped out the last several pages; the local librarian discounted my insistence that she find another copy so I could see how it ended. Little did she know I would be affected for life by that!). It doesn’t matter to me if the ending is good or bad, happy or sad; I just want to know that the author will tie things up and that the story will “end.”
I don’t like uncertainty or surprise parties or questions that have no answers. I’m fine with delays and postponements and promises yet to be fulfilled. Tell me what the situation is; tell me that I can’t know the answer in this lifetime; tell me that what I desire will not be realized. I have learned that God gives strength when I need it, and I’ve experienced the adage that God is never early and never late but painfully last minute. I am confident that He wins in the end, on a Creator-of-the-universe scale and also in my personal life.
I want my next oncology appointment to be definite, to be a here’s-what-we-face-and-here’s-how-we-will-move-forward. I don’t want another surprise or another uncertainty.
I also know that this experience is not about what I want and that it’s not a test of some sort that I can fail. It’s another opportunity for me to trust Him with everything, especially with the surprises and uncertainty. My life has been a testimony to His faithfulness, and I know this too will affirm that He is trustworthy. I think that I might have to try to find something to appreciate in surprises and uncertainty.
Right now every day I am going to school, teaching my classes, grading papers, proofing comments, attending meetings, and talking with students about March Madness and our brackets. My family and I are enjoying the wonderful meals and gorgeous flowers and plants, and I am cherishing each thoughtful and kind note that I receive. I am not pushing myself past the limits of my endurance or even coming close to those limits (shocker, I know). I sleep fairly well at night and do often take a bit of a rest in the afternoon, and I am not running around as much as would be usual for me. My birthday last weekend was a precious time and a reminder to me of how very blessed I am to have family and friends who care about me.
Life may be hard, but God is good—all the time.