The past month has been a challenge as I have struggled to recover from surgery. Pain has a way of blurring the lines between day and night, with time losing its importance. I peeked over the fence into the other side, which frightened me in ways that were unsettling. At such moments, it feels like you are freefalling, tumbling, tumbling, tumbling as you hope to soon reach solid ground. But it is there that the healing begins.
I have done a lot of praying as I lay in my sickbed. I admit that I am selfish in my petitions to God, asking for a calm spirit along with a reprieve, a respite from the discomfort. But in the quiet moments, I have also learned that The Lord makes our misery matter because He allows us to understand something important as we are ripped apart. We “wake” to the suffering of others and begin to live more fully with an open heart. Somehow, we are able to truly see the fragility of the human experience, something that we all share, for certainly, Joy and sorrow unite us all. And that insight, the heightened empathy, is the gift, the prize for enduring the difficult moments. This is how transformation happens.
Ultimately, I think, we are rewarded for keeping the faith, staying the course. I certainly have been. Unexpected miracles abound.
I expected the call and when it didn’t come, I held my breath. So much of my fate rests in the hands of the medical folks. I had been recommended for a clinical trial, along with the prescribed “big guns” chemo. My acceptance depended on how well my medical history aligned with their criteria. And so, when I was told that I didn’t qualify based on my pathology, I exhaled. Quite frankly, it was a relief, one less decision to be made. The nurse told me that she would begin to process my paperwork for chemotherapy, which I could expect to begin in the coming weeks.
I closed my eyes, feeling the cool breeze from the window God had opened when He shut that door. The blessing was imminent. An angel tapped me on the shoulder. “Ask,” the voice whispered.
“If I don’t have enough measurable disease for the trial, why do I need such aggressive chemo?” I said.
“Hmmmmm….Good question,” She replied. “Let me ask the doctor to call you so that you can discuss it.”
Within minutes, my phone was ringing and my doctor, whom I adore, was on the other end of the line. He readily agreed that there was a viable alternative to six months of treatment and given the choice, I eagerly accepted it. So I will begin a new drug, a different parp inhibitor. It isn’t without its toxicities and comes with a long list of side effects, but it isn’t chemo, and I will embrace it with gratitude. I now pray that it will work to kill the remaining malignant cells and keep the cancer from returning. I count on my prayer warriors to join me.
I sometimes think we tend to place our human limits on God, who is limitless. I have been reminded of His goodness over and over again in the past three years. And as we often say, while He is never early and never late, He is always right on time. And I am learning to be still and wait.