“TICK. TOCK. TICK. TOCK: BOOM!”
The verdict is in. The cancer is still: somewhere.
Yup- instead of a field goal, yesterday’s appointment was a cancer grenade. (I’d say it was a cancer IED but I doubt terrorists are involved. Even if there is a little element of terror. And Now I’m afraid I’m on some watch-list for even using the word IED. Grand)
I’ll be honest. I’m usually a “prepare for the worst, hope for the best ” kind of girl. I really thought that yesterdays appointment was going to have a happy outcome.
It didn’t. I was really caught off guard. (Why do we think we can be on guard and protect ourselves from this stuff- anyway? I’ll tell ya- it doesn’t always work.)
It wasn’t the worst news. (The worst would be: it’s too late he’s already dead. In fact-the man you’re married to has become a bacon craving zombie. That would be the worst.)
So, like I said- it wasn’t the worst- but- it also isn’t good.
My husband’s battle with prostate cancer ain’t over. (I even tried singing before the appointment to assure the outcome. Apparently a fat-lady singing isn’t magic. Bummer. ) His PSA has crept up. Into a range that means we’re now being referred to an Oncologist.
The Dr. said we need to look at this as managing a chronic illness. This battle may never end. (Well eventually- we all DIE. Duh. But, we may have this as part of our journey for the rest of our lives. However long that is.)
That’s NOT, what I wanted to hear.
I wanted to hear: “YAY! it looks good- you beat the odds! “ I wanted to hear: “I just don’t understand- it looks like he’s never had cancer- it’s just: gone.” (I keep asking trusting and believing that God could heal. He just: hasn’t. Not so far.) I wanted to hear: “Okay one year down- 4 more till we declare you “cancer free!”
So now what?
Well. I’m angry and scared and frustrated. I spent some time crying to and yelling at God. I took some time last night with friends. We took some time with our kids. We took some time together to talk about how we’re feeling.
Now- we take the next step. We wait for the oncology appointment and find out what’s next. Most likely it will be specialized hormone management. Which sucks- But not as much as many other cancer treatments. We’ve already done a couple rounds of that- so we know what to expect. It’s manageable. He can work.
All of which is good.
But this: sucks.
Over the course of this journey- I’ve had lots of people respond lots of ways…. my favorite? The one that’s helped the most, so far?
Carol Kuykendall during a series of emails said: that “Jesus Hates Cancer.” I told Carol: that needs to be a book. (I still think it does.)
Those 3 words gave me permission to hate cancer, too. I don’t have to be thankful for my husband’s cancer. (I tried to do that… it was just so WRONG.) I have LOADS to be thankful for IN this situation….. but for it? Not so much.
Those words communicated to me that while God is going to do good things in this- HE DOESN”T LIKE IT WHEN HIS CHILDREN HURT.
Those words gave me permission to feel. They helped me to stop trying to doctrinate myself out of feeling…..all the things I feel. it wasn’t helping….. it was exhausting me. It was making me feel like My husband’s LIfe was as precarious as my ability to BELIEVE enough and have faith enough to make him live. (Yeah- not going into the whole doctrinal thing rt now- but let’s just say: I was forgetting I’m not God. God, is God. He holds us. It’s not dependent on our strength- but His.)
Those words also remind me: He weeps when we weep. He knows this is hard. Scary. Sad. And real. He cares. He understands all that is involved in this struggle:
13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:13-16
He is present. Even Here. I know and trust that. Even when I don’t like what I see or hear. Which if you haven’t figured it out yet: I don’t. I hate it.
And that’s Okay.
Jesus Hates Cancer, too.
“Dear Lord- I love you but I HATE cancer. Please God- continue to work in and through this whole mess. I ask you to heal- I ask you to be our strength and hope. Thank you for the mercy you show when we feel and grieve- and the grace you offer- by joining in our pain with love and understanding. We weep. But- I know you weep with us. We hope- because you are. Thank you Jesus- for hating cancer. Thank you for fighting through this journey WITH us. And with all who do. I love you Lord- Amen.”
Dear Reader- If you’re struggling- know you’re not alone. God hates the things that hurt us….. but promises to do good things in them and to be there with us. Even Here.