Where We Are

This blog has been quiet these past few weeks, not because I haven’t wanted to write nor because I didn’t have time to write. I have been quiet mostly because so much happened, so much beauty and joy and love being with my children and extended family over the holidays, and I have held it safe and close to my heart. Sometimes I just need to do that.

Today I saw my oncologist, so I thought I’d take the time to update y’all on where we are now. I explained to her much of what the past visits and appointments with my endocrinologist held. She got angry along with me over the way the other hospital handled my care. She was frustrated over the lack of communication from my endocrinologist’s nurse. And she sympathized with my fears and questions in a way that made me thankful all over again for the way God has provided her for me.

She felt for the enlarged node in my neck, and while she didn’t feel anything enlarged, there is clearly a spot that causes pain. The good news? Unless the node is the size of Dallas (her words), cancerous nodes are not usually painful. The not-so-good news? I can’t just ignore it like I want to. (Which isn’t really bad news, it’s just news I didn’t want to hear.) She told me she would be remiss if she ever ignored pain in one of her patients. I say, “Amen!” to that.

I will be having another ultrasound of my neck at my hospital, so the radiologists here can look at it. Then she will refer me to an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) to talk through what it might be and what my options are. It may be something as simple as a swollen node fighting infection. It may be more complicated like a blocked salivary gland which could require surgery. And they may still want to do an ultrasound-guided biopsy on it. Ugh. But she feels very strongly that that node is not cancerous.

As for the PET scan and the warm nodes in my chest. She looked at the PET again before she saw me and said the nodes are barely warm and so small that if they were to try to biopsy them, the surgeon wouldn’t be able to figure out which nodes to biopsy. She is encouraged by that. She would like to give it more time (since I’m not having any problems with my breathing nor any chest pain) before she does the next PET scan, so I am scheduled the beginning of April to have another PET and we’ll see whether those nodes have changed or grown or stopped being reactive.

All in all, it was a very encouraging visit. Do I like that I have to add yet another doctor to my repertoire? No. Do I like waiting another 3 months? No. Do I like to live wondering if I’m carrying death around in my body? No.

Brian once described it to someone that I live with an ax hanging over my head. There’s always something they’ll want to scan or check or just to be sure of… life will always be in a bit of limbo. It’s a hard place to be, and there are days where I am okay with living this way. Where my eyes remain on the steadfastness of my Savior Who carries me.

There are other days where the muck and mire of it all suck the life right out of me… and it seems it sucks my faith with it. When the doctor looked at me today and said, “Remember, you have had thyroid cancer and breast cancer and colon cancer. We are going to always be working with you to try to beat the odds.” I had to catch my breath. The odds are not in my favor. Sometimes I forgot that. Sometimes the weight of that truth slams me into what feels like an alternate reality.

But the reality of it all is this.

I am here.

I am with the ones I love.

I am carried by a Father Who loves and only does what’s best for me.

I await an eternity without any odds only certainties.

And so… I am okay with where we are.

(Thank you, friends, for your prayers, concern and encouragements. I am so very blessed by you.)

2 responses to “Where We Are”

  1. Angie,
    You carry your burden with such grace and hope. You inspire me to look for God’s love in the muck of my life…..which is nothing compared to what you have and are overcoming. May God continue to sustain you. Blessings, Val

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  2. Tyra Twomey-Smith Avatar
    Tyra Twomey-Smith

    Sweetheart, all of us live with an axe hanging over our heads. We only have so much time to spend with those we love, and only so many chances to do the millions of things we grow up hoping and dreaming of doing. The difference, as I see it, is that you can see yours, whereas most of us are privileged to ignore what we know is there anyway. When I read that line, about Brian’s description, I thought about your axe with bows wrapped around it. I’m not sure what that image means–on the one hand, I see it as your reaction. You *could* be throwing fire at it (and fire doesn’t aim well), cursing the world and being hateful, but instead you write, and you share, and you love, and you take this scary thing and find ways to make beauty out of even that. And then also it could be even more metaphoric (and a little morbid) and just a picture of how all of us were given a life that’s a gift, and the death that will come for us is part of that story, and it will bring its own joys too. It’s hard for me to think that way, though. I believe it, in a philosophical sense, when I can be silent and reflective for long periods, but there’s no way, when facing the impish glint in a real child’s eyes, to see the inevitable day when you’ll take your last look at her face as a gift. Really, that thought makes *me* want to set fire to things. So I guess the real image to linger on is the one behind the ribbons: You have a gift in how you see the world. And it may be scary to be able to see the axe, but you also have the ability–it’s in every word you write–to see the hand that’s holding it, safely away until it’s time. His time. He won’t let it fall early.

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