“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
It was one of those nights last night, where I tossed and turned and I had to constantly remind myself that God knew each toss and turn–that He was keeping count of my tears. It has been a rough couple of days, compounded by the fact that I was on such a “high” of relief from my blood test results last week. That “high” crashed and burned yesterday.
Following up on the coughing and the hoarseness I have been struggling with the past five months, I had my throat scoped yesterday. Yes, it’s pretty much as delightful as it sounds. Turns out this isn’t stomach or acid related at all…
My left vocal cord is paralyzed.
“I don’t want to be an alarmist,” my ENT said kindly (and he was so very kind), “But the first place we have to go is cancer.” There could be a tumor pressing on the nerve to my vocal cord (thyroid, throat or lung). It was at that point that I kinda forgot to breathe.
Sometime in the next week or so I will have a full body PET and CT scan of my neck and chest. They haven’t called me yet with the date.
All that being said, my ENT also told me that there are plenty of cases where it’s not cancer and it’s something else, and sometimes they are never able to figure out what caused it. The fact that my PET in January and my CT in April were clear is a good sign; however, he said, “You weren’t hoarse like this then, so we have to check.”
Honestly, y’all, I don’t think I have cancer again. I really don’t.
It’s the fact that my vocal cord is paralyzed, and it could be permanent.
There are things they can do–send me to vocal therapy, inject collagen into the vocal cord to thicken it so that it will work with the other vocal cord, and there’s another type of surgery that still confuses me how it works. But even with all these things, sometimes, the hoarseness never goes away.
I tossed and turned a lot last night. I struggled to believe everything I’ve ever written here. I wrestled. I wept.
Then the quietness came.
This morning I spoke with a friend who’s facing her own cancer battle. We talked about how the psalms are full of struggling with God, of how fear is real, of we have a God we can go to with our fears. We talked of Gideon’s battle against the Midianites and we talked about the faithfulness of God. We talked of wrestling with God and how it’s not wrong to wrestle–that God wants us to come to Him with His struggles, and that He is faithful to help us in those struggles.
I have cried over the fears of what this could mean… I have ached to sing over my daughter each night like I used to, to harmonize with Micah, to belt it out with Asher at church, to turn up the car radio and sing loudly, to sit with my Bri and his guitar and sing, our voices blending up and in and over each other’s seamlessly. What if I never get to do any of these again?
In November I stood with my Brian before our congregation, and we sang,
Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need
(~Shane and Shane)
What if I can never sing again?
Is God still worthy of my praise?
A resounding yes.
He is the ONE who is all I need.
And one day, whether it be next week, next month, next year, or in eternity, He will put a new song in my mouth…
My heart and flesh are failing these days. It is hard to reconcile what this could all mean… the what if’s.
But I can’t go there… I cannot dwell on or sit in “What if…?”
I do; however, know what is.
His truth, His Word, stands unchanged. And “these are written so you may believe and that you may have life in His name.” My life is in His name, not in my voice.
John Piper says, “Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.”
I will wrestle with this a lot, of that I have no doubt. I will have good days and bad days. I will struggle with fear, despair, exhaustion, trust and faith. I am so very weak, y’all. But He is my strength, and He will show Himself to me, of that I have no doubt.
And I know that if my voice never sings again… my heart still can and will.
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