On Monday, I saw my ENT to follow-up on the news he gave me Friday night. It was a very lively and entertaining hour (yes, hour) in the waiting room while three 85-years old and over ladies talked loudly about how nice and handsome the doctor was, where to find deals on food in the Valley, how to prevent getting “the ebola” and how we need to be careful if we go out in public because we might get our heads cut off. The staff apologized profusely, and my wait for the doctor in the exam room was short.
Friends, the news is not good.
They have found a second area which is a 7 mm piece of tissue. It is behind the nodule they’ve been watching, and it is pressing on the laryngal nerve which would explain the vocal cord paralysis. He is concerned that this is growing tissue (because scar tissue wouldn’t act like this), and growing tissue is a huge red flag. He wants the PET scan to see if this area is hypermetabolic (meaning growing quickly), and if so, whether it is a breast or colon cancer metastasis.
Metastasis is an insanely scary word.
I asked him if it wasn’t cancer, what else it could be. He pressed his lips together and gently said he really doesn’t think it could be anything else. He hugged me and told me he was going to do everything he could to move quickly, find out what this is, and begin treating it…that he would be with me every step of the way.
I don’t know when the PET is as they are still working on insurance approval (yes, the insurance is still not approving it). After the PET, he is hoping to do a CT-guided needle biopsy of the area. The problem is the spot is right between my carotid artery and jugular vein. He will consult with the radiologist and if they decide against the needle biopsy, they will do the biopsy incisionally. Then we will go from there. (Treatment would likely be surgery and radiation.)
We are undone to put it bluntly. Terrified. And very sad.
Bri and I have just been begging God for the doctor to be wrong. (It’s not often I want my doctor to have made a mistake, that’s for sure.)
Honestly, friends, I am struggling. Not struggling with God in all of this. I know He never makes a mistake. I know He is still in control. Chaos doesn’t shake Him.
I am struggling with the exhaustion of the battle of Satan’s lies, of the depletion of my body and mind. A friend once described the gospel-less lies of the church we grew up in as a “holocaust for the soul.” I am feeling the fiery sting of that holocaust now as the accuser wants me to look to myself and my circumstances rather than the gospel for salvation, freedom and joy. I struggle to believe His love for me.
And I am scared.
We both are. My mom and dad are. My in-laws are. My friends are.
Side note: the children do NOT know at this point, so please if you see us with the children, speak cryptically. Once we know something definite, we will have that conversation with them.
I am sleeping some, but not much. We are functioning. We are still laughing. But we are also crying. I am finding the daily tasks almost monumental in my fatigue. But we are still living. Living intentionally. And we are praying.
Would you please pray with us? For us? For this to somehow miraculously all go away? And if not, for the grace and strength to walk through yet another valley in this world’s shadow of death?
I struggle to see grace, yet I know it is all around me.
And then last night, I sat around a table with four other women and we laughed and shared our hearts and ate fabulous local food and laughed some more and prayed together and cried a bit, too.
And while I was out for this much needed girls’ night, Bri and my kiddos did this.
Tonight my den will be full of middle school boys as Ash’s small group comes to Bible study together as they do every week. I love having them here. I love hearing their laughter and noise. I love teasing them and talking with them and feeding them and hearing about their lives. I love sitting upstairs and hearing the muffled hum of conversation–words I can’t hear, but I know relationship is happening.
And my big brother, who called yesterday and listened to me sob on the phone… he is pretty much amazing, and sent me this quote:
“[Jesus] bore our sin— every last drop. There was nothing partial; it was and it is the apex of one-way love. Jesus suffered the scorn, the punishment, and the wrath we deserve, and in return gives us the gift of his righteousness. It cannot be undone. Those who are lost are found, and where there was once judgment, there is now only love, extravagant and free. Where there was once guilt by association, now there is only glory by association.” (~Tullian Tchividjian, One Way Love)
Grace surrounds me.