Yesterday was verdict day for me after a year of chemo.
Three times a year, I drive to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where I lie in a whiny, clanky, buzzing, whirring, pulsating machine that stretches and pulls and squishes my brain cells. Out of this process pictures get sent to my doctors and they review them and tell me what’s up in my noggin.
Going to NIH and lying in the MRI and seeing other patients – many of whom are very, very sick – and waiting for doctors to pronounce their latest verdict on my health is always a humbling – that isn’t quite the right word but it is close – experience. Hospitals are great equalizers. Disease is a great equalizer.
Monday night when I was waiting to get some tests taken I saw a child almost entombed in blankets and sheets wheeled out of the MRI area in a stretcher, face covered with a mask. I couldn’t tell whether the child was a boy or a girl. There was no hair, no distinguishing characteristics. There was just a tragically, horribly sick child.
The heartache of seeing that child was too great to approach too intimately. The memories of being in stretchers four-and-a-half years ago after my 10 hours of brain surgery and recovery are still near. The fear that I might find myself in that situation again isn’t foreign to me. All I know how to do is to throw myself at/on/near God and remind myself that he is good and that somehow, someway, someday, all of this will be made right.
My news was good.
The new MRIs revealed a significant decrease in the tumor size. Even our doctor was a little bit surprised by just how noticeable the change was. The kind of tumor I have is very, very slow growing. Therefore change, if it occurs, occurs over extended periods of time. MRIs in March and July showed the tumor was steady – it wasn’t growing. That was good. Now it is shrinking. That is better. Smaller is better. Think about that, a guy saying smaller is better. Anything is possible.
What this means is that I’ll continue having “my periods” for at least another four months and probably longer than that. They aren’t ideal but I haven’t been given ideal… at least in this way.
On the other hand though, I have been given ideal. There is blessing in all of this. And one of those blessings is that I can’t ever drift too far from God. I am continually reminded of my dependence upon him and upon friends and upon family. It is hard for me to suffer from the delusion of independence. That is actually a blessing
There are many, many others….
But yesterday there is this one – that things are going in the right direction.
I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve the good news. I don’t know why I received it when others didn’t. I don’t know when my bad news will come. I don’t know what happened to that child. I don’t know far more than I know.
But through it all I trust the one who does know.