It is well with my soul. It is my emotional wellbeing, which is a myriad of fluctuations.
Something was not right. I just knew it. I shook my head in denial to the disturbing thoughts, and assured myself with a pep phrase, “all is good.” After all, we received a good report from his surgical procedure in his bladder only a few weeks ago.
Still, I couldn’t settle the unsettled feeling within.
I knew I would be absent from this next oncologist appointment, as I was five hours north in Dallas.
Nightmares accompanied me there, filling my days with exhaustion from their restless pursuit of my peace in the dark.
Then we discovered the insurance company denied yet another test.
The day of his appointment, having taken the role of advocate, I drilled concerns through the phone, hoping he was writing them down, and not attempting to recall with memory:
Ask the doctor why the insurance company denied a CT scan for your lungs if this is one of the first places we were told it would spread.
That, and remember the last appointment– didn’t he see a shadow on your lung?
Why is there a discrepancy between the oncologist and the urologist on where this travels first? Who is right?
How are we supposed to monitor your lungs with a mere x-ray?
Truth was, I was scared. Scared a vital piece of information was just outside of our vision.
Have you ever felt something entirely different within than what appearance portrayed on the surface?
Truth was, I felt the degree of his cancer was a stage off from the beginning.
Maybe because initially we were told it was caught early, I held the doctor’s assurance close, as a child holds his blanket, for security.
After the surgery to remove his kidney, we were assured it was contained. All was good. Just a follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks, and this hiccup in health was a good reminder at what was truly important, as life changing circumstances tend to do, and we would eat less red meat and eat more veggies.
We were told it was actually a miracle to be caught this early, so picture my surprise when we sat down at the urologist office– blind sighted by bad news, catapulting it to Stage 3 on a range of only four numbers.
I remember our car drive home, stomach acid encroached its way up my throat, telling me a panic attack would only be relieved by a bottle of wine.
So we numbed ourselves.
Then, having settled into the treatment course, we battled as one does without another option. Surgery and chemotherapy.
Hoping beyond hope they killed the cells possibly hiding out in seclusion.
Since our insurance continued to deny a PET scan, we were partially blind to its travel. Still, we were told, with or without this scan, the treatment remained the same.
Then, as abruptly as he started treatment, they halted chemo after his red-blood count dipped dangerously low. But, we were assured enough poison was administered to kill off the bad cells, after all, they were killing his good ones, so I guess this was a good thing.
Then the wait began.
It’s interesting that when we have a course of action it feels less out of control than to be still, and do nothing.
As time often does though, after a couple of months, life slowly returned toward normal.
Unfortunately, it was only a short reprieve.
The age-old X-ray showed something on his right lung that was not on his previous CT scan. Immediately, they sent him down a couple of floors to have another scan to confirm the growth.
The next morning the elusive PET scan would be the following morning, with results the following week.
So, I made my way back home, feeling entirely helpless as traffic seemed to fight me all the way.
When Bill calls before I even reach the driveway. The oncologist had already called. You know it is not good when your oncologist calls on his day off.
I choke, as if invisible walls are closing in and airflow has been interrupted.
When I arrive home, I sit in my car an extra minute out of dread of eye contact. Eventually, I gather my composure and see him out of the corner of my eye–apparently he was there all along, waiting for me to exit my car.
We hold each other longer than comfortable.
I don’t get it. They are just two spots: one on the lung and one in the abdomen.
How can the likelihood of cure drift away from just two spots?
It is not that I don’t accept this statistic, but, I will not accept this result. Make sense?
Maybe that is why I feel well in my soul, but my emotional wellbeing is not entirely in agreement. I don’t know.
I cling to a passage today in Habakkuk 3:17-19:
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.