Health Update: After much deliberation, I have decided to go ahead with surgery tomorrow to remove additional lymph nodes and have a lymphovenous bypass. Because the results won’t necessarily change what my treatment will look like from here on, I wasn’t sure I could put my body through any more procedures this soon after the last one. But after meeting with both my medical oncologist and radiation oncologist, and coming to terms with the likelihood that there could be more cancer lurking in there, we decided it’s best to get as much out as we can. After that, I’ll do radiation later this summer, every day Monday through Friday, for five weeks. Then, a chemo pill for two years and hormone therapy for 5 years. Onward.
It felt like the last straw. I was reading through the paperwork my oncologist had given me about the chemo pill I’ll be taking for the next two years. Most of it was medical mumbo jumbo. Then I got to the part that said I couldn’t eat grapefruit while on this medication. WHAT?! I read it again. “You have got to be kidding me,” I said out loud, sitting at the kitchen table. “Well, let’s just suck ALL the joy out of my freaking life!!” It was too much. “Nice, cancer. Take my hair, take my eyelashes (which, by the way, eventually all fell out), take my boobs, take my energy, and now you’re taking away my favorite fruit!! You’re the worst.” Harrison was in the kitchen by this point. I’m sure my little tirade was confusing. He was probably thinking, “Is this supposed to be funny? How am I to respond to this outburst? Yeah, my mom is losing it.” Okay, I know it’s just grapefruit. But seriously, I was done.
After learning that cancer was found in the lymph nodes taken out during my mastectomy, I felt like I needed to adjust my thinking a bit. Reassess. Recalibrate. Refocus. This journey wasn't going to look like I thought it would. Sometimes I think back to the conversations early on when I was assured that a year from now I’d be cancer free and this whole mess would be behind me. I guess that’s not my story after all. Things haven't quite gone as I planned. Ha! Welcome to life, right? A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Yeah, I know that verse. I like that verse. Except when it feels like God directs my step right into a big pile of horse poo. (I would use another word, but my husband hates "colorful" language so I shall refrain.)
There have been a few days when I feel like I'm looking up at God saying, "Uh, do you see this? Do you see the crap I have stepped in? Could you not just make me step a little to the right, the left, anywhere but here?" But here's what I'm learning about poo. Crap. Manure. Those other words. As gross as it may seem, it really does help to grow good things. I'm a little disgusted at the thought of that, but apparently there's stuff in there that nurtures the soil of my life and allows me to blossom and bloom into something better. Something stronger. Something healthier. More beautiful.
When I have those little chats with God regarding what I've stepped in on this path, I picture Him looking at me, sometimes smiling, sometimes sad, always compassionate, and saying, "Oh sweetie, I know you don't like it, but you are exactly where you're supposed to be. I don't like it either, but I'm using all of it to do something truly amazing. Just trust me." I also usually picture myself stomping off like a pouty six-year-old. "Fine," I say indignantly. "It's a good thing You're sovereign." As if my six-year-old self understands the sovereignty of God.
I'm dreading another surgery and recovery. I'm bummed about needing radiation and chemo pills for two years. And I'm grieving my stupid grapefruit. But I'm also comforted know God is growing something good in me and He'll fertilize it however He darn well pleases. And I really do trust Him. So, onward. Day by day. Step by step. Even if the places my feet land really stink sometimes.