At the beginning of January, when my husband turned 46, my stomach turned just a teensy-weensy bit anxious. I was going to turn 46 next, in August. We’d crested the hill of middle-age and were going down the slippery slope to 50.
It sounded so old. I was trying to convince myself that age doesn’t matter, and all that stuff, but the lines on my face, the little double chin that disappears only when I tilt my head a little too far back to look normal and the wrinkled hands have proved the adage, “I’m not gettin’ any younger.”
But, with the return of my cancer for the third time at the end of January, I suddenly found 50 lookin’ really good.
Now, I WANT to turn 50.
It’s all perspective.
Our spiritual perspective can be distorted at times, too.
With my diagnosis came a rush of peace and joy and presence of the Lord. I felt so uplifted, and I knew we would be able to endure yet another round.
Wednesday afternoon, circumstances found me alone in my home for four hours. I could clean, organize, write, cross things off my To DO List with a vengeance. I’ve discovered that cancer has brought out the nesting instinct just like pregnancy. Only now I come home from the hospital empty handed.
One of those items on the list was to call the hospital where I will be getting my treatment. During my initial surgery and hospitalization for RadioActive Iodine 1-131, I had some very, very bad experiences. They made several major mistakes. I just needed some affirmation that they were going to take care of me this time.
After talking to Molly for about 20 minutes, I was assured that things were different, there was a new room where I would be isolated for three days, I would have access to a DVD player, there were new drinks to choose from even with ice, and I could bring my computer. Whew.
Before I could even cross anything off my list, I got a phone call from the hospital. I was a bit surprised. I hadn’t given them my full name.
It wasn’t Molly, it was the scheduling department.
“Is this Melinda?”
“You have a body scan scheduled on Feburary 19th and we need to reschedule it.”
“The hospital isn’t open on the 15th, so you wouldn’t be able to do the full series of shots. We need to reschedule.”
“Why aren’t you open?”
“It’s President’s Day and the hospital is closed.”
In my mind I’m thinking, “How stupid can you be? You’ve known for MONTHS its President’s Day, how do you end up calling me two business days before my testing begins to tell me you’re not open?” I made my appointment the same day I was diagnosed and began the diet immediately.
Instead, I bit my tongue and said with honest politeness, “Do you know how horrible this is? I have to be on the low iodine diet for an extra week and now have to put off the testing for my cancer another week.”
No sympathy. No voice inflection. The monotone repeated, “We need to reschedule. Your body scan is now on the 25th.”
I didn’t want to let her off the hook. “Fine, I’ll reschedule for the 22nd to the 25th, but you have to know this is really affecting my life.”
I was also thinking about the three lumps that grew in three months. The new timetable put it at one full month from diagnosis to testing. We still have treatment after that. These little things are growing too quickly for my comfort.
No sympathy. No assurance. Just that same uncaring voice adding one more week to my sentence.
I hung up and for 30 seconds cried, but it took too much energy. The hospital, the one I was trying to gain confidence in, had failed again. I worried that if I couldn’t trust them for something as simple as scheduling appointments only on days the hospital was open, how could I entrust them with the actual treatment? I was upset. In fact, I surprised myself. I took cancer from the Lord, but I couldn’t take the calendar change from the Lord. I had survived the tornado and been blown over by a whisper.
For days I had been mentally preparing myself to take heed lest I stumble. Lack of faith frequently follows a spiritual victory. There is something about the Lord getting glory that satan just doesn’t like. I was trying to beware, we cautious, to guard my heart and my soul. My temporary lack of faith put me in good company with Elijah, Jonah and many others.
In my deepest disappointment, the Lord spoke to me. He reminded me I am to have NO confidence in man. I am to trust in Him alone. He is the one who is going to heal me, if it is His will. The medical staff will be instruments used for His purposes.
“And,” I added under my breath, as I heard His voice, ” if I’m healed, it will not be BECAUSE of the medical profession, but in SPITE of them.”
It’s all perspective.