Bring them on!
For family and friends who have asked, and those who have not asked. (If you don’t want to get any more of these reflections, let me know.)
Update on dealing with the unwelcome visitor. After very good experiences talking to both people at Tunnel Cancer Center in Lewes and Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, as well as with family and friends in Boston and here, and (as usual) in close conversation with Kathryn, who keeps me sane (sort of), I decided that I will pursue treatment at Dana Farber.
I’ve had a biopsy of the area on the back of the tongue and it confirms that the primary cancer is there, with spread into the lymph nodes in the neck. So treatment will be radiation and chemotherapy for seven weeks. The hope is this will smack the cancer down and out and that will be that. Still, as we all know, it is one step at a time. The prognosis is pretty good.
Treatment will begin October 31 and run through the third week of December. So I will be home for Christmas. (Probably grumpy and tired, but home.)
It was a great relief to get the matter of where and when settled, but of course anxiety always finds a home in the details. Now that where is settled I am anxious to get started. Does it make a difference to start quickly? How quickly? And I am anxious because the doctors, like the drug ads on TV, are bound to tell us all the things that can go wrong, can be expected, might happen, etc, with the treatments. So I am anxious about the effects of the treatments and how I will react. How quickly relief turns to new anxieties!
I do indeed get the message: fear not. And on some level I don’t fear. But I am surprised how much the little anxieties gnaw at the greater confidence. The big confidence is the rock on which I am standing. That bigger confidence is about the goodness of creation, the love of Jesus, and the presence of peace in the spiritual love we have for one another. I find the whole notion of the Trinity remarkably connected to the matter of healing and wholeness. In the weeks ahead I hope to have the presence of mind and spirit to contemplate on the confidence that comes from binding myself to the strong name of the Trinity.
So “fearing not” is possible, but it is made difficult by the small nagging sense that things are out of control. Which they apparently are. The only thing that finally casts out fear is love, and I am blessed by a wide and wonderful community of love.
As things move forward I will need to rely upon that love more and more, for my hope is to fear not, knowing that God is with me in the love others and I have and share. All in all, given that I’d rather not be doing this, I feel amazingly blessed by friendships and by joy in living.
So, let the doctors and nurses work their will, and may they serve the greater Will, whose message is pretty clear… do not be anxious and fear not. I will try to obey.
More next week.