Yesterday I went down to Cedars for my routine cat scan, blood work and doctor appointment. I also had to have an ultrasound for my recent kidney surgery. It was a very long day. So long that I didn't look forward to ending my day with my favorite exams - the lovely pelvic and rectal exams. As I was waiting for my doctor to come in and examine me, I had mentioned to someone that I think Dr. Karlan should consider the fact that I’ve been here all day, underwent all these procedures, and that I shouldn’t have to go undergo two more exams. I was kind of kidding, but kind of not. As Dr. Karlan walked in, she greeted me with a big smile and, “Happy Thanksgiving! No exams today. You’ve been through enough.” A little birdie had told her what I had said. She threw in a Christmas gift too - foregoing a December exam because I’m doing so well.
With all that good news, I should have popped the champagne cork when I got home. Such good news needs to be celebrated. But my personality isn’t to summon all my friends and do so. Instead, I sit before God and thank Him with tears streaming down my face.
When I got home last night, I read through some emails. My nurse had sent me Sunday's L.A. Times article about Cedar’s recent ovarian cancer walk. In it, it mentioned that a woman had organized the annual event in honor of her mom who was also diagnosed with my stage of cancer. Only the mom wasn’t at the event. I think you can figure out why. And all of a sudden, my joy from such a great day turned to tears again, but this time, for a different reason.
When I was diagnosed last year, I felt I received an expiration date on myself. I felt like a jar of mayonnaise. And I get that we all are walking around with expiration dates -- some just not as faded and hard to read as others.
But what I need to remember is that God will give me my expiration date. Not medicine. I know several cancer survivors who should not be here today. I should not have seen one at my bible study this week. I should not have had lunch with one last week. And I should not have received an encouraging card from another last month. All of their oncologists are probably scratching their heads and wondering why they beat the odds they were given. But they’re here. Because it’s God’s will for them to be here. He will determine our expiration date.
My daughter’s sweet teacher (also a cancer survivor) gave me a verse of scripture before my last surgery.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” -- Psalm 20:7.
She added, “Substitute doctors, hospitals, chemo, whatever, in place of chariots and horses.”
So from bad, comes good -- right? After shedding some tears and then remembering that my life is in God’s hands, I was flooded with perspective. As I walked into my family room and could hardly find the surface of my coffee table because of dirty soccer socks, shin guards, a lap top, school papers, water bottles (you get the messy picture), my old ways fell away.
I would have barked at my kids for being kids. For not cleaning up the mess they left behind. Instead, I walked into the kitchen to find them making dinner for themselves. Milk, cheese, bread, cereal, you name it, it was everywhere. And it wasn’t pretty. It was gorgeous. I just stood there and stared at them with tears in my eyes. Taking it all in.
Messy counter, and all.
Messy counter, and all.