Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
It was nearly 1 pm, time for my appointment with Dr. Foster. I am already sitting down in the waiting room with my pager, when I look up and he is hurrying by my seat. He smiles in acknowledgment and waves.
Within minutes, my pager goes off. Its my friend, Heather, who happens to also be the charge nurse in radiation oncology, who comes to get me. She is smiling so big and I alway feel how authentic she is. I'm touched she has taken the time to come and get me.
Of course, that makes me more chatty, and I have to remember, we're trying to do all the paperwork since I am a "new" patient again, having been released just a few months prior. She is professional and always does a thorough job, while bringing comfort in her compassion and kindness for me, always.
She tells me Dr. Foster will be coming in, but he is thoroughly going through the old scan and the new one, and will take awhile.
So Rick and I wait.
It feels like forever, and all at once. This place I find myself- straddling that line.
As Heather is leaving I find myself saying, "I am just open… to receive whatever is…"
At some point, Dr. Foster emerges. He smiles warmly, and greets both Rick and I.
Then he begins by saying he thinks, based on what he has seen, he has two options to present. And then he leans forward a bit and says, that he personally, likes, one of them better.
So here, in a nutshell, as best as I can offer is his impression.
First, the scans are unclear of exactly what is happening in those two spots. The word "prominence" is used in a vague sort of way in the report. But that is because the nature of the prominence could be several things. It could very likely be that my cancer is growing. Or it could be what is being seen, is necrosis, or dying tissue, just now, showing up on the scans. Or some combination of both of these things. Some new cells, scattered about some old.
And then it hits me, suddenly. We aren't talking about new spots. We are indeed talking about two previously treated spots. Which leads me to know, only one treatment will be available, at whatever point its needed.
So he offers his two choices. To go ahead and treat those spots with radiation, in the only way that remains an option for me. Whole Brain Radiation. There, I've said it. The one I've tried to keep out of my line of sight, out of my thoughts, out of my mouth. The one I hoped wasn't in my future. The one I can barely conceive of… the one. I won't say more. I can't. Please know, I can't even talk about it.
So we quickly go on to the next option he has. Which is to wait. Do nothing, now. And re-scan in a few months, to see if there is more in which to help us decide what to do.
His last question to me, then, is whether or not I feel psychologically able to withstand waiting.
So my decision, is between, hard, and hard.
So hard it is! I'll take hard, with a side of grace.
I do feel reprieve in the waiting. I do know 3 more months is a gift.
But there is still an ache in my heart. A sadness, behind it all, that I am trying to sit with, for now.
******** I'm so thankful to fully feel, I am not doing this alone. You all are so kind, and brave, for opening yourselves, to going through this very hard stuff, right along side me. And your prayers have soothed me, buffered me, and stood me up, when I wasn't sure I was able.*********
My infusion volunteer, Sandy, shared this with me yesterday: "God is able." Then she prayed, sweet words, over me, washing me in his Grace and Love.
God is able. And through his grace, I pray that I am able, too.
Able, Mabel… has a certain charm to it, right?