FYI, we're off to casa beach bum - west soon. (M.D. Anderson) We'll head out to Houston Sunday, Feb. 1. Monday 2/2 is all-day testing & scans & such. Tuesday 2/3 is the 9:30 appt. w/ Dr. Homsi. Then home in time for night class (hopefully!).
Your prayers are most welcome for continued good medical news.
This trip is more or less routine, although such trips will never again be "routine" for us...*sigh*
Let me clarify the phrase "all-day testing." I start with my first part @ 9:00 in the morning. We'll leave MDA around 6:00 that evening. In between will be bloodwork, IV installation (there's a good time!), a P.E.T. scan, three different ct scans (complete with all three delivery mechanisms for ct contrast solution: one is by oral ingestion, a second is by IV). There's also the potential for an M.R.I.; I can't recall if that's on the list this time or not. (As I told my family practice guy here, I think I've had one of every test known to man except for a pap smear...*grin*) Sometimes all of this is done in one section of the clinic; often it's not. Sometimes "not" includes a long ride on the patient cart from one part of the clinic to another. Oh, and there's the waiting for each test and for the contrast solution to work...
Emotionally what happens to me on such trips?
Well, I've only had the one since my last surgery, which was August 29. What that means is, we've been out to MDA once as a "healthy" patient, and ten times either knowing I have cancer or suspecting I have cancer. Twice for surgery; twice for high-dose IL-2 cycles. So, frankly, I'm still deciding what it's like to go there like this. As I say, a trip to MDA will never be routine. (to start with, there's the 7.5 hour drive...)
God graciously reveals Himself every time we walk in. (Isaiah 41 & 43 come to mind..."Do not fear, for I have redeemed you"...."when you pass through the waters I will be with you and the flames will not consume you." What great promises!). Sometimes through people, sometimes through a heightened awareness of His presence, sometimes through circumstances. So there's that.
Still, my blood pressure typically spikes upward upon walking in. As my brother Jim & I concluded this summer, one doesn't go through those doors for a sprained ankle...So to say there's no fear is to tell a lie in my case. (Again, your prayers are most welcome) I'm not consumed by fear there, but it's always not far beneath the surface, lurking.
One of the great blessings of our 2008 is a reminder of the sinfulness of living in the realm of "what if" and of the joy of living in the present tense. A cancer patient must force himself or herself to not live in the realm of constant focus on and fear of what if. "What if the test results are bad?" "What if there's pain?" (there will be...) "What if I don't get to live out all of my dreams?" (etc.) The land of "what if" will make you crazy, but more, it will rob you of the joy of right now. Time with your spouse & your kids will be robbed of its innate joy. Fear will keep you from being productive at home and at work, and will also rob you of sleep.
So, I'm not walking in there focused on "what if." My Lord has the "what ifs" covered. Again, though, the fear of "what if" is real and becomes palpable inside MDA. I fight it with prayer, the Word, conversation, and a really twisted sense of humor. All are fairly vital. (Aside: a day like Monday 2/2 is oh-so-ripe with twisted sense of humor moments...can't wait! *smile*)
But the real comfort in walking into MDA, even for "routine" tests & scans, is knowing that our names have been on the lips of the saints of God, and are echoing around the throneroom of heaven right then. I absolutely cherish the prayers of the Body of Christ, and will always be convinced that I am alive to write this because of them. Because of you. Do not every take intercessory prayer lightly, my friends. I certainly don't. Remember, God is not up in heaven wringing His hands in worry, wondering how this (or any other situation!) will turn out; therefore, pray with boldness & confidence. He may or may not answer the way you and I pray, but He will always answer, and He is always good. Even when His goodness seems veiled at times.
And know that amidst all of the jokes & attempts at profundity found in this space, YOU...ARE...GREATLY...LOVED & APPRECIATED!!
Thanks for standing in the gap for us!