Yesterday Chris had his CT-guided biopsy done, and apparently the doctor was able to get some good tissue samples. The procedure went quickly, the radiologist who did the procedure was very kind, as was his staff, and it felt good to have an action step to take amidst all these waiting days. I like being with Chris at the hospital. We get to sit together and talk quietly in the waiting areas. Al also met us there, just to be in the parking lot and pray and bring me coffee. What a thithter I have.
We had a rough several days leading up to this week. Chris’s symptoms have increased pretty significantly in fairly short order—I think mostly related to his liver swelling and causing distention, discomfort, much fatigue and achiness, and lower back pain. We went in to the office on Monday at my request. I wanted someone to actually *see* him (our appointments have been so few and far between). Dr. Windsor prescribed Chris stronger pain meds, and those have helped his discomfort significantly. We’re very grateful. He’s still at a point where even standing for very long is too much for him. But I’m so glad he’s not in much pain. This is a boon for both of our spirits.
Our next appointment is scheduled for Monday, whether the pathology report is back or not. I pressed Windsor on how long the results would take, and he wouldn’t promise anything. He even alluded to possibly needing to send it off again, but he assured us that everyone who is involved in this is very eager to figure out what it is. I’ve told Chris that while I know in my head there will be some resolution to this mystery someday, I feel like we will literally never know; we will never know what kind of cancer Chris has, and we will never start treatment. That’s where my heart is: exhausted and disbelieving in this diagnostic process.
Seeing Chris change physically has given me (and us) a very real sense of the valley. I’m concerned for him every minute (whether in any given moment I need to be or not). Historically, I’m the one who gets so anxious about health issues. He’s the one who, over the years, has reassured me that what I’m experiencing physically or what my children are experiencing is not cancer. I’ve learned to trust his voice and rest in his objectivity. Now I feel fears and concerns for him, and I have a difficult time knowing if my old well-worn neuro-pathways are just activating or if, in the objectivity and closeness I have, I can see things in him that may need to be addressed. Thankfully, especially over this last week, we’ve had conversations about all of this. The conversations have been hard, but they’ve been fruitful for both of us. And, as is the way of my husband, Chris has ministered to me in my fears and insecurities. He is a real channel of Christ’s presence and peace to me. Of his care. Of his truth. I hope I have ministered to him as well.
A couple thoughts from friends I wanted to share:
My friend Helen gave birth at 28.5 weeks last week to her precious boy, Eric Christopher (Thanks be to God, he is strong and well!!!). This after weeks of hospital bedrest beset with anxiety, and much, much loss over the years. In a text to me several days ago, she said, “Sometimes it feels like everything is just a different kind of waiting.” Of course, to her and her husband, this is proving so true. How they have waited. And now, with their son here—the very thing they’ve been waiting for—they wait in a new way—waiting as he develops in the NICU, waiting to bring him home. I instantly saw how true this is for us too: once we get a diagnosis and treatment plan, our waiting will not be over. Then we will be waiting to start treatment, then we will wait and wait to see if the treatment is effective…. And of course I went back to what my friend Katherine has said several times: We wait. Not just on results, but on the Lord. It’s beginning to sink in to me that learning to wait, in truth and in kindness, on Jesus himself, will be my life’s work. The circumstances will always be changing; the eternal things will never change, and for those things we have to learn to wait and watch.
Another friend said just yesterday, “May you find joy in releasing to the Lord those things that you cannot control or bear.” And how much of all of this is in my control? How much is bearable? None of it. None of it can I change or control or even hold on my own. I was struck by the simple invitation to release it, to hold it up to the Lord for him to bear. He has borne all this and much more before. And then the thought: Could joy come with the releasing? Joy?? I will test it and see. This is not an easy exercise, but I will see.