It’s been a hard time lately. A lot of unpleasant things were hitting the fan at the same time. First, Zoe’s current regression broke my heart. I learned that in school, she went from acing advanced 5th-grade math while in the 4th grade last spring – able to multiply 6 digits numbers in her head – to testing at a first-grade level and unable to multiply by 1’s or 0’s. While I understand that regression has a cause, it was hard for me to watch.
Amelia, too, has been struggling with the basics of conversation and concepts, so I was upset about that. Then Chris was dealing with some things, and some of our situations right now are tenuous.
But those things were not the worst. I was dealing with a horrific breast pain, so frightening it was keeping me up at night. It’s fear, big time fear because bad news on this could be a serious problem and it would definitely be my own fault for not checking things out regularly.
The fear is bad I honestly can’t think of anything more terrifying than losing a body part. And I was barely able to stand too many details when my own mother had a mastectomy in her 80s…how could I survive one? I also know how breast implants cause illness because they leach nasty chemicals into your body. How could I ever manage a trip through that?
I sunk down, like deep, deep down into fear and despair mulling these things in my brain. I’ve struggled to walk that line between being prepared for the worst and absolutely believing the worst must happen, an old habit of mine that I’d thought died years & years ago. I’ve been needing strength, and reassurance, but support from friends and loved ones is …well, let’s just say it’s strategically difficult right now. In the end, I only had One Person to turn to.
The thing is, I know God’s promises. Jesus is with me, not against me, and all His plans for me are good, even if they feel like the Worst Thing In The World at the time.
Hadn’t I been through the worst with my stroke? Amelia’s diagnosis? When Zoe was declared autistic? My husband’s health issues? My mother’s Alzheimers, Dad’s Parkinson’s? When our school shuttered its middle school before my daughter had completed it?
I’d been through it and came out stronger but only in the places where I sought out the Lord. Stronger and better, too, once I went from “courting” God to fully accepting Him.
And, if He is with me, then who can be against me? Even cancer can’t be because I’m His will, no matter what it is.
By the weekend before my birthday, I’d had enough. I woke up Saturday morning, hurrying out the door with friends to see an early show of “Samson” at Sight and Sound Theaters. While I could have chosen to be down and depressed, I had promised myself that I would enjoy my day.
I sat in the car, the pain building again in my breast, and unsuccessfully tried to tune the radio as we left town. Instead, I turned to prayer. Normally I get too distracted in the car to pray, but I felt so deeply in need that I had to just embrace the joy that my faith gives me and let everything else slide away. I’d already prayed the Prayer of Begging that I was ok, and acceptance that His Will was better, so for the car ride, there was nothing left but praise.
I was feeling great by the time we got to the theater, and had the pleasure of watching Zoe actually enjoy the musical…more than I thought she would! She had to settle down first and she mostly sat on my lap (which is HILARIOUS since she’s nearly as tall as me already). Coming back from intermission was hard for her but she had a wonderful time mostly, even if she struggled that day.
I got the message I needed from “Samson,” too…strange for a story like that to be inspiring and to remind me that God is always with me, even if I walk or look away.
I came home, took a detox bath and relaxed all evening, and let myself off the hook the rest of the day.
But by Sunday’s sermon, my faith and lack of fear felt cemented. I was totally ready to accept whatever the results of my medical appointment would be. Christianity is amazing in that it’s an ever-deepening faith. Wait, that’s not accurate. It’s more like a real, true relationship that’s constantly getting deeper and deeper. Things you believe one week you start to grasp a few months later. Those things you start to understand and then things take on a new depth in terms of understanding life.
All this while, I was standing under a great cloud, with something scary waiting to crash down on me and no one around to provide what I needed but God.
So, I did what I’ve been wanting to do and dropped another barrier to my total trust in Him.
No matter the outcome on my breast pain, I would not fear and I would not crumble. Bad news would be devastating but God was with me – whom shall I fear? There really isn’t anything He can’t conquer even if and when the news is the One Thing You Can’t Do/Have/Be/Handle.
And meanwhile, He showed His love, blessing me in other little ways – like Zoe’s enjoyment of Samson and landing a contract or two.
I was Rock Hard in the Faith today as I headed for my mammogram. I did have a thermography scheduled, but since I was dealing with pain, a long wait and a very tight budget, I thought it wisest to take my soonest appointment. I have a place nearby I can use for mammography in the future and that gives me peace of mind..but first I had to make it through this.
And it felt really dicey. The first nurse shrugged off what happened as “dense breasts” and “saw nothing” to alarm her, calming me down a bit. At the actual mammogram, the technician chatted away. I’m sorry, it was a nice try…but really, I can’t speak coherently while you’re positioning my boob so you can flatten it like a pancake, especially if it hurts already. She seemed totally unconcerned for my right side, so we turned to my oh-so-sensitive left side and then…
She took a looooooong QUIET look at the affected breast and that scared me to death. A few agonizing moments later, I was shuttled back to wait for the last exam.
Next came the sonogram – and can I just get an amen for the fact that they have to pre-heat the gel they lather you in before the test? When I went for sonograms during my pregnancies, the gel was always “warming up”…which is code for, “still cold but we can’t really wait.”) Yea, I thanked God for that while I was there. But then, the tech looks at images over and over and OVER. The sonogram looked like a bunch of squiggly lines to me so I had no idea if it was good or bad news.
After this torturous hour and a half ordeal, a new doctor walks in.
“Well, Gina, everything looks fine. If it persists, get a clinical but I don’t see anything.”
I’m there, like shaking this woman’s hand thinking, “Ok, joke over…when’s the real diagnosis coming?” My brain couldn’t catch up with the fact that I was ok.
I WAS OK.
Why on earth this thing is nagging me, I don’t know. Maybe there’s something deeper. Maybe I need to take a peek at a thermogram. Because in my world pain = body saying something’s wrong. So what is wrong?
Or perhaps this was just a test of my faith, my commitment to trust God with the possibility of the Very Worst.
And that is something I can handle as I continue to walk with God each and every day. Imperfectly, true but straight on to whatever He has planned.