I still can’t believe it.
It was a more quiet and soft worry that was buried in my mind yesterday as I waited to hear about scan results. I had to talk myself into getting off the bed, to go into work because I knew it would be better to be preoccupied and, more importantly, around people rather than wait alone around the house for scan news. Being alone would just aide in creating anxious thoughts, I try to remind and persuade myself as I get ready for work.
I busily chat away with co-workers while my phone remains silent, not a part of the conversations but I’m wishing it would interrupt conversation at any moment. It would be a rude interruption that I would gladly accept anytime. But, it remains silent, scan news silent.
It’s 2pm. I’m starting to wonder if my doctors are waiting to call me, and they’re waiting because they are trying to figure out how to word and articulate bad news. That must be why they are taking so long. Flashback to October when I waited all day until the very end of the work day to hear from Nick, and I listened to Nick solemnly struggle to tell me I had relapsed. I could tell it took him all day to work up the motivation, the words to tell me this bad news.
What if it was happening to me again?
This silence, the alone time in the mind fosters anxious thoughts.
It’s 2pm. It’s time for me to start calling and texting the trio who care for me. I text them as a very last result, trying to prompt anything, any response from them. I need to make sure to get a hold of them before the work hours are done. My determination for communication leaves voicemails, text messages, and prayers prompting for answers.
The phone rings.
I try to listen to the tone of her voice to get clues as to my scan results. Is her voice sad? Worried? Concerned?
Listen Jenna, to the words.
The MRI of my cervical spine (neck area) shows the radiation continues to keep the cancer cells back. It’s still working, nothing has changed which is great news since my neck has been the most tender, sore and tense it has ever been. The pain that has continued for over a week had begun to concern me, hands touching my neck, hands questioning this lump or that muscle, is it disguised as cancer under my skin, like an Indian burial mound with much more underneath the earth than it looks like on the surface. This MRI shows stability, and this stability is good news!
The CT of my lungs shows “significant improvement!” Some of the lung nodules that were once there are now gone, and the ones that are still there are now smaller, everything now smaller than a cm.
I can’t believe it.
These have got to be the best scans I’ve ever had, the most dramatic improvement ever, which she confirms over the phone. And I have had a lot of scans in my lifetime.
Significant improvement !!!
Finally, a clear image of what is happening inside of my body. I’ve been feeling the results, of something going on inside of my lungs, of the boxing match between cells and chemo. I’ve felt the pounding and tapping again my ribcage-boxing ring, unsure of who is winning, the pain that comes from victory. Is this feeling more cancer cells growing in strength, or is it chemotherapy striking its opponent down?
These drugs were are “last resort” it seemed from the very beginning, the D-team of our chemotherapy options from past and present. And here they are, the underdog, surprising us all in ways that we will gladly accept. Because in all honesty, my mind in rhythmic mantra has been telling me over and over: you are dying. And now, these scans provide a piece of truth to combat those thoughts: you are living.
These scans reveal the unexpected news that I will gladly and joyfully take!
I think back to all that has happened since my relapse in October, and I can’t help but be warmed by gratitude and praise to the Lord. He’s been there with me as I anxiously endured radiation, during the process of deciding to do a clinical trial, to the glimpse of hope and peace I had as I started the trial to the disappointment of the trial not working, to the start of new treatment and the low point of a new port. He amazingly brought me back to Nationwide Children’s, back to the amazing care by my team, to a plan we all were uncertain in but willing to try. I am so grateful to be back at Children’s and for God to be clearly using their care in my life again in amazing ways, like he always does, working through them.
And I am unsure as to why this amazes me so, shouldn’t I know by now and remember continuously that this is the God who is the Healer of my Soul and Body. I meditate back on all of the wombs of women he healed and restored to bring life, from Sarah to bring forth Isaac to Elizabeth to bear John the Baptist. He is the Healer and bring restoration to them long ago for his purposes and plans, and it brings me assurance and hope that he is bringing healing to me as well for his greater purposes and plans that I do not know of yet.
This is hope. He wants me here for another season it seems, until death does one day take you and me both.
My soul reminds me of a psalm that I clung to often during my last relapse, and I am starting to understand it, believe it and experience it more in deeper ways than I even thought possible from last relapse until now—
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Praise the Lord,
Praise the Lord!