On Saturday, I woke up late because I didn’t set an alarm. And though I had a lot to do, I decided to just sit in the recliner and finish a book I had been reading. In the end, one of the main characters died in a tsunami.
I didn’t cry.
It was the end of a long week of crying already. There had been death and the fear of death in my real life. I didn’t have any tears left for fiction.
Earlier, when I had let my dog outside for her morning ritual, I noticed it had rained in the night. The dry ground needed it. And after I finished my reading, I saw that the sidewalk was wet still. The rain coming down. Still.
So I quickly dressed, grabbed my sneakers and the dog leash, and we headed outside into the drizzle and sprinkles. My dry soul needed it, too.
As we walked around the neighborhood, a piece of blue plastic caught my eye from the ground. It was Spider Man’s arm, torn from a child’s action hero. I smiled to myself as I thought about Peter Parker with no arm trying to save New York City. Spider Man would do better to lose a leg than an arm, those arms that shoot webs and climb and swing.
And then I thought about my own super power, my faith and hope, that had nearly been amputated from my life by cancer, and now from the fear of cancer, again.
It’s been almost three years since that diagnosis, and two years since I have been clear and free from cancer. And still, a pain in my side for a couple of weeks has felled me like Spider Man with no arm.
Certainly there is no lack of gratitude in my heart to Jesus that I am a survivor of cancer. The alternative is devastating, and I don’t take that for granted. But certainly there is no greater test of my faith than to daily be reminded that I will only truly be a cancer survivor when I die of something else.
Blood tests late last week had basically confirmed that the pain was not a recurrence, but surely the imagination of a cancer survivor can create new cancer or hidden cancer or a host of other diseases equally as devastating. So I spent the weekend wondering, hoping, dreading. I had a CT scan scheduled for this morning.
But throughout the day Saturday, the two-week pain was beginning to subside. I prayed fervently while I tackled the sink full of dishes and the basket full of laundry that had been accumulating for days. And when “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” began to play on my Pandora channel, I danced around the living room, my dog Precious leaping with me, smiling.
My faith was regenerating.
At times today, while waiting for the CT scan results, I have caught myself having to take a deep breath to avoid hyperventilating. But now that the results are in, and I know for sure that there is no cancer, I think back on the past few days and feel sorry for myself.
Did I waste the week praying and crying and worrying and grasping?
Or did I just need some time and Help to regain my super powers?