Bob and I have navigated through the winding path of his illness for 3 months. The twists, the turns, the hills, the valleys, the sudden stops, the ups and downs seemed to never end. Then there were the complete rest stops and the times of waiting for days, sometimes weeks. We have found that the waiting periods are often harder than moving through the craziness of the path before us.
Two days ago was the end of the first leg of our journey.
I awoke early that morning. Too early. I laid in bed waiting for the alarm to ring at the set time of 5:45am. Then I felt Bob moving and heard him get up and walk out of the bedroom. I turned off the alarm clock before it rang and got up. Finally when both of us were ready, we grabbed our coffee along with the small spiral notepad that held our questions for the doctor and hit the road at 6:15am.
As we drove, we talked about what brought us to this point in our journey and Bob said, “We are moving toward our moment of truth and we’ll finally have a clearer picture of what may lie ahead.” I agreed.
We enjoyed the scenery of the glorious summer morning while music from the radio played softly in the background. I realized how often we take the simple pleasures of life for granted. Just looking out the window of our car there were reminders everywhere from the fireball of the sun coming up over the horizon to the green grass and trees lining the highway below.
Neither of us said much for the next several minutes. Then Bob finally said, “We are going to hear what we are expecting to hear or we may hear the unexpected. It will be what it is and we will deal with it.” I nodded.
As we approached the hospital I thought, This is it. Here comes our moment of truth.
We checked in, sat down and watched as others got up, one by one, to go into their appointments. When we realized that everyone who was in the waiting area before we arrived had already been called in, Bob said, “I think we’re next.” He was right.
Bob went through an examination and the Hematologist asked him if he had any new symptoms. I took the small spiral notepad out of my purse and we shared what we had written in it. Most of the concerns were things we forgot to mention or questions we didn’t ask on previous visits. His Hematologist sat at a computer recording everything that we told him. For the most part, Bob felt good and was symptom free.
Then the words we were expecting came out of the Hematologist’s mouth. “Your bone marrow biopsy has confirmed that you do have Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and the treatment for this type of Leukemia is an oral chemo medication taken daily.”
It’s what his blood tests revealed over the past month and we had already accepted that diagnosis and did our research. We were ready to tackle it but just needed that confirmation.
On the other hand, his biopsy could have revealed a much more serious type of Leukemia or even a different bone cancer. They checked for anything and everything possible, but confirmed what they suspected and what Bob had come to accept.
The only other better news would have been that nothing was found but according to all his earlier tests we chose not to live in denial while maintaining our faith that anything is possible with God. We still believe that.
However, Bob has cancer and his cancer is treatable. It’s not curable but it is treatable and for that we are thankful. Again, we maintain our faith in God and always pray for healing.
Having our path change direction is part of life. We shouldn’t find that unusual. What’s unusual is to expect life to always stay the same, to never have any hills or valleys or winding roads that unfold before us.
As much as we know this truthful reality in our heads, it’s still hard to change course when we have to, but letting go of expectations and moving into acceptance is the healthiest route to take.
If we don’t let go of unrealistic expectations, it will rob us of our joy. Not being able to bend with the curves or adjust our course is worse than facing the rough road ahead.
There will be some challenges in our future but who doesn’t face challenges? We will face them together and in the midst of those challenges there will be many things to give thanks for.
Today I’m giving thanks for Bob’s primary care doctor who saw Bob without an appointment in April when he showed up at his office unannounced. I’m also thankful that he ordered a CBC test when Bob wasn’t due to have it done for 7 months and I’m thankful that he pursued more tests when the first one came back abnormal. I’m also thankful for the team of specialists that have taken great care of Bob this summer.
And then there’s the people we love — our family and friends who have remained a constant source of strength as they kept in touch with us non-stop and often assured us of their prayers. The encouragement has lifted our spirits more times than we can even count.
When I think back, it is obvious whose fingerprints have been all over the circumstances of this journey. In and through our winding path, up the hills and through the valleys I have seen the hand of God. Even in the waiting, when it was difficult, we were held by the mighty hand of God.
We have now reached the end of the first leg of our journey and we are getting ready for the second leg. The second leg will be the treatment phase and I will be at Bob’s side to help him but not without the help of the one who has brought us this far. We have seen God’s hand in this from the beginning and he won’t let go now. He hasn’t brought us this far to leave us.
Written by: Nancy Janiga ©2014