Cancer checkups suck. Cancer checkups suck even more without my girl.
I remember where I was last June when the nurse called me with my bloodwork results.
I was in TJMaxx, Hilton Head with Michelle and Keith. It almost brings you to your knees, literally, when you are told that your number was within the normal range. Michelle and I were looking at purses and Keith was off somewhere else. “C’mon let’s go tell Dad”, she said. And so we did and we were all grateful.
Last week, I had my checkup on June 13. Busy week with lots going on. Michelle’s 16th Birthday & Father’s Day were staring us in the face. A cancer checkup was now the least of my worries. But when inside that building…. inside those walls of Red Bank Road Hematology Oncology…… the emotions flooded back. I think of things so much more deeply now. Just that very building alone and its walls could muster tears. How many hours had Keith and I spent inside that building? Thoughts of how these doctors and nurses cared for me and are still seeing me through. Memories of our fight. It was a family fight. For cancer affects everyone. And we were all fighting so that I could get healthy again and God would hear everyone’s prayers and let me stay here on earth…… And the tears came and the nurses hugged me. For they knew. They knew the 2 life-changing journeys that my family and I have battled through. To paraphrase Dr. Cody, ‘you get through one major life trauma only to be blind-sided with another far worse.’ So true. Why would God see me through and let me live, but in His permissive will, Michelle did not live? Why would I fight, be healed, only to see the death of one of my children? These were all my thoughts being back inside that building. If those walls could talk, the stories they would tell.
So the morning of my appointment, I talked to Michelle. I told her that I knew it wasn’t my plan anymore. It was God’s plan. So I told her His will be done. I’ll be prepared for a good number or a bad number. I don’t know if you know, but once you’ve had cancer, the idea of recurrence is kind of always in the back of your mind. Another thing you may not know is that many parents who have experienced the death of a child will tell you that they do not fear death anymore. Now that I have a child in heaven, not a day goes by that I don’t think about what that reunion with Michelle will be like.
So anyway, the results of the bloodwork came in way sooner than expected. Especially for my late in the day appointment. I scrolled through my computer down the long list because the real result is always at the very bottom. Sometimes it is even blank because it takes longer for that number to come back. Not this time. They want the number to be less than 38. There at the bottom I see: CA 27-29 ~ “16”………16.
16…..Really Michelle? Ok I get it. Not only is that the lowest the number has ever been, but it also happens to be the week of your 16th Birthday. I get that you’re telling me, not this time, Mom. The cancer is still at bay. It’s not back yet.
My sweet friend, Kim Moore, texted me this morning and at the end of her story she wrote this, “She is everywhere I go if I put my heart out there.”
Thy will be done.