I choose joy
Three spots, people.
We have three new spots, three new metastases. I say “we” because that’s how I feel. I’m the one they measure and weigh, but we’re all in this together. I have no illusions that I’m doing this alone. (Thanks be to Jesus.)
This means my
current former treatment isn’t working to control my cancer. It means that Dr. Wonderful did lots of clicking on his computer to change my upcoming protocol. It means I start a new drug soon: they call it the smart bomb because it injects a chemotherapy agent directly into cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells. It means I get to keep being normal Jen–I’ll keep looking and feeling normal: no hair loss, no fatigue.
I have two lymph nodes that are measuring cancer, and another maybe-cancer spot in my lung. The details of the spots don’t really matter: Dr. Wonderful filters the information from the scan and translates it into treatment. He’s got the medical science side of this covered; God’s doing his thing and I trust His goodness always; I’m here to focus on health and joy. We’ve all got our roles, and I choose joy.
I’m present today, as Jen. My Jen-ness is intact. We’re changing drugs: this could be the one that keeps my cancer under control for years. My God could decide to swing me back to No Evidence of Disease (NED) status with a flick of His finger. Cancer free.
So. We can worry, whine and wail. Or. We can smile, enjoy and do today well.
I left the oncology office, and I went to the grocery store. That’s what normal moms do for their families. I wanted to be Normal Mama. Tonight, I went to book fair. Because Maren wanted desperately to go to book fair, and it felt good to be Yes Mama tonight. Everyone knows that Yes Mama is waaaay more fun than No Mama. Brad and Greta and Maren and I all went to book fair because we felt like being together. The four of us ran laughing and shrieking from the school to the car because it was sleeting/hailing/raining on us and we don’t like to be cold and wet. We also dropped my bad-noise-making car off at the auto mechanic because that’s what normal people do. Our evening was, if anything, bizarrely run-of-the-mill.
We got home from the book fair and Greta was so tired she asked to go right to bed. Her new book made her so happy, and happy G equals happy me. She was cuddly and snuggly in her very best 3-year-old way. She curled up with the four-foot tiger Brad got her for Valentine’s Day, and it made me smile. I’ve gotten so many smiles out of that darn tiger that I never would have bought for her because — hello, it’s a giant stuffed animal, and clutter, and storage. But Brad bought it for her (and a giant bear for Maren), and they both LOVE them and the whole thing just makes me smile. I know what a thrill it is to get ridiculous gifts from your father as a little girl.
Maren curled up with her book fair book and a spoonful of peanut butter and finished six chapters. She’s seeing Brad and I interacting normally tonight, and, once she groaned at the news that my cancer is back again, she shook it off and is having a great evening for a seven-year-old. She is in the zone where she gets lost in books and she was trying all my old tricks and sneaks to stay up later tonight to read. Tonight I grinned, winked, and said, “Yes, love. One more chapter.” She beamed … up past bedtime and reading … I hope that she is always thrilled by such honest pleasures. She’s pleased there’s not an immediate consequence to today’s revelations; I’m still home, no hospitalizations, no chemo, no drama: I get to be normal for her.
Brad and I sat on the couch, planning logistics and details for an upcoming weekend trip. We love adventuring together. He high-fives me as we talk. We review the status of Maren’s art project; I’ve sent emails, he’s helping her get deliveries ready. There are no changes, no urgencies, no upheavals that are happening as a result of today. Our lifestyle is one we committed to a while ago: we do today well. We both enjoyed our quiet evening, talking together as the kids are in bed, sitting and reading/writing, and comfortable closeness with the man I love.
All-in-all it was a good day. I don’t have the time, or the patience, to have bad days. My day is what I make of it, and that’s why my resolve to Do Today Well is invigorating. My friend recently boiled down life’s problems to “time and money”: the two most valuable resources. I say nay, the richest and most valuable resource is love, and I am awash in it…
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. –Matthew 11:28