(written on 1/4/13 originally on my CaringBridge page)
Sometimes the Lord rides out the storm with us and other times He calms the restless sea around us. Most of all, He calms the storm inside us in our deepest inner soul.
~ Lloyd John Ogilvie
If I had written down my thoughts on Thursday’s adventures at DFCI when I got home at 8:00 last night (need I say more), I would have sounded something like Veruca Salt from the original Charlie & Chocolate Factory—rotten and bratty. My day was just missing that beautiful “Undo” feature I frequent on the computer. It was bad.
It’s funny how circumstances like this often times allow one to step back and really take a long “glimpse” in the proverbial mirror. The reflection can be pretty ugly. I realize more than ever how my reactions to situations are often based on the expectations I have. When those “expectations” are unmet, I easily drift into meltdown zone. My strength and “center” only come when I’m earnestly standing firm on the solid foundation I know to be Truth. All too often, I’m so rushed to get all my “ducks in a row,” I don’t stand still long enough to allow His still so small voice to resonate in my very being, ordering my footsteps. Yesterday was a prime example.
A distinct agenda had been laid out for Thursday’s brief visit to DFCI. My oncologist mentioned that after my 9:15 am “hair prosthetic consultation,”— (Yes, I’m actually laughing right now, typing that), she would be able to squeeze me into her schedule to sign off on the clinical trial paperwork and have the research nurse go over chemo schedule, etc. etc. with me. The wig folks had been really booked up until late next week, but had one slot open at 9:15 on Thursday. I jumped on it because the doctor informed me that one of the meds produces hair loss very quickly (within 2 weeks of treatment, it’s time to shave); so realizing I would be doing weekly chemotherapy, I needed to wrap my head around the wig situation, (pun intended). Apparently many wigs take between 10 days and 3 weeks to order, and I really didn’t want to be faced with further insecurity and anxiety. So I dropped the boys off at school and headed to Boston.
There I was trapped in a parking lot called the Southeast expressway— every commuter’s nightmare. I decided to ease the situation and “trust” my good ol’ GPS to take me on a new route to save time. There was my first mistake. Though I had lived in Boston and worked there for years, a distracted mind coupled with an anxious heart left little room for me to find my way out of a box, let alone try to follow a confused GPS that clearly had no clue how to maneuver around the crazy Boston landscape. Tick tock went the clock as I aimlessly drove in circles to get to my home away from home. Finally I arrive, only it’s 10:08 and I’ve missed my appointment—no wiggle room to reschedule.
Now, under normal circumstances, this little inconvenience would be a mere blip on the map of life, but for me, at that moment, I had a personal “mini-melt”— despising everything. Why is this happening . . . nobody understands . . . why why why? It was my fetal position, thumb sucking-sorta moment. John was on the phone with me trying to be sweet and supportive . . . but the reality was, with my bad attitude and mental state, he didn’t stand a chance. I didn’t want to hear anything positive. I was sour and angry, celebrating at my own pathetic, little pity party.
The drama continued when I checked in on the oncology floor. I’ve never seen so many cancer victims in one place … there must have 100+ bald-heads waiting to be seen. They saw the doctor’s note in the system, but informed me that there would be a bit of wait, unsure how long. She suggested I grab a coffee and return in about 45 minutes. I decided to head downstairs to the wig folks just to browse. I grabbed some catalogs and I asked if there was a sample wig or two to try on . . . I immediately liked the first wig and said can we order this and get fitted later? That was that. One more duck in the row of chaos.
So the 45 minute jaunt to wig land at least got one mission accomplished on my list. Unfortunately, though it wasn’t looking good to get in to see the doctor and so they recommended I grab some lunch and return in an hour. I decided to visit the healing garden and try to get control of my emotions. There I journaled . . . and thought about everything.
Needless to say … after my “lunch break” I waited an additional 3 hours in the waiting room. Looking around the room packed with people, my mind wondered which of these people would be here in a year, 5 years, 10 years . . . the thought frightened me for a moment.
In the room, we made a plan. We talked about the trial, going through the highlights of a 70+ page document outlining everything from side effects, phasing etc. etc. etc. Then I was told I needed additional blood work because there was a 7 day window for the trial concerning labs that was about to expire. Seven tubes of blood and 2 EKGs later, I left DFCI, scheduled for next Wednesday’s start! Biopsy will be at 7:00 am followed by oncologist appointment where I will learn if I was chosen by the computer-generated randomization (happens right after biopsy is complete), more blood (arghhh), then infusion. If I get my desire, and am chosen, I will be infused solely with the antibody for 2 weeks, then on with that combined with standard chemo from weeks 3 to 22.
So … my pity party is over, and I will desperately try not to revisit. Instead, I hope that I learn to be still and know He is with me, even when my desired order of affairs doesn’t seem to go my way. His expectations for my life far outweigh the best case scenario I can conjure up . . . so I need to let go and lean in.