Friday, 2 August 2013

Uncertainty: My Travelling Companion

This morning, while I was having my room cleaned, the housekeeper made a comment that sparked off a train of thought. She said, "I bet you must feel so relieved when you're told the cancer has gone". It's not so simple. Firstly, you are never told that the cancer is gone, you are told you are in remission. It's a difference that adds uncertainty to the context. Being in remission means that, with the technology available, there is no cancer detectable. But the catch in that statement is "technology available"; potentially there could be cancer cells but the number is too small for the equipment to detect. While being given the news of remission is an answer to prayer, it keeps you looking over your shoulder because the cancer could  come back, or in my case, a different cancer could arise. 

The other thing that robs the expected joy from being in remission is that you still have to continue treatment after the fact to ensure a higher success rate. When I think back to when I was given the news of remission for the Hodkin Lymphoma three years ago when I was half way through my treatment regime, I was not overly excited. Why? It was because I was more concerned about potentially needing radiotherapy.The real relief came when I was told that I didn't need treatment. This time round I was comparatively significantly more relieved, but I think that was because this was a more serious situation and the stakes were higher. But
I still couldn't fully celebrate because I knew the bone marrow transplant was still to come. Am I relieved now that I've had the treatment? I don't know, a bit I guess, but I thought I would be more relieved. The recovery takes a long time, about six months or longer; this makes this whole experience feels like there is no real end point in which to focus the relief around.

The two bouts of cancer have made me think about being cured in a completely different way. Physical healing is always temporary. There is no cure for death. I don't know if I will have more episodes of cancer in the future; but I suspect I might. Maybe I will, maybe I wont. I know that sounds pessimistic, but in fact it is realistic. In this life, physical healing is a;ways temporary, but healing of the soul is not. That can't be taken away because the soul lives on after death and instead, God adds to it day by day. 

The problem with pinning your hopes on a long term cure is that it is an illusion. We have to die of something in the end. But surprisingly, I'm ok with that. It doesn't fill me with fear or foreboding because I'm not bothered about living forever. This treatment I'm having has bought me more time. It could be a lot or it could be a little. But having this mindset has uncovered the need for stewarding time wisely. When I have recovered, I will live life to the best of my ability, and if I get ill, I will recover to the best of my ability. I'm learning to live with uncertainty and it's ok. I't means that I learn to trust God in all seasons of my life. When God is the centre of your life, you loosen your grip on the things of this life; instead you hold onto Him tightly knowing that He will get you through. You don't know what the outcome will be, but He will get you through the journey. That is why I am not afraid. Don't get me wrong, I really dislike pain. But there are higher things at stake and I endure pain because someone died for me so that I could live, His name is Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Stari, thanks for this blog - and I loved the pup-on-steps picture in the previous one!- love from Irene xx


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