When people ask, “How are you doing?” I find it hard to answer. I am experiencing life the same way I do a special vacation or trip. The first part of my time away I am super excited and enjoy counting the days away from the routine. At some point I am closer to going home than to when I arrived. At that moment I begin to count down the days till I return. While I try to stay excited and engaged in the trip, the closer I get to the time we leave, the harder it gets.
Hearing the doctor say, “You have stage IV colon cancer” was hard. Harder still was waiting for the elevator outside the oncologist’s office when I was told it was time to end my first break and re-enter treatment. Nancy and I could hardly look at each other. We quietly said, “We have done this before, we will do it again” and started to prepare for the journey.
This break began on September 17th. My wall calendar has the word “GOAL” written on March 17th. Six months seemed so far off in September. When I tell Dr. Saroha I want another year-long break he says, “that is a good goal.” He is quick to add that these breaks tend to get shorter as time goes on.
I feel like I am living on a vacation these days. We have reached the middle point and my mind has begun to count down towards the time I have to return to normal life. Normal life in this case would be some form of treatment.
I am struggling to be filled with hope and joy. Do I know anything concrete, no. Has my oncology team predicted the steps and stages of my journey fairly well, yes.
Life is interesting these days. I am excited about so much that is taking place. Relationships being built, service done by First Baptist, books being written, conferences planned, trips organized, sermons preached, lessons learned.
Life is so interesting, so exciting, so hope-filled; and yet there is this thought that I could be on the backside of my “vacation.”
Wrestling with these thoughts, I reached a conclusion. There are two ways to live, and I must choose one.
Option 1: Live as if the break could end tomorrow. Plan, prepare as if I start chemotherapy again next week.
Option 2: Live as if the break could continue forever. Choose to live each day to the fullest, not thinking about what tomorrow holds. Planning and preparing as if Abba will provide me the strength to accomplish whatever is part of His plan, regardless of chemotherapy.
In my darker moments, when I am tired and overcome by the cares and worries of this world it is so easy to slip into living an option one life.
When I am healthier, clearer, more focused on the Spirit’s invitation I am only interested in option number two.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – Jesus
May I live each day, confident that no matter how large the troubles may seem, Jesus has overcome them all.
Or, as my friends in A.A. would say, “One day at a time.”
God is good all the time, All the time God is good