A dear friend of mine recently discovered a mass in a place where masses are not supposed to be. Biopsies confirmed the presence of sarcoma.
The initial reassurance that “this kind almost never spreads” was shot to pieces by the doctor’s subsequent reversal, “We’ve got to check and see whether or not this has already metastasized.” At that point, the shock of being diagnosed with cancer was greatly exacerbated by the wondering and the waiting for the subsequent tests and then, waiting and wondering even longer regarding the results. As anyone who has ever been there knows far more acutely than I know, that is not an easy time.
You try to busy yourself, hoping that busy hands will keep your mind from obsessing with the what-ifs and all of that. You go from intense periods of doing to moments of realizing you are standing still, staring off into the distance and having no idea how long you’ve been standing there, staring. You try to convince yourself of the best and yet fear the worst. And, hate the waiting, trying to belief that knowing the bad would be better than the dreading.
In this case, the waiting ended yesterday with the good news that there was no indication from PET or CT scans that there was any cancer anywhere other than in the mass that precipitated the initial attention.
There is a radical relief in such news that is not without irony. Kicked in the gut by the news of cancer yet rejoicing in the discovery that it has not spread, that the prognosis is so much better than it could have been. I am reminded, somehow, even though the parallel is rather vague, of the effect of discovering our own guilt of sin but then learning that our redemption has been fully provided and freely offered.
I believe that in both cases, our faith in the power of the cure, overwhelms our fear of the surgery.