And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” —Isaiah 30:21 (nrsv)
The phone rang in the middle of a Friday morning. It was my husband’s neuro-oncologist. “I’ve got some bad news,” he told me. “The MRI shows that Lynn’s brain tumor is back.”
Nearly four years earlier, Lynn had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Following surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, he lived a fairly normal life with no evidence of disease. We traveled, he continued to work at his law firm, and we spent good times with our children and grandchildren. We were almost ready to pronounce him cured—until this MRI.
Some parts of this new journey seem so familiar:
Gather information and make choices.
This time Lynn’s tumor is inoperable and radiation will not work. Our only medical hope is aggressive chemotherapy. We agree to go for it but realize the physical realities will end his law career.
Set up systems.
Get the every-other-week chemo appointments on the calendar and plan the rest of our lives around this new priority. Tell others. Choose the simplest language to describe the news for family, friends and our church.
Face our fears.
This time the fears seem bigger. The cancer affects the brain functions more. The side effects of chemo are greater. The statistics are not as good. Yet, as I look back at our earlier journey down this same unpredictable path, I remember how we discovered surprising doses of God’s hope all along the way.
There’s a saying: “Remember in the dark what you learned in the light.” But as we begin this journey again, I’m remembering in the dark what I learned in the dark: that God gives us enough light to direct our paths, one step at a time, and what we need when we need it most.
Lord, as we begin this journey with cancer again, I trust You and will look for those doses of hope.