I'm still overwhelmed that I was chosen. That He picked me. Don't get me wrong. I still don't think God "gave" me cancer, but I'm fully-whole-heartedly convinced that this journey was mine to hold.
For several months the Event Chair for one of the Relay events I work with has had some health issues. She has had all kinds of tests run over the last 6 months trying to figure out what was wrong.
Two weeks ago on the Wednesday of her event week, she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Ever heard that before ?
I've tried to give her, her space. You know, everyone deals with these things differently, and I remember not wanting to hear the "advice" everyone was so freely willing to offer. So, I've supported from a distance.
We had the "should you freeze your eggs" convo last week by text message as she prepared herself for the doctors version of the same conversation. I told her what my decisions were but as a married woman nearing 30 she had many other things to consider.
But tonight, my help changed. She called while I was wasting time in a Target dressing room and I couldn't take the call. But the text that followed beckoned for help.
"Um might be starting treatment next week and I want to talk"
I called as soon as I was able and amidst black and white striped maxi dresses and California graphic tees and an ever- alluring Clearance section I found myself drawn back to the innocence of April 7, 2008.
What would chemo feel like with out that port thingy?
Would someone need to go with me to drive me home?
Would I get sick immediately?
Would my hair just start falling out in chunks while I was talking to people?
Did I need to wear special clothing?
What would "the morning after" feel like?
When could I go back to work?
Even typing those questions takes me back to the fear and anxiety of those moments.
And you know what? It's all ok.
I tried to saunter over to the shoe section to check out some summer wedges and peek-toe flats but I felt myself needing to really concentrate on the anxiety I heard in her voice. So I did it. I sat down on the "dad bench" and listened.
She has real concern:
What stage is my cancer? I don't even know the stage and they want to start chemo.
Are there more tumors?
What does a "low dose" mean?
I thought I was going to take chemo locally but you want to start it while I'm there?
What do you mean ill start chemo at 8:00 at night?
Does someone extra need to go with us to take care of me on the trip home?
What do you mean the procedure to harvest eggs costs $6000? How do we even begin to make that decision?
She has very capable doctors but like with any first in life, there are so many unknowns. And yet I'm beginning to see a spirit that somewhat reflected my own and I was reminded tonight by her words and actions.
She is NOT letting this get her down. She has used this experience to draw attention to the hard work that she and other volunteers do in Fayetteville. She is already resilient and knows there is a reason.
I too carry those same desires deep in my soul. From the moment this journey began I begged to remember the details and it was amazing how quickly they rushed back to my mind while I stared at a colorful wall of gladiator sandals, lace up tennies and flip flops.
Amazingly I remember a similar environment where I had to tell my college roommate over the phone that I had been diagnosed. I remember wandering aimlessly while talking entirely too loud and then turned to the ugly cry. But that night too, things were ok and we began to put one foot in front of the other.
Maybe the "dad bench" in the shoe aisle has become my new place of counsel. None the less. I know tonight I'm beginning to see a glimpse of the God-sized dream play out. I'm sad we share the journey, but I'm glad my Relay sister can find "good" in the summer of 2013 from the journey of the Summer of 2008.