Prayers answered

Be careful what you wish for. I kept that in mind each time I talked with God the past seven weeks after I learned of two small spots found on my left lung on March 13.

I knew better than to ask to be relieved of the burden of melanoma. I wasn’t brave enough, my faith not deep enough, to say, “Your will be done,” because what if God’s will disagreed with mine? I still had lots I wanted to do here, but so does any cancer patient.

Instead, I asked for strength, to get me through whatever lies ahead. I asked for peace to live with whatever the results of the next scan would show. I asked for wisdom to see the reason behind it all. I asked to be filled with grace until I finally got the next results.

I only thought the past seven weeks of waiting was tough. Then I had the chest CT the other day and knew I had to wait again, knowing the results were floating around somewhere, my fate plastered on a screen.

Yet, the day after the scan, when the clinic number came up on my phone, an instant of fear seized me. The answer I wanted, or didn’t want to know, hung on the other end.

“Your scans look good. The spots have resolved.”

A tremendous weight lifted from me. I think every muscle in my body relaxed with those words. I walked back into the office with both fists pumped into the air.

The past two months have been hard. After my stapedectomy (ear surgery), there were times I felt as bad as I did going through melanoma treatment. It felt like I brought the curse of melanoma crushing back down on me.

So when my oncologist said the scan showed two small spots on my lung, I wasn’t completely surprised. I knew things weren’t right, but couldn’t point to the cause – surgery or melanoma.

There were many times I cursed myself, doubted myself in those days, for thinking ear surgery was a good idea, to think I was so far ahead of melanoma that I dare invest in my future. I was after all, only two years out from diagnosis, which in cancer terms is nothing. What was I thinking?

Yet, I plodded on, for what else is there to do at that point but trudge through the mess? Slowly, I sensed improvement. When my hearing test came back with good results and I had finally neared the end of the road to stapedectomy recovery, tension eased.

But there was still the cloud hanging overhead from those two lousy spots.

At one point, when a spot near my original lymph node surgery swelled up under my arm, I lost it, broke down crying, got angry, and cursed every malignant cell around, telling them they would not win. Thankfully that was nothing more than a flared up muscle pull – not lymphodemia or anything worse.

It’s been a long road from “there are two spots on your left lung,” to “the spots have resolved.” Much of that road was a mental battle I feared I was losing. I feared in losing my mental grip, I would give melanoma the slight edge it wanted to get back in. It scared me to no end.

Was it my little shouting match with melanoma? Was it the cross I carried with me every day since learning of those spots? Was it my talks with God or the prayers of others? I will never know, but I do know the prayer I never had the courage to pray was answered. Please don’t let it be melanoma.

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