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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2 responses to “Prayers answered

  1. Greetings,
    My name is Dr. Dana Hansen, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Kent State University. You can learn more about me by visiting my faculty web page at http://www.kent.edu/nursing/facstaff/bio/~dhansen1/
    We are contacting you because you are listed as the contact person of the blog. My research team and I are interested in learning about the family caregiver’s experience with reading their loved one’s illness blog.
    A family caregiver is someone who provides emotional, spiritual, or physical care or support to a loved one.
    I was inspired to conduct this research during my sister-in-law’s journey through breast cancer. After interacting on her blog, I began to wonder what it was like for her husband (family caregiver) to read her blog. The family caregiver of the person who is writing the illness blog can find out more about our study by going to our study website: https://nursing.kent.edu/caretaker. There is a screen for you to share your contact information if you are interested in participating.
    After we receive your information, we will contact you to discuss the study further and establish a time to conduct a 1 hour phone or Skype (your choice) interview. During the interview, we will ask questions about your experience as a caregiver interacting with your loved one on an illness blog. A nominal onetime payment of $50.00 will be mailed to you once the interview is complete.
    Participation is voluntary. Refusal to take part in the study involves no penalty or loss of benefits to which participants are otherwise entitled. Participants may withdraw from or stop the study at any time without penalty or loss of benefits to which they are otherwise entitled.
    If you are not the family caregiver of the person with a serious illness, please forward this information to someone who is.
    Thank you for your time and consideration,
    Dr. Dana Hansen
    Dana Hansen RN, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Kent State University, College of Nursing
    113 Henderson Hall, P. O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242

    • Let me check with my family members and get back to you, if you are still interested. Sorry for the delayed response. I don’t check my blog on a regular basis.

      Carol Spaeth-Bauer

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