It seems unbelievable almost that I would be writing this blog post again, tonight; writing the same thing again tonight. But then I think, why is it so surprising? When I think back to the last two years since completing my treatment for breast cancer I realize I have had a number of biopsies, surgeries, procedures and tests. It is okay with me that last Wednesday I learned I have yet another cancer diagnosis: basal cell carcinoma.
I am a huge advocate of second, third, fourth opinions when it comes to medical care and diagnosis. I like to cover all my bases and gather information before making any decisions. Last June a spot on my nose just showed up. And after showing up it wouldn't heal. So, by the fall I went to my dermatologist who did a biopsy. The results came back negative. When I went back this spring I saw a different doctor in the same office and reported I was concerned that the spot still had not healed. She froze the spot and asked me to return in 2 weeks. When I saw her again she thought the spot was healing nicely and gave me a clean bill of health. When by this fall the spot still had not healed from the last procedure I went to get my second opinion. The doctor biopsied the spot and two days later, last Wednesday, called me to tell me that it indeed was skin cancer. So, I added cancer number three to my repertoire. How fancy.
Tomorrow I will be headed to Chicago for a "Mohs procedure". The doctor said "procedure" but the literature they gave me says "surgery" so... I will be having this surgery tomorrow to remove slices of my nose, layer by layer until they are satisfied they have "clean margins" and have removed all the cancer. I appreciate this because the last thing I want is the right side of my nose being slowly eaten away by cancer! Good Lord!
I'm not trying to be dramatic when I say that as I write this I am weak and tired and just feel like I can't imagine making myself get up early and go to this thing tomorrow. I've been through much worse after all... But, as always, I will. I will get up. I will get my children up and ready to go. I'll put on my comfy clothes and head out the door. I will get my nose shot up with anesthetics then sliced up by a laser. I will read my library books and write my own books while I wait as they look at the sample under a microscope searching for those clear margins. I will get more of my nose sliced off if need be. Then I will listen to discharge instructions, thank my doctors and go home to my children. I will give Cindy a hug and thank her for watching them. I will make sure my boys are ready for school the next day before tucking them in and reading to them and praying with them. I will kiss my husband goodnight. I also may cry.
But as I consider what tomorrow will bring I think, why is tomorrow different?
After all, there will always be something to demand my attention, to tempt my worry, there will always be something about tomorrow that I cannot control or understand or know. It is always "the night before" something! It may not be a cancer diagnosis, procedure, test, etc. but there will always be something.
There have been a few Scripture verses that keep coming into my mind. I've considered them this way and that, mulling them over, piece by piece. And the truth held in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 gives me goose bumps every time I quote it or read it. Read it out loud, with feeling and tell me you don't get goose bumps too!
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
It doesn't matter how much of my nose they have to take tomorrow. I will not lose heart, but will focus on the unseen, the eternal. There's so much more to this life than what's in front of my face (or on it). I want to be in touch with that reality. And I pray that this truth will also help to free you from the unnecessary demands on your attention, the temptation to worry, the tendency to borrow tomorrow's trouble tonight. I don't want to live that way. You? Why don't we let go of all that, give it over to God and sleep well tonight.