I’ve been toeing the line lately between hope and reality. There may be a better way to say that or capture what I mean by it because I realize that the truth is that in many ways what we put our hope in IS the reality. But in my context the reality is that I’m dying of cancer. We found out yesterday that there are two new tumors in my spine. They’re small but they’re there (that’s a lot of there’s in one sentence!). One is in my neck and the other is in my lower thoracic spine. Bad news. I also found out that my lungs have not yet fully recovered from the pulmonary embolism back in July, there’s still some residual clotting which means that I must continue on my blood thinners for another three months when we’ll check again. Bad news.
The reality is that this tumor seems to be an active little guy. The reality is not very hopeful. AND YET there is reason to hope. I’ve become convinced lately that hope (for me) can’t come through an ignorance of things as they are. Pretending that this isn’t bad news or watering down the news to something that feels easier doesn’t allow me to hold onto hope in a way that feels authentic. We each find our own ways of dealing with reality in its brokenness (because life is broken isn’t it!) and for me it’s beginning to come through a recognition of the ‘badness’ and a choice to hope despite it.
Ultimately my hope is not in healing. My hope is in resurrection, in a body that won’t decay, in a world that will be restored as God intended, a life lived in communion with others and the Communal God–in the restoration of all things. But I am also choosing to hope for healing, to hope that God chooses to let me experience a glimpse of that future reality today: a whole, healthy body allowing me to live a whole and healthy life.
The more I recognize the brokenness of my reality the more beautiful God’s redemption can and will be. Two new tumors? Ok. So if God chooses to bring healing it’ll be an even greater story. I don’t like it but I think I’m OK with it. If God can bring healing from one tumor…what’s a couple more? And regardless, like I’ve said from the very beginning–God desires to tell a story through each and every one of us regardless of whether we’re aware of our bodies decay or not–the question is what kind of story will we let him tell?
Lastly, and with great joy, I can also say that while there are two new tumors in my spinal cord I have absolutely no new symptoms to validate any new growth. Physically I have been healthier the last month than ever (this is all relative to how poorly I’ve felt over the last nine months of course)! It’s been a great season of health for me and it’s worth celebrating! And because I’ve got no new symptoms to validate the MRI results we are not going to change my current treatment. We will reevaluate in two months and we will continue to monitor my body, looking for any new symptoms. Until then we’ll continue on with my chemo treatment for five days on and 28 days off. Thank you for your prayers and support.