Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake. To guide the future, as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below. ~ Be Still My Soul, Katharina A. von Schlegel
Cancer treatment is a hurry up and wait experience. You work so hard to get through treatment and then you wait to see if anything changes. Yesterday, we sat waiting patiently for the doctor to share results from my second PET scan. The test that will tell us if we are on the right cancer treatment path. The test that will help me determine if I am ready to do whatever is asked of me and on the right personal path.
My words will be simple in this blog post. My treatment plan is working! I share these five simple words with such unfiltered joy. The type of joy that literally lifts your very soul. I wondered how I would feel as the doctor compared and shared results from the first and second PET scans. A few simple questions rolled through my mind. Is my heart in a place where I can truly accept the Lord’s will for me? How can I use this outcome to demonstrate my gratitude? What happens next for me and my family?
My mind also imagined several responses: doing cartwheels down the hall, jumping, screaming, crying, worrying, laughing, despairing, encouraging, cheering. And yet, through the conversation, the emotion I felt most clearly is that of quiet reverence. A genuine awe and tender respect for the gift of life. A profound love for family and for the Savior. A deep respect for doctors and wonderful medical care. The interesting thing is this is my “one word.” The word that I chose as a focus word for the year. One word that guides me.
And so, we carry on with three more rounds of chemotherapy and one full year of maintenance with one of the chemotherapy drugs. My cancer journey will continue for many months. Our goal is to continue to shrink the tumors and find no more evidence of the disease. The tumors develop holes in the middle as the chemotherapy interrupts their growth. I love holes! My body is tolerating the treatment as well as can be expected. This is another miracle. Because of my tolerance level, I can continue with treatment. It seems funny to say I am grateful for more chemotherapy and the hard days that come with the treatment. The miracle is I will be able to complete the full treatment plan. This will increase my odds of beating this disease and help to prolong signs of reoccurrence. This is the gift of life!
I reverently understand that I will take the gift of life and serve Him. I will love more deeply with less judgment and more encouragement. I will lift the lonely and encourage those in despair. I will smile and celebrate the success of others. I will continue to expect the best in those around me.
My soul is still and full of peace. Reverence strengthens my faith and deepens hope. With hope, I am willing to look with optimism to the future. This is what anchors my soul.