Sunday, May 6, 2012

Looking for Mercy Street

Sometimes the road we're on changes in the distance. 
It's not until we're right on top of it and then we realize,
we may be in for a bumpy ride.
Such is life I suppose.  The road is bumpy most days.  You have to carefully navigate your way through everything.  Going to the bakery for a loaf of crusty Italian bread is sometimes not an easy task living here in Northern New Jersey.  You will probably see a bird or two when driving since most of us around this area are in a constant hurry and if you stop where you shouldn't and slow someone else down, the birds, cuss words and beeping start almost immediately. 

The funny part about this is once you're in the bakery, those same people are nodding, slightly smiling and acknowledging the fact the weather is really nice today.  Once they're back in the cars or SUV's it's a whole 'nother' story.

We navigate the world and get used to doing it a certain way.
We sometimes go through life on auto-pilot not really appreciating
how we got from one place to another, so pre-occupied. 
 After having my mammography, I was sent for needle and stereotactic biopsies of both breasts only to find out I have the best possible scenario when it comes to the beginning stages of breast cancer.  One breast is more suspicious than the other (those suspicious breasts lol).  It seems that everything we navigate, we navigate in stages and this is no different.

As I navigate through this new world of medical problems, procedures, cures and treatments, my head is spinning.  I was on auto-pilot and very happy to be so, I guess, but the road has changed for me and tomorrow I find out just how much my near future with be affected by this new terrain.

Tomorrow I meet with a Surgeon to determine the best course of action once they remove the suspicious breast tissue.  I've been doing a little research and have heard that the treatment for Ductal carcinoma in situ and Lobular carcinoma in situ is medicine and radiation.  No one has said the word chemotheraphy to me and I'm quite happy with that although I haven't had the meeting with the surgeon yet so that remains to be seen.

Regardless, I am on this road now and the only option is getting well and preserving my life as best I can in the here and now.  I am not even 50 years old and I'm not done living.  Sure this is the best case scenario and it's early and all, but my mortality is staring and glaring me in the face taunting me, daring me not to look at it and using my faith as the main reason not to.  But I am a human being also and that in and of itself has it's human qualities.  I have memory.  I feel pain.  I bleed.  I cry.  I fear.  So I know that this is definetly not going to be easy.  Nothing ever is, is it?

Then one day the road we're on looks different.
It's not as smooth as we remember it being.
It's a whole lot more than we anticipated, but we're on it nonetheless.
And how am I?  Hmmm?  Well, I've had my moments.

When I first heard that there may be a problem, I knew deep down inside that it wasn't going to be over any time soon.  I was hoping that my intuition was wrong, but it rarely is.  I have a voice inside (call it my spirit, my angels, my God, Jesus, frankly I don't care, I just know it's there and I trust it) that guides me ever so gently.  It was quiet, yet cautious.  It wasn't until I got the results from the biopsies that everything was A-Okay that I kinda heard my spirit say 'not so fast'.  I wanted to rejoice so desperately.  I wanted to take a really deep breath and put this scare behind me, but something inside just didn't embrace the news.  Good thing too since shortly thereafter I got the phone call that A) this has never happened before (giving only partial news) B) the news went from great to not so great and C) everyone was apologizing to me.

I knew it.

I didn't want to believe that God would allow me to navigate this terraine, but why not?  Some of the most amazing people that I've ever known have been afflicted with this disease.  Why not me?

I had seen this road before a couple of times, more specifically once when I was a young girl living in Jersey City.  My Aunt Helen, who was married to my Uncle Larry, lived downstairs from my Grandmother Mary.  Aunt Helen had breast cancer and had a double masectomy as I recall.  It was horrific hearing my Grandmother Mary talk about her dear friend and Sister-In-Law Helen and how much pain she was in.  I remember my Grandmother wringing her hands and pacing back and forth talking on the telephone to our relatives giving them the updates.  Keeping in mind this was the early 70's and so much has changed since then, this is still my first contact with such a horrible disease.  It eventually took her life.

I will always remember my Aunt Helen.  She had the sweetest smile and she was always so very kind to me.  I realize now also how very brave she was.  She would be proud today of her family and I hope she knows how much I miss her.  I know she does and I know she's ever present ready to minister to me, as is my Grandmother Mary and my Aunt Jean, my Grandmother's Sister.  These women were the staples in our family surely keeping us together.  I miss them and wish I could seek counsel from them as well as comfort.

Interesting to note here that since Facebook has increased in popularity, my cousins have taken an interest in communicating with one another.  We are all together in cyberspace encouraging one another to get through life's bumpy terrains and it's terrific.  We were so close as children rarely not together that now, even though we're all grown and on our own paths, we're still so very close and want to be.  That's what family is all about...wanting to be with each other - not having to be.  There's a difference.

I have also lost a couple of other great friends to cancer;  Dina and Bobbi.  They will forever be missed.  Such amazing women.  And, as I type these words my dearest friend Rachael's Dad Joe is dying from brain cancer.  Never did a man want his family more than this man and he's being robbed and stripped from it.  It breaks my heart and it should not happen to this family or this man.  It shouldn't happen to anyone.  It shouldn't even happen to me. 

But, I'm not Job (read the story of Job in the Old Testament- if you haven't you're missing an amazing conversation between man and Maker in regard to the why's of life).  I will not question God.  I will accept my circumstances, but accept with a fierce determination to overcome.

Tomorrow will be a day won't it?  I will hear things I never, ever wanted to hear.  I will have to make decisions I never, ever wanted to make;  life preserving, life changing, life altering decisions.  Hopefully, and this is the operative word for my life, hopefully, it will go smoothly, nary a bump and I will come home with a plan of action and the light will present itself illuminating my path, making it straight, and allowing me the grace to navigate it.

So, here's to me Ree!  God speed my love, go, be well and conquer the world as He has conquered the world.

I will, and I shall. 

We all look off into the distance to find hope in the light. however,
I'm learning that hope lives in the heart today, at this moment,
while we're taking this turn.

We are bound only by our perceptions and beliefs, I know this,
however, some blows are harder to get over than others.
Returning to hope is the only answer.