My husband’s lump on his neck has gotten noticeably bigger within two days—swollen, red, and accompanied by fever. Symptoms of his low-grade, slow-growing lymphoma turning into an aggressive lymphoma? Or it could be just an infection that is easily taken care of? We don’t know.
So, just like that, we swing back to where we were. Uncertainties. The euphoria of not having to deal with chemotherapy and its nasty family—the side effects, the possible secondary cancer; the other unpleasantries that come with cells in the body being destroyed by the chemo cocktail, death not due to cancer; but the complications of chemotheraphy—has an ellipsis for now…
Yes, low-grade, slow-growing lymphoma can turn aggressive.
So, we did what we have to do. Get a PET Scan and biopsy done urgently. We went to a private hospital instead of the government hospital that we’ve consulted with—the long wait for everthing—to get an appointment, to see the doctor, to arrange for the test, to get the results—just won’t do any good for our emotional wellbeing. We are grateful that we still have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for the heftier private hospital bills.
That’s it for now; it’s back to waiting until three days later when he can get his PET Scan done and then, the results. And further waiting for the biopsy result.
You know what? I’m angry.
You may be thinking—what?? How does anger make sense in these?
Anger is a secondary emotion. I know what are my primary emotions beneath that anger—fear and sadness.
If you start preaching to me now that I have God and I shouldn’t be scared. I’ll imagine rolling my eyes at you.
Of course, I have God. I have the certainty of Hope.
But it doesn’t mean that I’ll be an emotionless or almost-freakily-cheerful person.
It just means that at the bottom of my pit—I have the absolute assurance that God is still there. He’s with me and all my grouchiness. And that, I know earthly life is temporary—it also comes with truckloads of problems. But, when Jesus comes back again, or we go Home to Him first, all these will be gone. Tears will be wiped away.
I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighbourhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.” (Revelation 21:4 Message)
So, yes. That is the line of strength which I hang on to an otherwise meaningless life.
If the end on earth is the end—and we’ll just evaporate, transformed into nothingness. Or reincarnate into a cockroach. Or, crap! a dying-when-born human being and the vicious cycle goes on & on—no matter how hard I work to be a good person (imperfect human being will never meet the standard of a perfect God, geddit?)—then, I don’t know what else can be sadder, scarier and purposeless than this.
But I digress.
So ya, I’m angry, sad, and sometimes also fearful. I have been going through what seems like a brutal remix of life events, one after another, all happening within too-close-for-breathing-room space. My brain, heart, soul have been hammered again and again—when the previous wounds haven’t healed.
From a major family relationship breakdown, my stepdad’s cancer diagnosis, then my husband’s diagnosis, hospital trips, my own health scare (but sorted), uncertainties about what to do for his diagnosed lymphoma; my stepdad passed away, a shocking work crisis which traumatised me, husband confirmed going for chemo, then not going—due to a changed strategy to watch and wait; and while I was still grappling with a fresh decision on what to do next for my work…this happened.
Just from reading the above paragraph, you have to pause for breath, let alone actually going through all of them. Ugh!
It’s like being on a small, wooden boat being hit by a storm for a few months, but somehow it died down for a few weeks, then the storm raged again. Repeat.
So this morning when we were getting ready to go the hospital, it feels like déjà vu to me all over again. That sombre, hanging feeling of not knowing what’s gonna happen but still wanting to keep it together—lest my eyeballs, my limbs, my nose, and everything crumbles and disintegrates to the ground.
The feeling sucks.
It feels like I’m a walking shell with auto mode on.
I actually don’t wanna function, but I gotta. It.sucks.
So when we received some inappropriate text message replies from people whom we’d sent our hospital visit updates—I flipped.
Actually, let me go ahead and do a public service announcement:
If anyone were to come to you with bad news, like their mom has passed away, or they are diagnosed with cancer, or they have been emotionally hurt, etc.
Do them and the world a favour—don’t give advice. Not yet anyway.
Certainly don’t tell the person, “be strong, chin up!”
You know what? You may get slapped. At least, internally in that person’s mind.
End of public service announcement.
Thank you, dear life, for reminding me to chug along with you one day at a time. Often, I do forget that the breath in my lungs isn’t mine to control.
To uncertain days and memories ahead. Some will be beautiful, I’m sure.
And till we meet face to face, dear God, I shall learn, I shall yearn, I shall hope, and I shall love.
You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only
Full lyrics here.