Thursday. Wrightsville Beach, NC. (7/7/11 — a fun number date!) It’s a strange state of affairs when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly, you find that you are being swept away from the path you were on, and in an instant, you are taking a detour of unknown direction. Before, you were walking along and you thought you knew where you were headed. I emphasize the word thought because — can we ever really know? But, I digress. So, you are suddenly thrown onto a detoured path — you know it’s a detour because nothing at all looks or feels familiar. You must continually remind yourself that you aren’t in a dreamlike state experiencing a strange nightmare. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were so? You could then wake up and it would all dissipate. And, the other part of this is that while you wish it weren’t so, you really wish you could take it away from — your son — and let it be your own cross to bear.
Lessons learned over the course of the past eight months will continue to reveal themselves, but for now I’d say that one clear lesson is: flexibility and optimism have proven to be invaluable! Not knowing what will be the next step can sort of drive you crazy, but both Jim and I are by nature spontaneous people — we’re not ones to make plans very far in advance. I must admit that we are those people who make last minute decisions about things like family vacations, things for which I’ve noticed other families planning for months and even years in advance. I’m going to see this as something positive: flexibility! If we had been less flexible, would we have been able to decide right then and there, all three of us sitting in Dr. Rosen’s office for a consultation on Nov. 1st, to move to New York immediately for Rob to start his first chemo treatment one week from then? There was absolutely no time to mull it over, to sit on the idea and think it over from every angle. As Dr. Rosen put it, the tumor isn’t going to take any time off its pace — it’s plowing on full-steam-ahead, so we needed to get on the fast track to try to put a stop to its malignancy and potential spread.
Optimism — the positive side of attitude: the glass is half full rather than half empty, the sun is still shining on the other side of the clouds on a gray and gloomy day. Thankfully, both Jim and I tend to see the world this way. I believe that our kids have inherited this trait — I hope so, anyway. It makes walking the rough and tumble road of life a much less harrowing experience.
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. — Albert Camus. Perhaps therein lies the truth that it’s not until you are in the deep depths that you truly search for and find your strength and faith in God. I believe there’s a correlation between trust and hope: as you place your complete trust in God and His promises, hope “springs eternal” as you navigate through the difficulties that will inevitably come along.
So, as I take a deep breath in, I am trying to once again find that sense of balance, realizing that we have re-entered the main road and are no longer traveling along the detour. And, the great news is that Rob is back living his life in Atlanta — he has found a local prosthetist (very important task!), he has returned to work, driving a car, hitting golf balls… life is getting back to a new normal.
Thank you, Lord, for hope in times of despair… for light in times of darkness… for patience in times of suffering… for assuring me that with You all things are possible. — excerpt from My Beautiful Broken Shell, by Carol Hamblet Adams.