I am completely slacking on blogs right now which breaks all the rules of regular blogging. Sorry about that! I’ll catch up soon. Right now I’m at a great conference and have tried to be as fully invested in it as possible, but there has been a part of me distracted. Some of you that began following this blog when I started writing after finding out that I had a brain tumor and you walked with me through that journey and the recovery and even though the blog has become a little bit something different, I do still want to give you an update on that good ole brain of mine because I believe that this community of support has been invaluable and really a holy presence in my life and I can’t imagine my life without your prayer and support.
I have been doing 3 month MRI and neurosurgeon check ups over the past year. For the most part, I try to keep moving with life and I give a sincere and concerted effort not to let these worries and fears rule over my life. Then comes the time when I get the envelope from Carolina Spine and Neurosurgery in the mail with all of my appointment times and as Mike and I see it, I can feel the background stress and tension in me and those I love. The unknown is so completely…humbling…scary…difficult. There’s so much to unpack there but that would be an incredibly long blog and mine are already probably way too long.
Last week I went to my (I don’t really care to remember how many its been now) whatevereth MRI and the techs were asking how I was doing and what I was there for, all that good stuff and I told them my hope that maybe this was the visit where I could be increased to every 6 months or every year instead of every 3 months.
On Monday I met with the neurosurgeon and he said that it was the radiologist’s opinion that the part of the tumor still up there in brain/motor cortex land may have grown slightly but that it was very slight. His opinion was that he didn’t see a change and disagreed with the radiologist. We then had a lovely back and forth where I looked at the comparison MRI’s myself and tried to understand and that I got a chance to ask some hard questions. Since Mike was not with me, I could ask some of the things that I want to know and would like to understand but that I don’t want to alarm, worry or hurt someone else by them hearing the questions or the answers. Does that make sense?
So even though it was not my most favorite news in the world, I was okay. My amazing doctor said he was going to take the tumor to the tumor board for them to decide if it had grown or not. I called Mike and my parents on the way home and was okay.
Primarily I was okay because I was leaving the next morning for a conference and I just didn’t have the emotional energy or the whatever to process it.
Yesterday afternoon while I was in a workshop, the doctor left a message and when I hear him say his name I immediately get a little freaked out on the inside even though he’s a fabulous doctor – like fabulous – but it’s just anxiety producing. But then he says an AMAZING thing – the tumor board doesn’t see any change. AND because this place on my lovely brain has stayed consistent this year, I get to stretch the time between MRI’s to 6 months!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I could probably mash exclamation points for a while on that one.) That may seem like a little thing, but it’s such an act of hope and grace and peace to me.
And though I didn’t shed a tear on Monday, I couldn’t stop crying off and on yesterday evening. Is that crazy? The bad news – I take it and I’m like let’s do this thing. The good news – I’m a basketcase. In talking with a dear friend and colleague about this last night I told her as I was trying to process and express my layers of feelings that I really needed to blog about this. For some odd, crazy reason this is how I started this journey – blogging. And it has been such a healing and cathartic piece or even peace for me. There’s something about putting it out there in writing and narrative that makes it something that I feel a little more grounded in. I guess we each have our mediums – whether it’s walking outside or making pottery or playing baseball or journaling. And I am thankful for this one.
In the midst of this I know that there are those walking incredibly hard and deep and heartbreaking journeys right now. I think of the family members that are living this reality right now and the friends and loved ones who have faced challenges that I know not of. Please do lift up in prayer those who are in the midst of the struggle of the unknown and in this thin place where anger and fear and sadness and grief and life and death and joy and pain are so close to the surface at times. Each of us walks this journey at times.
And we’re not alone.
I have seen Christ in the colleagues that I’ve shared with here and that continue to uplift and inspire and challenge and hold me accountable. I have seen Christ in my family who continue to battle for me. I have seen Christ in the countless people that continue to tell me they’re praying for me or those that just give me space to be…and to feel…and to just cry or laugh or talk about it or not talk about it. I have seen Christ when I’m by myself and I am vulnerable and just laid bare as a child of God. Although there is no doubt that I would not have chosen for this piece of the puzzle of life, I have felt Christ’s Spirit and promise more tangibly and have felt the Body of Christ more profoundly and genuine than I have felt in my life.
I am grateful for a community of people that I can keep it real with on the sad days and the angry days and the joyous days and the rock and roll days. I am grateful for a Savior who continues to be that Great Redeemer and Strong Protector and just that Amazing Grace who support us and girds us up in mighty, mighty ways.
So that’s my brain.
And one of the awesome things – 6 MONTHS!!!!!
Grace and peace to all of you. I am gratefu for you all.