Thursday, June 26, 2014

I'm Positive; I'm Not in Denial

Just for the record: I categorically deny being in denial.

My surgery was three weeks ago today, and I still don't have much more than a whisper -- sometimes a harsh whisper. I tell people that the doctors will not tell me I will never have my voice back; the doctors will not tell me I will ever have my voice back. Their usual response after an indignant, "How can they not know?" is "It'll be OK. It'll come back." Sometimes they tell me about their uncle's cousin's nephew who had the same thing, but he is now a champion hog caller. I don't care. I don't mean about your uncle's cousin's nephew; I'm happy for him if that's what he really wanted, but I don't care about my voice.

This is an inconvenience, sure. And it makes it difficult to scream at concerts or sing the National Anthem, but it doesn't change much more about me than sound. "Can't they do something?" they ask. (They are obviously more distressed by this than I). "Time, prayers, shots, surgery. It all depends." Immediately after the whispers have left my mouth, they ask, "Are you gonna do the surgery?" I think they are bothered by my answer -- "No. Maybe the shots, if things haven't improved in six months or so, but no surgery." This only prompts Phase III: "Oh, you'll change your mind later." I want to ask why, but Phases I-III are all I can tolerate right now.

I am heading to the oncologist today. The pathologist found some microcarcinomas in my now, medically disposed of thyroid. Four. Very small ones. "Oh, it'll be OK. You won't need anymore treatment. God loves you." To which my response is: "Yes, yes it will. Maybe I might. God loves me anyway."

I've received messages about my "setback." I've been told over and over about getting my rest. "If you need a shoulder to cry on..." "You have such a great attitude!" "Do you think you're in a little denial?" FOLKS, PLEASE! Clue me in on what -- exactly -- I'm supposed to feel in order to make my cancer, or my healing, or my situation, more comfortable for you. I am NOT crying in m beer. I am not falling to pieces in examination rooms all over PA. I still have not written my last will and testament. I have plans for the weekend. Do you think that's unwise?

I appreciate the concern; I genuinely do. And I LOVE your prayers! But please, understand my faith in God undergirds everything I think, say, or do. To believe anything -- even death -- would make things less than OK, is preposterous. He is the God of the Universe. NOTHING happens that He does not allow or have thorough knowledge concerning. And He loves me! I can't break it down for you anymore than that.

I am not saying Christians do not get sad, or worried, or depressed. The first cancer scare I had a few years ago, left me standing on top of the hospital parking garage, gasping for air, while my tears mingled with the icy rain that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere the second I closed the oncologist's office door. But beside my faith, this is not my first rodeo. God, in His grace and wisdom sent me down this path five years ago. It was benign. I've learned not to jump to conclusions, or from parking garages until the fat lady has sung.

I do not believe I am in denial. Denial would be signing up to speak at the Union League next Tuesday. Denial would be getting dressed based on what I would like to be wearing when they recommend the radiation that could kill me before the cancer does. Denial is not, realizing my voice could never return, but being accepting of that. Denial is not, knowing this could be the beginning of a long road, but knowing I do not walk it alone.

I feel your pain and your confusion. I know how uncomfortable you are when we discuss all of this. I know, because I've been on your end of things before. And now I know what this end is like even better than before. But, if someone has a positive attitude, or is leaning with all they've got on their faith -- run with that! Positive thoughts are good for your health, and your spirit! Your prayers are working! That shouldn't be a surprise!

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