A few strains of "Silent Night" drifted across the sparsely filled sanctuary. And I cried. "Silent Night" was the first Christmas carol that I learned by heart. As a child, I sat in the car waiting for my father, a veterinarian, to finish his work with a farmer. To amuse myself I would sing it to myself. I don't know if I was feeling sorry for myself or just feeling the blessing of being with others that had suffered loss and were struggling to celebrate this Christmas season. As hard as it was, I was glad I had come to the "Blue Christmas" service.
It has been a strange week, though one that is kind of the norm these days. I had my CT scan on Tuesday. And now I wait for the results on Monday. When people ask "How are you doing?" the answer has been " I'm in limbo." I'm changing it down a little bit from scanxiety. In the back of my mind I know that one of these times I'm going to get the news that there is progression and I will be into the next stage of treatment. And I"m trying largely successfully to keep those thoughts in the back of my mind and not let them preoccupy me.
Grab your Kleenex boxes. I just listened to Taylor Swift singing about her mom's returning cancer. Worth looking up the lyrics to this one. But here have a listen: https://youtu.be/tMoW5G5LU08
I've had a couple of conversations over the last few weeks about caregivers to cancer survivors. The struggles that they have, the emotional rollercoaster, and how differently people react to cancer. She captures it well. When the singer says that this is too personal to sing in public, you know the song comes from the heart.
I'm now 8 weeks into afatinib treatment. I have found it hard to distinguish between the mental effects of re-staging and the side effects of the new drug.
The re-staging came as a shock. I had thought that I was doing well. I certainly felt good. As I told many of you "If I didn't know I was sick, I wouldn't know I was sick." That's not true any more. Now I know I'm sick. Every little twinge and ache seems to be magnified. There have been minor depression issues at times.
The time between having a scan/biopsy done and getting the results back stretches to infinity. Like a time warp. Writing and getting caught up before the next storm hits helps pass the time.
While the news that there was growth in the tumour in my left lung was unexpected and it took a few days to recover equilibrium, I have been feeling pretty good.
I'm writing this from a maelstrom of emotions.
Most cancer patients describe the anxiety while waiting for scan results as excruciating. And it is common enough that we have a special word for it - scanxiety. Again I am so fortunate that my doctor understands that and has called me with results or as was the case yesterday scheduled an appointment for the day after the scan to give me the results.
So with a lot of time on my hands sometimes my mind takes me dangerous places. Be warned "Here be dragons" as the old maps used to say. There's a line from the song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" that goes:
"Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?"
The Psalmist talks about it too in the tenth Psalm. "God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need You?" But then we come to vs 14 - "But You know it all--"