As I began this week I had the words from a passage in Isaiah 40 running through my head - "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;"
One of the joys of my current first aid work site is the eagles that soar along the Fraser River. Wheeling in the sky, climbing the thermals. Recently I had one soar past the 18 story tank I climb each day so close I thought I could reach out and touch it. Truly majestic birds. Inspiring as I thought about how the Lord cares for eagles.
Then this morning the rest of the words and the tune to the chorus came;
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Teach me Lord,
Teach me Lord to wait.
And I realized that I have been learning to wait. This waiting reminds me of my favorite definition of sailing - Long hours of complete boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.
After the initial diagnosis of breast cancer, I was told that I would need to have the mass in my lung sampled. I was a little surprised to learn that it might take up to two weeks to get the CT scan guided biopsy done. What I hadn't realized was that I wouldn't even get a call for the appointment quickly. After waiting five days, by Tuesday of last week I convinced myself that there must be a mixup. Maybe the appointment had gone to my GP and they assumed that I had it. So I called. The GP's office had a record of the referral but no appointment either. Learning to wait.
The next day I worked in a different location than usual and while the different kind of work and location were a good thing for me to focus on, in the back of my mind I was wondering how to go forward. Lots of people have told me I need to be my own advocate. I decided I would call the navigator nurse Jana on Thursday morning.
As I took the paper with her number out of my pocket at about 9:30am, my phone rang. It was Jana with news. The breast surgeon and the radiologist had looked at the detailed CT scans (the ones that I had seen were preliminary) and had decided on a different course of action. EBB and EBBUS. Endoscopic Bronchial Biopsy and the same thing but guided by ultra sound were going to be scheduled. They had referred me to a Respirologist (Lung Specialist). She encouraged me to call him directly to make an appointment.
After a little fiddling with old phone numbers I was listening to the doctor's phone message. "Press 3 for new appointments" It sounded like what I needed so I pressed 3 and then heard "At the tone please leave a single brief message. Do not make multiple calls. Give us a name, your number, and the reason for your call. We will return your call in the next two to five days." As you can imagine my heart sank. I left my message and prepared to wait another few days for the appointment date and then more for the appointment itself. Learning to wait.
At 2:30pm my phone rang again and as I glanced over I realized that it was the Respirologist's office returning my call. I thanked the assistant for returning my call so quickly. "We have you scheduled for 11:00am tomorrow morning. You will need to fast for six hours prior to the procedure. Not even water." There were a few more questions to answer but when I hung up I knew my prayers had been answered. The doctor made the comment the next day that he was one of two people who could do the procedure and that I had been lucky he was on call. "No" I responded "No luck involved there is Someone looking out for me."
The EBB procedure was uneventful though fasting was interesting. Making sure I didn't inadvertently snack or drink was a challenge. Recovering from having a tube in my throat with the endscopic camera and all the samples that were taken both of lymph nodes and the mass itself has been a bit more than I expected. The mild fever lasted a couple of days and the cough is finally improving.
I have been scheduled for a meeting with the BC Cancer Agency (http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/) on April 30. Dr. Johal (Medical Oncologist) will review my tests to date and do a physical exam. I expect to have treatment options and schedule laid out at this point as the results from the lung biopsy should be back. This is the beginning of the treatment program which could involve both chemotherapy and radiation after the mastectomies. It will also give me a sense of the prognosis which could range from curative to palliative treatment.
Thank you for your continued prayers and the many kind offers of help. I appreciate your prayers for my boys. Conversations are happening as we come to terms with what this means for us. Both Sandy and Evan are planning to come and visit in the near future. Pray for Nathaniel as I have yet to talk to him. I don't know how to reach through his silence.
Please pray for patience as I learn to wait. And again that in all this God's will be done.