Darn It, Google!

This weekend I did something that I have mostly managed to avoid since my cancer battle began: I did some online research about my disease.  I learned through my mom’s journey that reading online articles, testimonies and especially statistics is often more scary and harmful than helpful.  Frankly, when you’re diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer, google is not your friend.  

I really don’t think that this is the equivalent of me sticking my head in the sand.  I have spoken with numerous medical professionals throughout this process, and Ryan and I have prayerfully and thoughtfully made our decisions.  I have read EVERYTHING that the doctors give me to read, and I often read medical journals.  But I know that the stuff I’ll find online will paint a pretty scary picture of my future.

Which is why I’m struggling with fear right now.  I decided to dive into online research, because I really wanted to gather more information about the liver surgery options I was given.  It is a big decision, and my surgeon encouraged me to research it thoroughly before we move forward.  While I found lots of great information about the two possible surgeries, I couldn’t avoid the scary statistics.  I couldn’t avoid the how likely it is that my cancer will come back.  I couldn’t avoid how likely it is that this will eventually get me before I get the privilege of being called an old woman.  I couldn’t avoid getting a little freaked out by the fact that the odds are not in my favor (sorry about that...I just binged and read all three Hunger Games books last week, so that phrase keeps ringing in my head).  I've always known all of this bad news, but I've chosen to not focus on it.  Seeing it in print made it all much harder to ignore these last few days. 

I’ve been reminding myself of all that God has done on my journey so far.  I’ve had two of my doctors tell me that they are trying to cure me and not just maintain my life for awhile.  I’ve had a CLEAN petscan (praise the Lord!)  And my body continues to respond perfectly to all of my treatments.  My oncologist told me stage IV often does mean incurable, but that she believes I’m curable.  During my researching, I was stunned to find out that my liver is the most manageable place the cancer could have matastacized.  If it had gone to the two more common spots, my bones or my lungs, there wouldn’t have been much earthly hope for me.  God has been performing miracles all along the way.

And so, I’m writing this to fight my fears of leaving my family too soon.  I’m writing this not having conquered my dark thoughts and scary visions of the future, but as a tool to ward them off.  How can I battle my fears?  By reminding myself what I know to be true.  I know that I serve a God who does not work inside the boundaries of likelihoods, odds or statistics.  I know that God actually often chooses situations that seem impossible to show us that his victories do not conform to the workings of this world.  The Old Testament is full of stories in which God’s people were victorious against crazy odds.  The New Testament is full of Jesus‘ miracles that defied human explanation.  If God wants you to wake up from the dead, you do.  If God wants to feed 5000 with a small handful of food, he will.  If God wants to bring Jesus back from the dead, it happens.  If God’s plan is to have me be healed for the rest of my life, I’ll be healed no matter what the stats are.  And if that’s not his plan for me, then I will not tackle that scenario today.  Today I will just hold onto Psalms 139:16: “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  

God knows my future, and he will be there every step of the way.  I think all I can do right now is pray for him to protect me from fears about the future, so that I can better enjoy the gift of this moment.   

And me and google are going to part ways once again:-)