My "scanxiety" has morphed a bit as the months go by since JR entered remission. It used to present as searing anxiety and anguish that built and built until breaking point -the moment JR's oncologist delivered the news of his continued remission. And instead of crumbling in pain and sickness with the news of my greatest fears, I still crumbled, from the overwhelming sensation of relief. Funny how completely opposite emotions can deliver the same physical response. But it's different now. I have more confidence in positive results. JR has now been in remission for substantially longer than he was in treatment. He has spent more months of his life out of cancer treatment than in it. Our family has come a very long way in rebuilding our lives, and we do not take it for granted. We are hyper-aware of how blessed we are in family, health, friends and our standard of living. Our family is at a point in time where life is bringing us unparalleled joy. A strong and healthy marriage, two children we love more than anything, extended family in good health, a secure and exciting job for Brandon, a new and seemingly ideal job for me, strengthening local friendships, and a home to call our own. Wow. 2015 was a good one. So why in the world do I feel so unsettled? I believe it's because I am struggling with the understanding that every one of those things I have just listed can be taken away from me. And the pain and devastation I endured when JR was diagnosed and in treatment is still incredibly fresh. And there is an actual date and time, in about 48 hrs from now, where I could experience that again. Approaching scans trigger unwanted memories, sadness, and anxiety over results as well as JR's future in general. It's a reminder of how fragile life is, and how everything can change in a moment.
As my long-term readers know, writing is therapeutic for me. It helps me to get my thoughts out, and analyze my feelings more deeply. Writing helps me to better understand what I am experiencing emotionally, and also leads me to draw new conclusions. So as I write this today, I am thinking that my feelings are completely human. In fact, I believe we all struggle with the fear of losing what we value most. As adults, we've been on this broken planet long enough to know how fleeting everything really is. Interestingly, it is the desire to protect what we value most that leads to greatest suffering.
And so I am reminded that I can't do this alone. None of it. Every blessing I have is a gift from God. A present-moment gift from God, so I ought to enjoy it, now. And drop my fears about losing what I've got. Another way I've heard it- from my yoga teachers- is, "Be here now". Be present in this very moment. Soak up your joy. Relax into your mundane. Discover you are sustained through your pain. I've been through an excruciating journey and came out a devoted follower of Christ. How amazing is that?
The Bible teaches that we are not to focus on worldly things, all of which are temporary and fleeting. But rather to focus on the sustaining light of Christ. It is Hope in Him that brings light to all darkness.