The Day Of My Scans
The word “scan” has the power to strike fear within the heart of any cancer patient. It even has it’s own word, “Scanxiety”. Each of us has that one word or maybe many words that cause our own fear to rise. My scans from this year elicited an interesting response. Here is an excerpt from the journal. “Today is May 8th and I have my annual cancer scans. I’m not a scan fan, but who is? The worst part for me is the thought of having a radioactive and toxic material shot into my veins. Lying on the had table in that cold room only intensifies the effect of the warm and tingly poison as it slinks from my veins to all parts of my body. One strange thing about this morning was that I woke up with an unexplainable sense of peace. I thought that maybe this peace was a sign of clear scans to come. I smiled, thinking how nice it was to have the assurance that the cancer’s gone before I even have to get reacquainted with the machines.”
“Scanxiety” is real. Bruce Feiler explains it perfectly, “All patients have complicated relationships with their scans…We first learn we have cancer from scans, then learn from them if that cancer has shrunk or disappeared, then learn if it has come back. Scans are like revolving doors, emotional roulette wheels that spin us around for a few days and spit us out the other side. Land on red, we’re in for another trip to Cancerland; land on black, we have a few more months of freedom.” – EXCERPT FROM SCANXIETY BY BRUCE FEILER. The creator of the universe has provided a tool to help through these fearful and disconcerting times. It’s taken me a couple of years to get its true effect. Hopefully, you can learn from my lesson and not have to suffer as long.
Not Designed As A Sign
From the time we prepare for the scan appointments to the time we get the results, we search for some sign or assurance that cancer hasn’t returned. Initially, I thought that the unexplained peace was that assurance. Then I remembered that the purpose of this peace is to guard our hearts and minds at peace as we go through life. Maybe the presence of this peace was the opposite. It could be a sign that cancer had returned, and God was preparing me for a storm. God didn’t design his peace as a sign, but a tool. It’s a tool to help us walk through furious storms with our hearts and minds stable and at rest.
And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].Philippians 4:7
The Tightrope And The Alter
The scan days followed by the wait for results is fatiguing. It’s a tightrope of faith that we walk as Christians between what we see and the promises. Over the years, my balance on this highwire has become steady, but I’m still walking on a highwire and it’s sobering. I have to stop the compulsive parts of me from planning ahead for the worst. I have to force myself to take these days as they come and enjoy the taste of each moment, saving my planning impulse for another task. I may sleep a little longer these days as I wait. I might be a little more socially withdrawn, and this extrovert has become strangely okay with this. It’s morphed into a holy time with God, where I once again put my uncertain life on his alter. “Scanxiety” now moves across my outer consciousness like a ship sailing far off in the distance from my sandy shore. Will the scanxiety ship get farther away with each year? I’m counting on it.
What Peace Can Do
Cancer forced me to stop and take one day at a time. Each year these scans remind me of this necessity that I so quickly forget. We’ve become too busy, we worry about so many things, and miss the magic in our seemingly inconsequential days. If we can allow the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds, these trying times can reinfuse our days with the strength of gratefulness. In this state of peace and assurance our minds soak up the magic of the warmth of the sun on our skin, our hearts are blessed with the presence of family, our fruit is sweeter, and our life is more precious. This is what the peace of God can do.
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.Leo Buscaglia
Peace Is Possible
Sometimes things work the way we want them to, and other times we find ourselves embroiled in tragedy. Worrying about disaster won’t change its outcome, but it is possible to have an inner peace that passes understanding. We don’t always wake up with peace as I did on 5/08/2020, but God clears a path to it in Philippians 4:6. We pray and even plea to him, and we apply thanksgiving. After years of doing this for every scan, it has become easier each year. Maybe that’s why I woke up with the peace, or because my loves were praying for me, or perhaps it was both. The more we fight to stay in peace the less of a fight it becomes.
Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.Phillppians 4:6
I have received my results, and they are clear and I’m deemed N.E.D. (No evidence of disease) for another year! Through the years these scans have become a gift to me, a reminder of Philippians 4:6-7. When I pray and ask others to pray, when I thank him for answering previous prayers, his peace stands guard over my heart and my mind. He did this for me and he can do it for you too. Let’s pray, “God, thank you for making a clear path for us in Philippians 4:6-7 to have a guard of peace and joy around our hearts. My heart feels weak and stressed. I lift this up to you, I thank you that you have answered my prayers before and can do it again. I thank you for your peace that can and will keep and guard my heart and my mind. Thank you that in our weakness, our helplessness is where we find our strength. Thank you that we have an eternal promise and hope with you. Amen”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13
May God’s hope, peace, and joy be with you as you trust him this week.
Love and Blessings,