Scanxiety. It’s the anxiety one feels when they know they have an upcoming test or scan, or even worse in my opinion, waiting for results. Waiting for test results is the most excruciating, claustrophobic, helpless feeling. You know there are dozens of possible outcomes but can’t even come close to planning for any one of them.
On Friday, I had a spine MRI and a PET scan. I’m anxious to know if it’s cancer that has spread from my hip bone into my spine that’s causing all of my back pain. The MRI will tell us this. Then there’s that pesky PET scan. The last one I had confirmed that the cancer had spread to my hip bone and into the lymph nodes in my lungs beyond the brain tumor that we already knew about. Hmm. What fun surprises might await me this time??
And before you tell me “not to think like that” just know that it’s impossible. I am sure of my salvation, all of my strength comes from God, and my faith is unshaken so far in this journey, but I am also human. And, like everyone else, I feel anxious about things from time to time. For me, the hardest part by far is the not knowing. I feel so much better knowing, even though it’s often not good news.
But I’m not the only one who’s anxious about something, am I? I met two amazing women in this last trip to Philly for my tests. One was a woman giving me comfort as I waited for my MRI. She has stage 4 brain cancer, glioblastoma, and has had it for four years. She looked amazing and healthy and gave me a lot of encouragement. She even emailed me a daily devotional that helps her. Who knows, maybe we will stay in touch! And then I met a beautiful young woman when I went in for my PET scan. She was in the beginning stages of all this. I sat down and she looked at me as soon as I did and said, “Can I give you a hug?” And I’m like “sure!” She then started bawling and told me that she was just diagnosed with lymphoma and they are doing a PET scan to see how far it’s spread so they can stage her and create a treatment plan. I felt so bad for her. In that moment I just wanted to take it from her. I wanted to tell her everything would be ok. But all I managed to get out before they called her back was that the procedure itself wasn’t too bad. I got her name and told her I would pray for her.
The worst part of a PET scan is the prep. You gotta get the radioactive stuff injected and then drink this barium stuff and then sit there, as still as possible for about an hour. I tend to try to sleep. So as I’m dozing off, a lady from the front desk comes in and goes, “Did you give some girl a hug?” I, obviously confused, said I had and she handed me this:
That made my day and made me feel like the day wasn’t a total waste. I was ready before this day even started to completely wash my hands of the whole day (minus the part where I met my new niece!!). I wanted to just get through, just make it home and pretend like none of it never happened, but that wasn’t God’s plan. I have met many amazing people through this journey, but very few that I get to keep in contact with. That’s special. And really exciting.
We are all most likely anxious about something, right? Maybe it’s a job, our marriage, lonliness, our financial situation, infertility, whatever. It can often make us feel restless and unfocused. I often find myself trying to distract myself just so I don’t have to mentally deal with all of these “heavy” things all the time. But God reminded me on Friday that we are to carry each other’s burdens. If I had kept to myself, like my plan was, I wouldn’t have met these women that although our time together was brief, taught me a lot. It’s so, so hard sometimes, but I’d encourage all of us, no matter what we may be anxious about, to keep our minds focused on God’s purpose in it and to keep our hearts open to the struggles and stories of others. God wants to use us, and our stories, to affect others for His glory. It all makes perfect sense when we allow it to play out how He would want it. Just reading a Bible verse telling us not to be anxious probably won’t help all that much, but reading it, believing it, and being obedient even when it’s hard or the path is unclear can help build our character and perseverance in these times of high anxiety.
Here is a song that I’ve listened to many, many times before, but as I listened to it yesterday in the light of being in a place of waiting, I just began to cry. And cry. And cry. I’m learning that coming to these places of brokenness before the Lord are so unbelievably healing for my soul. The words are so powerful. Of course I’m going to urge you to listen, not because it’s a great song (although it is), but because I know the peaceful place it helped get me to, and I would love for you to feel that same freedom from these heavy burdens, no matter what you’re carrying.
And, of course, it’s Hillsong lol
I will stay should the world by me fold
Lift up my hands as the darkness falls
I will wait and hold fast to Your word
Heart on Your heart and my eyes on Yours ❤