Saturday, February 11, 2017

I'm Sure It's Nothing

I felt the tiny lump late at night when I was reading in bed. I wasn't alarmed, thinking it was so small that I was probably imagining it. I was so unworried that I didn't remember it until the next afternoon when I was preparing to shower. I had to lay on the bed to find it again.

After my shower, I called the doctor but the office was closed. I told my sister about the tiny lump that night, repeatedly saying, "I'm sure it's nothing." I chuckled when she responded, "Are you trying to convince me or you?!"

First thing the next morning, I called the doctor and made an appointment for two days later. Two days isn't very long, right?. And, truly, I wasn't feeling any fear or anxiety about this. The only reason I told three of my close friends is because we had a lunch date that had to be cancelled because the doctor appointment was at the same time. I didn't tell them because I was worried; I told them because I'm practical.

Later that day, I told Dan about it during a phone call. Again, no fear. No anxiety. That night, I asked him to feel the lump. Every time I've gone to feel the lump, I keep expecting it be gone as if it were a fluke and I made a silly mistake.

With Dan's words, "I feel it," the small dyke holding back Anxiety was breached and the sludge of fear began trickling out.

Today is the between day. It's the day between the "I feel it" confirmation from Dan and the day before my doctor's visit. I hope tomorrow is a "Nope, you're good. There's nothing to worry about" kind of day.

But what if it isn't?

What If is a hope stealer, a thief of monumental proportions (mostly because I give him monumental access). What If is the red carpet invitation for doubts to parade into my mind and stick out their tongue at my faith.

I combat What If by silently repeating, "I'm sure it's nothing" inside my head. It's on repeat: "I'm sure it's nothing. I'm sure it's nothing. I'm sure it's nothing. I'm sure it's nothing." Until What If's quiet whisper pricks my ears:

"What if it's something?"

Am I in the best health of my life, able to fight at a moment's notice? No. You don't get a training calendar to prepare for cancers. When a diagnosis comes, you realize your training calendar was all the non-training days leading up to That Day... and no one told you That Day would become race day. So am I ready, if it is something? No. Hell, no.

And could it really be something? What are the chances? Aaah, that's when What If scores a major victory! My brother and father both died from cancer. My mom's death was a result of multiple complications, and doctors suspected breast and/or ovarian cancer. Her mom had breast cancer, too.

Can you hear the high-pitched whine in my head at this very moment? What If has turned up the heat and Anxiety is now squealing like a stove top tea kettle. Eeeeeeeeeeeee...

I forcefully (metaphorically) place my hands on Anxiety's shoulders and shake her back to reality. While she stands there stunned, I punch What If in the face and shout for him to get the hell out of my head.

I remember one of my favorite lines from the movie Big Fish, when the main character says, "That's not how I die."

I deliberately and intentionally choose to turn my face from the wreckage Anxiety created when she paid so much attention to What If (poor, sweet Anxiety - bless her heart!), and fix my gaze on the One - the only One - who has beaten the tar out of What If and lived to tell about it.

The One stands in defense of me, in defiance of loss and death and disease and endings. This One is the one who makes all things new, and turns endings into beginnings. He's the One who tells me I have hope instead of despair, and I'm not crazy to look for light in the darkness.

The One takes What If and transforms him into EVEN IF. The One is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Jesus Christ.

Only He can take the despair What If is so good at making and turn it into a faith-building, hope-festering, strength-infusing moment of delight and joy. What If loses his power, his might, and his manipulating bullying in the face of Jesus's EVEN IF.

Nothing can withstand EVEN IF.

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But EVEN IF HE DOES NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (Daniel 3:17-18 NASB, emphasis mine)

FOLLOW UP: I wrote this post on Thursday, February 9. I saw the doctor on Friday, February 10. I praise God for a calm, kind, and compassionate doctor who gave me good news that the lump seems to be a normal nodule and there are no worries.

So should I publish this post, if the news turned out to be a non-issue and there wasn't even a blip on the radar? Yes, I'm publishing it anyway. Maybe there's someone else being attacked by What If, and this post will remind you to focus on the EVEN IF God who sees you and never leaves you.

I'm also publishing this in case there comes a day when I need to revisit what I wrote because I've allowed fear to get a leg up on my faith. EVEN IF no one else gets anything out of this post, that's okay. It isn't for you anyway - it's for me and my family, and it's a record of how we've spent the days of our lives pursuing hope instead of fear.

1 comment:

Brina said...

I had almost the exact thing happen at my first mammogram. They found a lump and I had to have several ultrasounds for the next year before I was released and told that it's not growing so it's probably a lymph node. So scary! I love the quote from Big Fish.


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