One week from today, Ryan will undergo PET, CT, and MRI scans in Zion. We will get the results in approximately 184 hours (noon CST on Tuesday, Nov. 8th). My stomach is returning to that familiar flip-flop state, where I go between taking comfort in the fact that Ryan has seemed absolutely normal and healthy lately, and fearing the worst that could happen. It's a weird place to be, not knowing what the near future looks like. I don't like it. I don't even know for sure how many days to plan to be gone from school. I'm planning for three, and hoping for only two. If anything significant happens with Ryan's progress, then it's entirely possible that we might stay some extra time. (Gosh, I hope not...)
I had the thought the other day on the way to work, "This really is just the beginning." I know that things are going to get worse before they get better. It just isn't feasible that we are going to continue to stay in this lulling, comfortable rhythm of Ryan having treatment, a short recovery time, and then two weeks of feeling completely normal. Even if miracles come about, there would be serious, debilitating, life-altering surgery before Ryan is healed. If the worst happens, then things would get very, very ugly. I have had some people share with me what "the end" is like, and it makes me want to throw up and then punch a wall when I hear those stories. I love my husband so intensely, and sometimes I go crazy with worry and sadness even when he has a bad reaction to chemo. I can't imagine what it is like to go through what some people have already been through. I just can't enter into that.
But I was thinking about these things, and how there are tough times ahead, and I felt overwhelming peace in spite of these scary thoughts. I contemplated how I have been able to move from a shaking, sobbing mess in April as I sat at a friend's kitchen island and declared that I would not be able to handle getting more bad news if Mayo didn't say things that we wanted to hear, to someone that by October can think about the toughest of times while being accompanied by a peace that transcends understanding. And it struck me.
It's as simple as making a choice that I made.
"I am going to do this well. I am going to trust."
And then you have to stick to that choice. Sometimes you have to remind yourself of your choice 10 times a day.
I am a very emotional person by nature. I love big, I can cry at the drop of a hat, and I have a seriously quick temper. But somewhere along the way, emotions have been (somewhat) overruled by logic. I learned an equation this summer, thanks to Beth Moore and beautiful, soul-penetrating Scripture.
If "x" happens, then God will still be good. Solve for x. Answers will vary.
(That is the most helpful equation I've ever learned. I never really had much use for math class.)
I knew last week as I was driving to work, that even if God takes us through the valley of the shadow of death, His goodness will not change. His provision will not falter. He will give us grace for THAT moment. And I just knew very, very deep in my heart that no matter what happens, I was going to be okay. Leaning on Him is what I will choose to do at that time, and therefore I. Will. Be. Okay. This is a wonderful feeling, and unlike anything I have experienced in my life.
Lest I come across as some sort of superhero again, this is not by anything of Kendra that this assurance has come. This is a result of the heart surgery God has performed on me for the last seven months, prayer from thousands of people, and a strength and resolve that is completely not characteristic of me - that's how I know that it's not my own power. Additionally, this is not something that I'm even close to perfect at. I still have my moments of weakness where my focus wanes and I panic. But in my moments of greatest clarity, I know the truth. And it sets me free.
Free from worry.
Free from anxiety.
Free from reliance on Kendra (who is decidedly unreliable).
Your will be done, Lord. And help me be okay with that.