Tuesday, May 14, 2013

when tumors reveal so much more than cancer.

3 years. 
its been 3 years.

 today i was at the cancer center. it's my three month check up. i drive up. i hand my keys to the valet. valet,  i wish i knew your name, but i just want to thank you. thank you for always smiling, for giving out hugs, for asking how everyone is doing and really wanting to know. you valet, are a gift from God. 

i get out of the car  and enter the building.  i walk past the infusion room. i head right to the elevator and i hit the button for floor number 3. the elevator doors open, i throw my coffee in the garbage knowing someone is going through chemo and that coffee smell would make them sick. so i toss it. i open the office door and step into the waiting room. when it hits me.

i step up to the front desk and give my name to the lady behind the desk and she tells me to take a seat. i get out my phone and i check instagram. i send a friend a text and check pinterest. then i check instagram again. then i notice a little bucket of used toys under the seat in the corner for that confused little child who may have to experience some of this with their mom. that was at a time, my graycen. then my eyes wander over to the woman in the seat next to me whose friend is holding her hand and she says to her quietly, "you're shaking like a leaf, calm down." Then there's the grown daughter filling out the paper work while her mother stares blankly at the carpet, unresponsive. and then my lower lip starts to tremble as i see the man that walks through the door holding up his wife and says to the woman behind the counter, "I have an appointment." And the woman said, "you do?" and he said, "well no, my wife has the appointment." and everyone begins to laugh and it breaks up this terrible nervous stuffy air we are trying to breathe in. Then there's the foot tapping. Oh, the foot tapping. tap tap tap.

And i want to say to the man who is waiting with his wife, what i want to say to you sir, is that i know. I know what you meant when you said you had the appointment. i know you feel this diagnosis belongs just as much to you as it does your wife. i see the lines on your faces, the years and memories you all share. and i see you here, now, in front of me, with cancer. i want to tell you that i know you feel one with your wife and she feels the same about you, the way her tired body is slumping into yours. and my God, if you could just give her some of your strength, or a limb, you would. you would. and now i feel it. my throat is starting to lump up, and i hear the grown daughter crying to her mother. I see you, I feel you. I see those toys too and I once felt the pain of this disease and wondered how i would go home and cook dinner and tuck little bodies into bed. Daughter, I know your pain. And tonight when everything is quiet and another day has ended, I'll remember you. I will remember you, because I  am  you. 

and i am right where i am, the place i thought i never would get to when i was at the beginning. and if there was a finish line to all of this, 3 years has always stuck out to me as being it. and today i crossed it. i crossed that line. and i can see all your faces, the faces that filled that waiting room today, the ones that are just arriving to the race. the ones getting ready to start, the ones that are ready to quit. and i cry as i write this, because what i want to tell you is to keep going. give it everything you've got. it's totally worth it and more. and along the way, please know that i share in your grief. that me and my family, we've been there and will carry some of this burden with you. because the miracle of cancer is that the tumors reveal so much more than just cancer. and if you can stay aware of that, stay alert and ready to learn, you will see that life is beautiful and God makes all things new. all t h i n g s. 

even you.

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