Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some Thoughts to Clear My Head

I like to think of myself as an "early adopter." This means that I am in the 13% of the population who catches onto things soon after the 2 1/2% of the population, the "innovators", make it appealing. I like others to test the water first, then I step in soon after I see they don't immediately retract. Not often do I fall into the 68% of the population, the majority, who follows suit because "everyone else is doing it." Sometimes I do find myself in the 16% or so of the population deemed the "laggards", who wait around to catch onto something until I really cannot think of a reason not to. This puts me either on the front end or the tail end of things most of the time and I don't know what that means - or if it reflects on me a certain way - it's just an analysis of how I operate. All this to say, when it comes to blogs, I most certainly fall into the laggard category.

I have never been against blogs, like I was against myspace or facebook before I caved (I was also a "laggard" in that instance). I guess the idea of a personal blog just scared me, because I feel that up until now, my rantings like this have been confined to my journal and visited by my eyes only. While it is a release to write things out in my journal, there is something even more freeing about posting my thoughts, knowing others will read them. There is something beautiful about exposition, transparency.

The thing that spurred the sudden birth of this blog of mine, was a phone call I received earlier this evening. My mom called to tell me that my grandma's cancer has spread from her kidney to her bones. My grandma has been fighting cancer on and off for the majority of her life. Her most recent diagnosis was a tumor in her kidney. The doctors said they could remove her kidney, but that would lower her kidney function from its current 50% to about half of that. (I think around 30%.) She had a CT scan, to determine how far the cancer had spread in her kidney. That's when they discovered that it had spread to her bones. Even after my family's extensive experience with many different forms of cancer, it still feels foreign to talk about. I don't know much about bone cancer, or how it's treated, but I know it involves chemotherapy. In my mind, bone cancer sounds much worse than any kind of organ cancer. Bones can't be removed, and that scares me. I don't want my grandma to have to go through chemotherapy, because she has survived seven different forms of cancer already! She has been through chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries multiple times. Isn't seven times enough? Does there really have to be an eighth?

When my mom relayed this news to me over the phone tonight, my reaction surprised me. I cried. I cried hard. My mom didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to say. Sometimes there is nothing to say. Then my mom said "I'll let you talk to grandma" and before I could respond, I heard my precious Grandma Ruth's voice on the other end of the phone, reassuring me that everything would be OK. "God has given me peace, Karen, and it's not time to give up hope," she said.

The thing that hurts the most for me tonight is that I could not be there with my family as they were dealing with this news. I could not give my grandma a hug and spend time in her company as she faces the looming prospect of a major surgery followed by dialysis and chemotherapy. I could not help fix dinner and do the dishes, do the practical things I longed to do to help in any way I could. All I could do is pray, so that is what I did.

In my moments of prayer, two verses came to my mind. One from Exodus 14:14 which I read today. It says "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still." Also the verse that says "Be still, and know that I am God." When we have no human control over a situation, how comforting it is to know that we have a God who is fighting for us.