I like to be right. We call it an Ironside thing because most of my family is the same way. Ask how to spell a word, and we’re eager to start spelling. Ask a grammar question and we’ve got it covered. We’re rather competitive and hate to be proven wrong. Perhaps that’s why I took the news so well when I found out I was right when I thought cancer was back in my right lung.
Seriously, though, I was glad to have the news because it means we can treat this small problem before it becomes a big one. With my history, I’m a big believer in early detection. Dr. Patel said it’s very good that there’s no cancer showing up anywhere else and that we’ve caught this tumor so early. Although it has grown since the last scan, the tumor is still quite small, which will make radiating it fairly easy. And with the targeted radiation, it’s remarkable how easy and symptom-free the entire process is. Basically, I go lie in a body mold for about 45 minutes for five sessions over a two-week period. When I had radiation in August, the only hard part was the pain I had in my shoulders from holding my arms up in the same position so long.
In other (but related) health news, I have frozen shoulder on the right side. It’s a common problem for people with lung issues, and it’s basically what it sounds like. Your shoulder will barely move. I had the same problem in my left shoulder after my lung surgery. You may recall the tales of woe regarding the excruciating physical therapy. If so, you will not be surprised that I put off seeking treatment for as long as possible. I really think the impetus behind my going forward with treatment was the thought that I might need radiation. I figured it would be impossible to get radiation if I couldn’t raise my arm enough to give them a clear shot to my lung. Today, I learned that my thinking was right. (Yes, that’s another right in case you’re keeping score.) The technician said that they could just barely make it work with my range of motion. That range of motion is only possible because of all the therapy I’ve had so far. And in other good news, the new physical therapists – Tennessee Sports Medicine – are much better than my old ones and aren’t hurting me near as much.
Finally, I’ll close with a story about something that filled me to overflowing with joy yesterday. When I had a scan in March, I felt strongly led by the Holy Spirit to bring one of my books with me to the hospital. I assumed I’d meet someone facing a cancer diagnosis who would need it. While I was having my scan, I felt the Spirit telling me to give my book to the technician who was doing the scan. So I did. I gave her the book and explained that I give books to people when I have the nudge to do so. “I don’t know why you’re supposed to have this book, but you are,” I said. She gave me a big hug and thanked me. I figured that was the end of the story.
Yesterday, while I was waiting for my scan, the tech came running up to me and embraced me with a huge hug. “You have no idea what your book meant to me,” she said. “I was going through some issues with my son and I wasn’t trusting God with them. Your book changed all that and gave me the most amazing peace.” She then went on to tell everyone in the waiting room that if they wanted to read the best book ever they needed to read my book. A lady in the room asked about the title of the book. When I told her My Anchor Holds, she started crying. She said they played that at her son’s funeral a few months ago and that her husband had died from cancer a few years ago. I mailed her a book today.
I believe God was reminding me that there’s a purpose to all my suffering and that as long as I follow His lead, there is much more good that can come out of this ugly disease.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, emphasis added.)