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Archive for December 28th, 2009

We are dealing with monsters these days.  My three year old insists there are monsters around every corner, in the dark bathroom, behind closet doors and under every bed.   I spend a good portion of each day explaining that there is no such thing as monsters, all the while fighting the one who lives under my own bed.

My monster, the “What If Monster” has a way of keeping me awake at night worrying about what might be.  What if Blaise isn’t able to print out his project at school?  What is Meg is doesn’t make the team?  What if the car breaks down?  The “What If Monster” is annoying, but I have learned to deal with him.  I have learned to put my trust in God and go peacefully to sleep.  But his latest trick has put my faith to the test.

The “What If Monster” has learned to morph into the “Its Inevitable Monster.”  This morphing took place simultaneously with my receiving a questionable mammogram result.  The doctor called me a week before Christmas to tell me that there was a mass in my left breast.  My mother is a breast cancer survivor, so I am well aware that a questionable result on a mammogram is not unusual.  I also know that more often than not, a follow up mammogram will come back clean.  But knowing this and believing it are two separate things.  A diagnostic mammogram was scheduled for the Christmas Eve.  I would have to wait a week to find out what the mass was.

The night I received this news I expected the “What If Monster” to pop out from under the bed, keeping me from my much needed sleep.  I expected to toss and turn worrying about the “what if’s” of the situation.  That didn’t happen.  Surprisingly, I fell right to sleep.  Lulled into a false sense of security I slept like a baby for almost two hours only to be woken by the “Its Inevitable Monster.”  This monster didn’t give me what ifs.  Instead, I had already received the bad news.  I had cancer.  I was going to have to tell my children, my husband, my mom and sister.  I was going to have to settle things in my life and prepare to be bald and sick.  Each night for the week leading up to my diagnostic mammogram, I was woken by this monster who made me live with the bad news.  Each night I would find myself holding in the tears and forgetting to turn to God for comfort.

As though this trick was not enough, the morning of Christmas Eve, the “Its Inevitable Monster” woke with me, climbed out of bed and followed me around for the three hours leading up to my appointment.  I went in for the test and the monster grabbed hold of my throat.  The test took only minutes and I found myself sitting in the lobby waiting for the promised results.  All the while the monster sat beside me, whispering the inevitable in my ear. The fear grew and I suddenly, too late, I realized my mistake.  In fighting the monster for the past week, I had given him the power.  Instead of turning to God for comfort, I had taken on the fight myself and I had lost.  I sat there in the lobby and watched the monster lose his grip.  I felt him becoming weaker and realized that I wasn’t winning, God was.  At about the same time, the mammogram technician came in and gave me the all clear.  The mammogram was clean.

Today I sit here knowing the “What If Monster” will come back and hoping that the lessons learned this time will come to me next time.  That I will remember it is not my fight to fight.  That if I give it all over to God there will be comfort.  If I give it all over to God in the beginning the morphing of my monster will not happen.  If I do that, giving it all over to God, I will remember what I tell my three year old.  There is no such thing as monsters.

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