The Conversation : ScaredPosted: November 13, 2012
Time had passed since the appointment that had left me feeling numb. Since health was dangled in front of me, just out of reach, but close enough to see. It had been months of agony as they took me off my medication and my body learnt how to function on it’s own again. At times the pain was so excruciating as my body failed to re-adjust and re-balance, I would lie in bed, morphine at my side, sick bowl ready for the wave of nausea that came with each movement inducing pain. Now it was almost all over, in a week all I would have left helping my body tick over would be pain killers. Apart from the misery that would ensure upon each dose lowering, I felt so much better. I felt stable. As I drove to the hospital that day I remembered back to 4 months previously when they had told me it was time to slowly stop me medications. It could go one of two ways. I felt confident I knew which way it had gone.
I sat in the consulting room, nurse beside me, specialist opposite, I sat playing with the bangle round my wrist waiting, anxious for him to speak. He had spent time discussing my well-being, examining me, reviewing test results, he said those words “You’re in full clinical remission, your scans show healing beyond that which I ever thought possible, it’s quite extraordinary. In fact you’ve healed so well I want to see how you go without any drugs, medication free” I was stunned. I knew how it had been possible, yet I was too stunned to speak out the praise God deserved. We discussed the pros and cons, and decided medication free was the way forward. We talked about my pain management. My pain levels were low I wanted to see how I would do without painkillers. He agreed to let me try. For over a year I had been on a constant supply on morphine delivered straight into my blood stream 24/7, topped up by extra doses of liquid morphine when needed. Stopping would not be easy. But not living in a hazy world would be worth it. We worked on a plan.
He summarized and finished with those words “Well, as you’re in full remission, with no medication, I’ll see you for a routine check-up in 6 months time.” That’s when I swallowed hard. I walked out of that little room, past the lady at the desk, and just made it through the double doors at the end of the corridor before I burst into tears. No they weren’t tears of joy. I went to the bathroom and sat in a cubicle and cried uncontrollably. I got in the elevator, still sobbing my heart out, such a mess was I that a stranger put their arm round me and told me to keep holding on. Waiting in line to pay for my carparking, tears streaming down my face, three people let me skip in front of them, they obviously though I needed to get out of there. I sat in my car and tried to pull myself together, enough, at least, to be able to see to drive home. The river flooding over my face, slowed down to a stream, and I took a deep breath and started home.
I only got half-way. I had to pull over. I parked up in a lay-by and wept once more. I knew these were not tears of joy or reief, but neither did I understand what they were of. I had received good news, why then did my heart feel heavy? I did the only thing I know how to when my heart aches and I have no understanding. I started talking to my saviour, calling on the name of Jesus. Asking my maker, the one who knows me better than I know myself, why? why the tears? why the heavy heart? As I spoke, I began to pour out my heart, and as I poured the tangle of confusion seemed to loosen, until the words came out. “I’m scared God.”
Scared? Scared of what? I hear you ask. I have faced many scary things in my life, surely this did not match up to those, surely this could not be put on that list. But it can be, it did match up to those. In truth I was terrified. Suddenly I was on my own. From weekly appointments to 6 months. No support of doctors, or nurses, or health care workers, just me. On my own. To navigate these illnesses. Alone. That was not all. In a moment my life had switched from being consumed and revolving around this thing called “disease” to having nothing to revolve around.
My fear was of something greater too. I had just been given a massive portion of hope, but what if it was wrongly handed out? What if it got crushed…. again. I felt I had something precious in my hands, and I was scared to break it. Scared to do anything with it incase it got damaged, or lost, or stolen. I was like the man who was given a talent and buried it. I wanted to bury my hope, at least then I’d still have it in tact, even if I gained nothing more.
I had to begin to re-build my life, and that was scary.