Treatments over. What now?
I tell you not to worry about your life . . . Can worry make you live longer? (Matthew 6:25, 27)
My year of treatment was behind me. For the next two years I had to have a blood tests every three months and a thorough examination by my oncologist. For the following three years the tests would be six-monthly, then once a year. I also faced an annual mammogram, chest Xray and ultrasounds of my breasts and abdomen as well as a bone scan. For the next five years at least, I would continue to take Tamoxifen, an anti-oestrogenic medication. I still had my A-port that was inserted at the beginning of treatment to facilitate chemotherapy.
“We’ll keep it for the moment,” said my oncologist. “We may well need it again.”
There was certainly no way I could forget my cancer battle. My heart sank at the gloomy prognosis that hung over my life. Would I ever be free of this diagnosis? I knew I would not. Once a cancer survivor, always a cancer survivor. I could never wipe the disease from my history.
I resolved to leave the future up to God. Initially I had to go for blood tests and visit my oncologist every three months. After two years, this became every six months, for another two years. Finally, I had to have the tests once a year. In addition to the blood tests, I had to have an annual mammogram for the rest of my life, and for the first eight years I had to have an abdominal sonar and chest Xrays as well. I decided I would do all I could within reason to avoid a repetition of cancer, and I would certainly pray that it would never return. But I was not going to let the threat of a recurrence ruin my life. Somehow, I had to learn to live in the present. It wasn't easy.
As I write this devotion, (2009) cancer is nearly twelve years behind me. I still try to live life sensibly and help my immune system to keep me healthy. And of course, I still have an annual check-up that includes fewer tests than before. But cancer doesn't rule my life. Don't let it rule yours either!
Loving Father, thank you for all you’ve done to help me through this horrible time. I admit that I’m often afraid of the future. I’m so scared that it will come back. I don’t think I could face having to go through this again. Yet right now I have life. I will never forget my history with cancer, nor should I. But please help me to live the present to the full, and leave my future in your hands. Amen.