OK — so I think I am ready to tell you a secret I have been keeping for 4 days. I am still trying to decide exactly how I feel about it, so sharing the information with others seems…premature? But here it is: I’m “done”.
You may be wondering what that means, exactly. I have to admit, I have no earthly idea. Last week, my oncologist came out while I was waiting for the results of my bloodwork (I had been released from the hospital the day before). He told me all my counts were trending upward. Good news! I inquired about where I should go to get my bloodwork since they were closed 2 days later, when I would normally have it drawn again (something I have been dependent on 3 days a week for the past 5 months).
His response: “You don’t need to come back in. YOU’RE DONE.” I think he said more, like I should see him again in 2 months and a few other things, but all I could hear was, “You’re FREE.” I am not sure he was ready for my reaction. I said, “Um, I am very co-dependent on knowing those blood counts 3 days a week. I don’t want to NOT come back in. Please let me come see you next week! PLEASE!” He said I could come visit any time I want, but no more bloodwork for 2 months.
Independence Day means something new to me this year. When you are “Independent” it means you are not “Dependent” on anything or anyone else. You are free. The actual definition says:
freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. Well, I have come to depend on, like, and NEED all those things as I battled Leukemia. I felt safer knowing I had a Team, sometimes several Teams ( Infectious Disease team, ICU team, Oncology Team, etc.) , working to help me survive and heal. And now, just as abruptly as Leukemia entered my life 5 months ago, I am DONE?
Here’s the dilemma: being FREE is a gift but it’s also SCARY. It requires that I take responsibility for my own choices and actions. No one is “making” me do anything I don’t choose or want to do.
Even though most of us say that’s what we want, there is something easier about just doing what we are told and living with strict boundaries and rules. When you give people choices, when God gives us Freedom, things get messy. There are many religions that try to avoid that messiness, setting up hedges around hedges, just to be on the safe side. I love a quote from the book The Fault in Our Stars. A man was talking about Amsterdam being called the “city of sin”. He said, “It’s not a city of sin. It’s a city of Freedom. And when you give people freedom, most people find sin.” But because God loves us, he gives us the choice to love him and listen to him, or to NOT.
As I celebrate my freedom from the confines of Leukemia, I am grateful, and , quite frankly, scared out of my ever-loving mind. I WANT someone to tell me when I can and can’t go out of my house, or eat fresh fruit and vegetables, or that I can’t clean or cook, or that I have to go back to the hospital. Now I have to figure this all out myself.
OR DO I?
As I am typing this (remember, I STILL have leftover chemo brain, so I am a little slow at processing), God is reminding me that HE is still my TEAM. He gives me FREEDOM, but he is not abandoning me. He is there for “support and aid” should I choose to ask him for it. I don’t have to do life on my own.
He is reminding me that FREEDOM is a gift He has given me-and the only strings attached are those of grace and love and guidance and wisdom. He will never leave me or cut me loose to fend for myself. He will never declare me “DONE”.