Yesterday was my birthday. I brilliantly scheduled a doctor appointment for first thing in the morning. In hindsight, It might have been better to do this on a less monumental day. First of all, as I was walking in, it dawned on me that I they were going to check my weight. Nothing like a post-chemo body hoppin’ on a scale. Let’s just say I haven’t weighed this much since I had babies. Secondly, I set myself up for forced-reflection. Since I hadn’t seen this particular doctor for quite some time, they had to treat me like a new patient and ask me about 75 questions regarding my health history. It was rather telling. Here are some of the questions: are you experiencing any inflammation? swelling of joints or lymph nodes? weight loss or gain? sore throat? excessive bleeding? unexplained bruising? vision problems? trouble sleeping? lack of energy? hair loss ( I’m dead serious )? back aches? bleeding gums? and so and so forth. Naturally, considering my recent little bout with Leukemia, I had to ask her to clarify; “you mean, like, TODAY? or in the past few months?” What I realized is that about 10 months ago, if she had asked me the same questions, my answer would have been “No” to almost all of them. If you had asked me 9 months ago, the answer would have been “yes” to almost all of them. Yesterday, my answer was “no” to all of them. Before and after I had Leukemia I appeared to be the picture of perfect health.
My insides suffer a similar pattern. I can appear healthy one day. I can even actually BE healthy one day. And by “healthy” I mean sane. Grounded. Wise. Under control. Peaceful. Patient. Loving. All the things I desire to be. And then, just as abruptly as one gets Leukemia, I am a hot mess of all things opposite of what I desire to be. You may not be aware that I had been having blood tests right up to a few weeks before I was diagnosed with leukemia (which is confirmed by…a BLOOD TEST). At that time the Leukemia was not presenting itself yet. I got very sick very fast. Can anyone relate? Giving myself a days’ credit might be a bit generous. I mean, I can walk out of a recovery meeting or church or even finish posting a blog on the subject, and immediately lose my mind. Lose my serenity. Forget everything I just heard, said, read or wrote. A guy named Paul talks about this in the bible. He kind of goes on a rant about the things he wishes he would do he doesn’t do and all the things he wishes he did do, he somehow can’t manage to do. I totally relate. My intentions are good. I start out determined and strong. And 10 minutes later I am asking God for a “do-over.” I don’t think Paul and I are the only ones with this problem, but I could be wrong. All I know is that this is why I am regularly reminded that alone, I am powerless to change. I can have all the “want to” in the world, but only a power greater than myself can help me. That power is God and unless I look to him to help me through each moment of my day, it doesn’t take long before I am living life in a way that is harmful to me and hurtful to others. Living in complete dependence on Him and His power through me is my only hope. You may or may not believe this next sentence, but I do (even though I don’t always live as if I do): God tells me that the very same power He used to raise His son from the dead, is the same power that is accessible to ME. If I can remember to tap in to that, I might actually have a chance.
As I celebrate my birthday and the fact that I even get to have another birthday-I find this to be an excellent promise to reflect on. It’s way better than being pre-occupied with how much I weigh, for pete’s sake.