“This is gonna be a test of your patience.” That’s what my orthopedic doctor told me before we even knew it was cancer. And, oh God, has it ever. Even as I’m writing this entry, I’m trying to be patient. Waiting for my oncologist appointment (again) in two months; the one where he’ll tell me if I’m in remission or not because my first post-treatment scan was inconclusive. Of course it came back inconclusive. That’s just my luck lately it seems. Waiting for a resolution, waiting to exhale.
He said those words to me when he first thought my hip was fractured and even then those words took me aback. It was like my whole life had been a prelude to that exact moment. All my years, all my memories, all my emotions came bubbling back up to the surface. It wasn’t a cancer diagnosis then but I knew in my heart that something was seriously wrong but I didn’t dare speak it or even think it. He blamed it on too much exercise but I knew better. Those words became prophetic and a constant reminder in the months to come that I ultimately was not in control of my life.
My ortho put me on crutches straightaway (early March 2011) and said that he couldn’t tell me how long I’d have to use them. It was just something we’d have to monitor. Can I just say this? Crutches are the ugliest, most uncomfortable, foulest things to have ever been created by mankind not to mention they did nothing for my look. Can I also say that they make your armpits and hands hurt? I didn’t think I’d ever see a bruise on my armpit but that’s neither here nor there. I thought to myself, “Self, if it takes a normal broken bone 6-8 weeks to heal, then you’ll be fine in 8-10 weeks.” Eight to ten weeks came and went and turned into 6 months. Six months of waiting, waiting, and you guessed it, more waiting.
Admission of guilt: I became a bum. My friends and loved ones tell me it’s not my fault but it doesn’t make me feel like any less of a bum. I went from teaching 11-13 fitness classes a week to NOTHING. I watched TV, ate, and slept in that exact order everyday. I waited for anybody to call me or come over since a trip to anywhere that required any walking was out of the question. Crutches and malls don’t exactly go together. Crutches also sink in the sand at the beach.
I even gave up the thing I love the most in this world for a couple of months. For those who know me, yes, there IS something I love more than dancing. I stopped singing on the praise team at my church. There are about six narrow steps leading up to the platform and I was afraid to climb them on crutches for fear of falling on my face. Afraid and embarrassed. Embarrassed because the crutches made a very loud clicking sound every time I took a step. I hated the attention they would draw and I certainly didn’t want any pity. After two months of not singing, I couldn’t wait anymore and I didn’t care if I drew attention or fell on my face. I felt an incredible urging and drawn like a moth to a flame. So gladly I gave in, climbed those steps, and never looked back. My band buddies were there for me every step of the way up and down. I did not fall on my face and have sung almost every Sunday morning since.
Starting with this small victory, God began to show me how to fight for what I wanted and at the same time showing me what He wanted for my life. I couldn’t let my circumstances defeat my purpose.
“This is gonna be a test of your patience.” Such a simple statement at first glance but its taken on a whole new meaning for me. This ordeal has not been just a mere test of my patience but of the strength of my character. Do I allow this to dictate who I am or do I let it only shape who I become? I’ve decided on the latter. God is ultimately in control of my life but I have to make the decision to allow His perfect work to be done. If this is His way, then it’s my way.
By the way, I’m still a bum. A singing bum but a bum nonetheless. I know what you’re thinking. I’m not allowed to go back to work. It’s not a bad thing for me right now, being a bum. It’s the only way God could get me to slow down and re-evaluate my life. I’m still waiting to exhale but at least now I can gladly hold my breath knowing that that first breath will be even more glorious than the first one I took coming into this world. My rebirth is pending.