Late in the afternoon yesterday, we received a preliminary diagnosis. It’s preliminary because the final pathology of the tissue from Matt’s brain won’t be finished until next week so this information might very well not be accurate, although at his point it seems likely. A radiation oncologist PA informed us that the preliminary diagnosis for Matt is stage 4 lung cancer. Should this diagnosis prove to be correct, treatment would most likely include full brain radiation and aggressive chemotherapy on his body. They would also want a bone scan in order to glean some more information on Matt’s bones and spine and hips to give them a clearer picture of how deep and wide it has spread. After receiving this information, we were discharged and sent home until the wound from his surgery heals.
The information seems more stark because we may now have a name to call what is going on in Matt’s body other than just the general umbrella of ‘cancer’. And yet, we are simply learning about something God has known about since before we were born. We process this information with tears over the very real practical difficulties that lie ahead, assuming this is the diagnosis. We also process it with praise–because God only gives good gifts to His children.
God chose this road and season for us to walk through long ago–it is now just a matter of us finding out about it and walking it. Now, we, too, get to choose this road. We, too, get to humble ourselves under the hand of God that is just as abundant in power as it is goodness and wisdom. We get to say yes to something that God decided before the foundations of the earth would bring Him glory and us good.
I can’t help thinking also that this is still not what we deserve. I would ask why bad things happen to good people if I thought there was anyone truly righteous before God. Matt is a good man, but he is not righteous before God and neither am I. We’re both sinners deserving an eternity in hell to repay the debt we owe God. But God set his love on us when we did not love Him and He rescued us from that sentence through Jesus His Son, who became our righteousness in life, our redeemer in death, and our absolute one-and-only Savior in his resurrection.
Therefore, when we hear lung cancer stage 4 and we compare it to an eternity spent away from the One who loves us best and is our best good, we smile.
Because cancer, though it wreak havoc, destruction, and even death in our bodies, will never be able to touch our salvation, our inheritance, or our Savior who stands as our shield against this present flood of bad news and whose words make up the only rock upon which we stand.
This morning, when I woke up, I considered not really trying to get ready for the day. But then I remembered that we can’t lose anything that matters most on this earth, that God is good, and that He will be just as faithful today as He was yesterday and has been this whole last week. So I washed my salt-encrusted face and put on make-up that wouldn’t hinder tears, and Matt and I walked out of the house together to tell our kids.
Please pray for us as this initial diagnosis has demanded we re-evaluate our future–immediate and long term. Pray that we can find housing as our living situation will need to change if chemotherapy is going to be a part of our lives. Pray for our insurance and finances as both will be complicated by this re-routing of our lives. Pray for our kids who have really been such troopers throughout the last several transitions and whom we will need to ask to persevere through one more. Pray that the treatment for Matt would be effective, if that is the Lord’s will. And pray that on the days where we can’t smile, that God would uphold us for His ultimate glory and our ultimate good.