In 21 weeks, you can remodel a house. You can travel around the world. You can write the first draft of a novel. You can grow a magnificent beard. You can… do many, many things.
Or you can wait for a medical diagnosis.
My wife of some nearly 32 years found out last December that there was a 90% chance she was carrying a cancerous growth within her. Already a one time cancer survivor, this was hard news. Routine testing a few days later suggested that it may have spread, metastasized. If so, this would have assured a devastating stage four status, a long and difficult road ahead, much uncertainty.
Then we learned that due to the need for two surgeries and the necessary healing time in between, it would be 21 weeks before we would know. An oncologist ascribed percentages and we were not uplifted.
The first diagnosis after the first surgery confirmed the initial prediction. It was cancer. Recovery took place. Then the second surgery. Then more waiting. Waiting.
Today… as we sat in the surgeon’s office anticipating the door already tipped ajar to widen and mark his entrance…
The percentages weighed down on us like heavy bags of sand upon our shoulders. We would step out of this office and then into the future in one of two ways. It was going to be good. Or it was going to be bad. We waited.
Three hours later, we sat in a pizza shop calling, texting and emailing our family, friends, neighbors, work colleagues and all those who had been adding to a chorus of prayer. We were reflecting on those 21 weeks. Weeks filled with love and focus. We felt lifted by the concern and caring of so many. We didn’t bicker over priorities and decisions and worries. We looked forward to the future, mostly one tinged with hope, but stayed grounded in the moment. The worry was crushing. The love and grace that surrounded us was elevating.
This morning, waiting in the surgeon’s office… as the door swung to open, I prayed that we could have the strength we would most assuredly need should the news be bad. I prayed that we would always remember these 21 weeks and all the beauty and light we experienced should the news be good.
The door opened and in he walked.
Three hours later, the battery gauges fell to zero on both of our phones as we celebrated this extraordinary day. The completion of 21 weeks. An end to waiting. And the beginning of everything else.