One of my favorite things to read in middle school was the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. At the end of each chapter, the reader had a decision to make that would determine how the story would end. So if you’re walking down a street with your best friend and she dares you to enter an abandoned house, do you A) accept the dare or B) chicken out? If you chose A, turn to page 45. If you chose B, turn to page 33.
I loved the twists and turns of each chapter and would always reread the book and make different choices for a different outcome. Inevitably, I tried to find the ending that I liked and work my way backwards. Only it didn’t always work out.
For the past eight weeks, I’ve been living through my own Choose Your Own Adventure story. My Father is my companion and he’s trusting me to guide him. After passing blood in November, he has a CT scan of his chest and abdomen and we’re referred to a urologist. After that initial appointment, we must bring him in for a biopsy. We wait a week for the test results and receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer. We return to the urologist for a treatment plan. We see a different urologist, who orders a bone density test and a body scan. We have those done and learn he needs further CT scans of his left brain and left ankle to make sure there is no cancer anywhere else in his body.
To say we’ve been tired is an understatement. But once you’ve started down this road of discovery, you can’t just pull off to the side and take a nap. You have to keep going. So with every test ordered and every doctor’s appointment kept, I feel that I’ve reached the end of a chapter and hope that the end of this story is in sight.
Give us good news. Tell us he’s ok. Tell us he’s going to be ok.
If my Father did not have Alzheimer’s, his treatment options would be different. He cannot have surgery because once you give general anesthesia to a person with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, they awake from the surgery in a regressed state. It’s as if anesthesia speeds up the disease and the person you knew before the anesthesia is gone forever.
We had already started treatment for the prostate cancer. But if the cancer had spread to his bones or organs, we would have to delve deeper and possibly adopt an additional treatment plan to eradicate those cancer cells. We asked for and received numerous prayers for my Father.
And then last week I was reminded of a verse. A bold verse.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him. ~ I John 5:14-15
So I asked God for a miracle. I asked that no cancer be found in my Father’s left brain, left ankle or anywhere else in his body so we wouldn’t have to go down the road of additional treatment. I asked the Author of this scary Choose Your Own Adventure Story to shorten the script and take out the drama.
I know this is real life. So I can’t just turn to the end of the book and find the ending that I want and work my way backward. It’s what we’d all love to do. Pick the best ending where everyone lives happily ever after. But life doesn’t always work like that. So we keep reading each chapter and keep making decisions, praying we make the right ones.
Last Friday I returned a text from a close friend and explained what was going on. I read it before hitting ‘send’ and the weight of my words came crashing down on me to the point I went home and took a nap. And just like a child asks her Daddy for a special treat, I asked my Heavenly Father to do something special for me. I was too tired to imagine what that ‘something’ could be, so I just left it up to Him and took solace in sleep.
Less than an hour later, my ‘something’ came. The doctor had left a voicemail with the results from Dad’s most recent CT scans. No cancer in the left brain! No cancer in the left ankle!
I got my miracle! With that glorious voicemail, we were ushered past all those chapters of brain cancer and additional treatments. We flew over so much exhausting drama and landed in a very good place. A place with an excellent urologist, a great treatment plan and the prayers of hundreds asking God to heal my Father.
I know this story isn’t over yet. But that’s ok. Why? Because my life isn’t a series of unfortunate events strung together with happy memories and void of direction or purpose. Every moment of my life is knit together in my Creator’s hands with His perfect love for me and the promise that He works everything together for my good and His glory.
So no matter what happens, I’m o.k.