The woman stood outside the elevator catching her breath. Being fifteen minutes late on her end, she only hoped the doctor's office was maintaining their status quo. The arrival to the tenth floor couldn't come soon enough. She turned the corner. Luckily there wasn't a line. Her transition from the check-in desk to her appointment room was practically seamless—a first in her experience. Unfortunately, the woman still had to pass the time.
"I haven't as much seen the whites of the doctor's eyes yet today," said the clinical assistant.
Relieved to finally receive an honest estimate, the woman sat and waited, wondering what kind of news she would find out that day. It had been two weeks since her last appointment. The chemo treatments were pretty predictable and low key for her by now. Sure, she wasn't recovering back to her normal self as quickly, but she was making progress, and that's really all that mattered to her. Knowing her tendency to worry, she took some time to pray to calm her nerves. Then, she grabbed her cell phone and started reading through three years worth of text messages. I really need to bring a book next time, she regretted.
Just as she finished reading the last text, the oncologist apologetically entered the room, noticeably out of breath.
Like doctor like patient, the woman thought to herself.
There wasn't much to talk about considering her HCG results had not yet come back, but even if the levels hit zero, the woman discovered would still need to go through at least one more round of chemotherapy. The woman felt a bit discouraged. She was ready to move on to the next phase.
As if cued, the oncologist looked through the woman's eyes into her soul and said, "There is a light at the end of this tunnel. This is a bump in the road—a big one for you—but I am confident that you will be cured of this disease and you will go on to have more babies. I recently lost a patient to ovarian cancer. And do you know what she said of her situation? She said that it was a gift from God. I encourage you to think about how you might view what you're going through."
The woman swore this doctor had some kind of x-ray vision into her mind because the words pierced her heart. How does she know I've been feeling depressed about this the last few days and have been nursing a sour attitude? She was pretty sure she hadn't said or done anything incriminating, but somehow, the doctor knew.
The woman left the doctor's office in a contemplative mood and headed down to receive her first chemo shot of round four. She had plenty of time to think on the doctor's words—two hours twenty minutes, to be exact. She called her parents to kill some time.
"Your life experiences are a stewardship," her dad said. "Just like your time and your talents. What are you going to do with them?"
As she hung up the phone a nurse escorted her to her room. Her father's words still hung in the air. She had never thought of life that way. Sure, she was responsible to do good things with money, time, and talents, but life experiences? One cannot control life. Life just happens. But the more she thought about it, the more she realized either she could try to control her experiences, inevitably harboring anger and bitterness from her inability to do so, or she could let the Holy Spirit work through her, conforming her attitude to that of Christ, allowing Him to reveal His glory through her story of brokenness. If it were only that easy, she thought.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. A nurse entered the room handing her a piece of paper with a yellow Post-It note stuck to it upon which was written: "Beta HCG is Ok. Value is 20." Initially her lucky digit "0" was overshadowed by the "2" proceeding it. However, she caught herself before she went too far down that road. She reminded herself that it was an 83% drop from two weeks prior and the first time she had been in the two digits. Thank you, Lord, for six straight weeks of good news.