When we were told back at Christmas that Janine’s treatment would last six months, I wasn’t sure that could be right. Surely three to four cycles of chemotherapy couldn’t take that long when they were every three weeks.
But here we are six months later and with the treatment only just finished. Not that we can complain as the treatment has done what it was intended to do and the scan Janine had last week showed that she is still in remission.
We saw the consultant on Thursday to confirm the results. He said what we all know which is that only time will tell if Janine has been cured but he thought there is a good chance. We are back to living with uncertainty. Not that it had ever really gone away and not that we don’t actually all live with uncertainty every day of our lives. We just make assumptions.
From here it is about Janine recovering fully and returning to the world of the check up. The annual check up for the sarcoma and, initially, the three monthly check up for the lymphoma.
Janine asked the consultant if he had ever seen a one legged sarcoma patient with lymphoma before. No he said – you are unique. Didn’t we all just suspect that. Of course the question of whether he has seen a two legged sarcoma patient contract lymphoma remained unanswered but I suspect not. He said he had looked back at the chemotherapy regime from last time and only one of the drugs carried the risk of a second cancer and at the time would have been considered low risk. In his terms, Janine had been ‘triply unlucky’.
Where does faith come into all this ? We can’t say that God will not let the cancer return. He allowed Janine to have it first time round. He allowed it to return. He has allowed others to face it and even to die.
We often quote Jeremiah 29:11 when we want to encourage people about the future God has for them.
"'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'".
I’ve been thinking about this verse for a while. I’m probably slow on the uptake but ‘harm’ and ‘prosperity’ and ‘a future’ cannot mean what we immediately think they mean. From our perspective God has allowed Janine to be harmed, not least in the amputation, and the future she has is not the future she would have hoped for. This promise must be about ultimate fulfilment and ultimate realities and the things that God values not being the things we value. It cannot be about comfort and ease and an absence of suffering or difficulty. It applied to all of the heroes of faith described in Hebrews 11. Some of them lived destitute lives, living in caves and holes in the ground. Others were tortured, stoned, flogged, put to death by the sword and sawn in two.
I’ve looked back at the entry I wrote on Promises in January. We still have so much to be thankful for. God has fulfilled and is fulfilling those promises. We have had fantastic support and encouragement and help. At this point, Janine could not be in a better position. And much, much, more.
I am probably not going to blog every time Janine has a check up or every time she feels unwell. That is just going to happen. In fact, I think Musing and Leanings might take a break and return in a different format.
For now, thank you for following and reading over the last seven months and for all the encouraging comments, the emails and the FB messages. I still wish I had been able to reply to everyone but I didn’t manage it.
I shall leave you with a picture of the most irrepressible woman I know.