I Like a Plan
I always do better when we have a plan. My spirit relaxes, and I can get about the business of crossing items off a to-do list. It does not matter if we are talking ministry, household project, or my next cancer treatment; having a plan is good.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Friday morning (October 23), I met with Dr. Saroha to draw blood in preparation for my first chemo treatment. We were all set to start on Monday morning.
Later in the day, I got the call. My liver numbers were elevated, chemotherapy was off. Instead, we needed to schedule an ERCP to clean out the stents in my liver. These high numbers are residual effects from the damage caused by the pump I had removed a few days earlier.
We scheduled an ERCP for Tuesday, October 27th. A fairly simple, straightforward procedure that should get my liver numbers back where they should be.
Early Tuesday morning, the phone rang. Dr. Attalla was on the line. She had reviewed my images. In her opinion, the ERCP would not do anything to help my situation. The procedure was canceled. She was committed to finding a solution so I could resume chemotherapy but did not have any answers at that time.
New, New Plan
This Friday (October 30th), I have an MRCP scheduled. The MRCP will give us very clear pictures of the bile ducts and help us understand what is causing my issues. We would not be able to do this test if I still had my pump, so I rejoice in small steps forward.
Once this is complete, I will meet with Dr. Saroha (on Friday) to determine if we will start chemotherapy next Monday.
It seems that we plan, adjust, and then plan again.
If I am honest, the past few days have been filled with a little anxiety. With each change in plans, I have had to re-adjust my thinking.
Nothing New Under the Sun
This evening, I reflected on what has been going on and what may lay ahead, and suddenly it hit me. None of this was anything new.
I have been planning, adjusting, and then planning again my whole life. Each time God has been present to help guide every step.
In fact, you can read one of my posts from May of 2016, Where Do You Find God in All of This, and see this struggle is nothing new.
What I was experiencing was something Walter Brueggemann talks about as a normal part of the human experience.
Looking at the Psalms, Brueggemann talks about a very normal and ongoing process of moving from one reality to another. He suggests that human beings regularly find themselves in one of three places:
a place of orientation, in which everything makes sense in our lives;
a place of disorientation, in which we feel we have sunk into the pit; and
a place of new orientation, in which we realize that God has lifted us out of the pit, and we are in a new place full of gratitude and awareness about our lives and our God.
- Orientation – I have a plan, everything looks good, and I am confident about the future.
- Disorientation – Bad blood work, Dr. Attalla’s phone call
- Re-orientation – We make new plans, God is present in the midst of my disorientation, I feel a sense of peace despite my reality, and I am drawn closer to the fulness of God.
I can see this pattern, Orientation – Disorientation – Re-orientation, throughout my entire life.
All of Life is a Gift – even the disorientation!
For in the midst of my disorientation, there will be moments of grace where the Spirit calls out and helps re-orient me. I will be filled with gratitude for the way the Spirit is alive, well, and working in my life and world.
My plans moving forward? Enter each season of disorientation eagerly awaiting the Spirit of God to speak gracefully and boldly into chaos and restore order.
All of Life is Gift!
God is Good All the Time…All the Time God is Good!