November 11, 2014
Facing uncertainty after thymoma treatment
BY Anna Masten Jackson
I have found a lot of new normals after my thymoma diagnosis. There is the new normal of a few aches and pains, reminders of surgeries past. There is the new normal of curly hair after years of mine being bone straight. There is the new normal of using vacation time to travel for medical care -- care for which I am so grateful!
Returning to MD Anderson for a checkup
Last week, we returned to MD Anderson for my checkup and received great news that my thymoma is stable. We will go back in six months and repeat the process.
For now, I have been given six months that feel like freedom. Six months of no thymoma treatment. Six months of no surgery. Six months that I can plan my life as much as any other human can plan hers.
Learning to deal with an uncertain future
After receiving this good news, I feel like I'm standing on stepping stones scattered across a raging river. For now, I am safely standing on a stone. Behind me are years of boulders I have safely used to cross rough waters, and some I've used to climb out of the water when I've slipped.
Below me is a wild river. At this time, the water that threatens me most is "The Nuisance," my thymoma diagnosis, but blended in are the typical waters of life -- parenthood, marriage, finances, job security, safety, etc. In order to make progress in life, I must leap from stone to stone. Who knows how many stones are ahead of me.
For the moment, I am able to stand safely on this rock, catch my breath, enjoy the view and take in a little sunshine. In four months, it will be time to take the next leap of faith when I return to MD Anderson for my next checkup.
If I become paralyzed by fear, doubt, anger, discouragement or hopelessness, then I am unable to take the leap of faith required to move forward to the next stepping stone. If I focus on the raging rapids, I become incapacitated. The desire for safety and security can trick me into thinking I can't take that next jump. It is too far away. I might fall. The water is moving too fast. I cannot jump. I get focused on the river of fear, and my footing becomes weak.
Instead, I must focus on the rock ahead.
Anna Masten Jackson has many titles: wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend and educator, but the one title that will not define her is cancer victim. She has found blessings in the struggle. For more of her story, read her blog.
I must focus on the rock ahead.
Anna Masten Jackson