Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Choosing Joy in Uncertainty

PhotobucketLast week I celebrated six months of Nashville living and the many ways God has blessed me through this experience.  I didn't mention one of my worst fears in moving here.  I was hoping I wouldn't have to.

My dad is sick, you see.  He never gets sick.  He's rarely missed a day of work.  He's a carpenter and has always been healthy and strong.  Incidentally, he has a remarkable sense of humor, as evidenced by his dry quick wit that I like to think I inherited (and the Get Fuzzy calendar I bought him last Christmas.) I like to believe that there's very little that my dad can't do or figure out. 

My fear was that something would happen to a family member and I wouldn't be there to help.  I was thinking more along the lines of my grandparents, which would be bad enough.  The thought that it might be a parent never crossed my mind.

Dad has had a fever for well over 3 weeks now.  And he hasn't felt up to working for much of that time.  I cannot even tell you how foreign that idea is.  Dad symbolizes Work Ethic in my mind.  After week 1 of the fever, the doctor was contacted and blood work was completed.  Dad's white blood count is three times what it should be and his platelets are elevated as well but, outside of the fever and fatigue, he doesn't have any other symptoms. Frustratingly enough, the doctors don't have any answers.  It seems Dad is a bit of a mystery to them.  Since they are not Dr. House, this is not reassuring.

I work in health care so I understand that some diagnoses take longer to reach than others.  Logically, I get it.  But this is my dad and I just want him to feel better NOW.

Monday night I learned that, while the doctors had initially ruled it out, leukemia appears to be a top contender. Thursday afternoon my parents will meet with a specialist who will review the most recent labs and hopefully come up with a game plan.  And maybe tell them it's just a random blood disorder? While the possibility of cancer is not a surprise given my family's health history, we'd prefer that it be something else. 

It is killing me not to be there for my dad.  I know I would feel just as helpless if I still lived in Wheaton but I could at least see him for myself and bring over soup or whatever else he felt like eating.  Still, this does not take away from my purpose in now living in Nashville.  I know that I can pray here just as easily as there and that prayer can help more than anything.  I know that God will use this fear for His glory.  He is using it to teach me again to let others be there for me and He is using it because I can't help but reference our faith when I talk to friends and coworkers about this uncertainty.  Whatever happens, whether it's leukemia or not, God has this under control.  My part is to pray and not to let my hospice/oncology background get the best of me in the meantime.  I will face this one truth at a time.

Would you mind praying for my dad when you finish reading this?  Pray for healing, pray for peace, and pray that the doctor will have wisdom and that he will be able to provide direction and a concrete diagnosis.  Above all else, pray that God would be near us and that He would use this for His good.

As for me, I'm choosing joy.  Joy transcends uncertainty.  Sarah Markley has started 100 Joys and I can't think of a better way to face the unknown.  God is in this situation and I intend to find all the God-filled nooks and crannies.

1.  The hematologist/oncologist my parents will see Thursday comes highly recommended by someone I trust- a relief after all the head-scratching MDs they've experienced thus far.
2.  A best friend who lives 5 blocks away and told me her Thursday night plans are on standby pending my dad's appointment.  She is so precious to me and often knows what I need better than I do.
3.  Supportive coworkers who let me know they'll cover for me if and when I need to go home to be with my family.
4.  "Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord." -Psalm 24:17


  1. Praying! Please let me know if there is anything I can do from here. I remember how difficult it was to be away from home when one of your parents is ill. Praying the days would go by quickly until you will be home for Christmas.

  2. Will definitely be praying Leigh!!

  3. Will definitely pray for your dad, Leigh!!

  4. Leigh, I will be praying. I know first hand how difficult it is to live in the fear of the unknown when facing a health crisis. I pray for wisdom on the Doctor's part and peace for your family. And if they don't find the answers they need, I highly recommend Mayo. They were my miracle place when no one else could tell me what was going on with my body.

  5. Praying for you and your father, Leigh.

  6. oh, precious. i am praying. i promise you i am.


  7. i'm praying along and for you! *hugs*


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