The rheumatologist was young-as young as my daughter. Now that I think of it, almost everyone looks young to me these days. She was very bright and very thorough. She spent over an hour taking a full history, discussing my health, doing a physical exam.
She ordered a repeat ESR and an electrophoresis. The ESR was up to 65 and the electrophoresis interpretation was “AN ABNORMAL PROTEIN BAND IS DETECTED IN THE BETA GLOBULINS AND MAY REPRESENT A MONOCLONAL IMMUNOGLOBULIN OR LIGHT CHAIN. THE GAMMA GLOBULIN APPEARS DECREASED.”
Well, I’m not a doctor, but I have walked with my dad through this and I recognized the term “monoclonal immunoglobin.” My dad has Waldenströms macroglobulinemia (WM) and it all started with similar test results. The exact cause of WM is not known. However, scientists believe that genetics may play a role because the disease has been seen to run in families. Waldenströms is a rare type of slow-growing, non-Hodgkin lymphoma-that is, a cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. It causes overproduction of a protein called monoclonal immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody.
The rheumatology nurse called and said I need to get into a hematologist pronto. She made an appointment for me for the following week at the Cancer Center. Wow. This all started with vague symptoms and a slightly elevated sedimentation rate and now I’m headed to the Cancer Center. My dad was not diagnosed until he was 80. I felt kind of shell-shocked. As is my custom when I am upset, I started talking to God about it.
I asked God to make me strong; more than anything else, I want Him to be proud of me. I asked Him to use my situation, whatever that turns out to be, as a catalyst to move people toward Him. I want to be more intentionally open to others about my love for Jesus and what He has done for me. Every other religion requires you to do the work and pay the price in order to be “acceptable.” Christianity is the only religion where God Himself paid the price required in order for me to be accepted. I asked Him to be glorified in my life. I asked Him, when it is time, to empower me to die well: honoring Him and loving people.
People would ask me, “How are you holding up?” and I’d surprise both them and me when I’d say, in all honesty, “So far, I’m fine.” I guess I am able to put off anxiety until I know for sure. FINALLY-my tendency to procrastinate has a purpose- I’ve been waiting a long time for that to happen. God has been with me through all the high points of my life, and through all the valleys of despair. He has never deserted me; He has always brought me through to a better place. Why would I doubt Him now?
My husband, my daughters and my friends have all been praying for me and I know that God is allowing them to participate in His work in my life. Every once in a while something will ambush me-words of a song, a photo of my granddaughter, a hummingbird at the feeder-and I tear up. But most of the time I feel peace-a peace that is not really consistent with the circumstance I find myself in. When I’m in that place of peace, I realize that I’m in a win-win situation; if I die now, I get to go be with Jesus. If I don’t, well, I still get to go be with Jesus, I just need to wait a little longer.
Scripture reference: 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21-22
Read my father’s blog: http://georgefield.pathiwalked.com/