Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . counting the seconds, it is amazing how lost in and engulfed by your thoughts you can become in a mere matter of seconds.
Two-hundred forty-three million, six-hundred forty-eight thousand seconds ago (or there abouts), our lives entered a completely new and terrifying chapter with the speaking of just four words—“Catherine, . . . you . . . have . . . cancer.” Fast forward two-thousand eight-hundred and twenty days and now we stand at the precipice of the next chapter.
Flabbergasting—for lack of any more encompassing or descriptive a term—is how I attempt to describe just how much life can change in 7 years, 8 months and 21 days. There was chemotherapy, a blood test, some “thing” called “BRCA 2,” tornados on Mother’s day, a double mastectomy, reconstruction and radiation. There were follow up surgeries, dozens of trips to Atlanta, hundreds of doctors’ appointments, blood clots, and a trip to the cardiac-ICU. She (then I) moved to Pinnacle, then to an apartment, to Florida (the avenue), Ridge, and then Vista, lost one house and got “evicted” from another. Seminoles and Canes learned science. Soccer, football, swimming & cross-country was coached, a second Mercer stint began, travel was arranged, the pinkest of parties was planned, radio waves were promoted, and those living with muscular dystrophy were celebrated. We lost a Vizsla, rescued (and lost) a Boston, and were gifted a German Shorthaired-Pointer. I got on one knee, planning ensued, preparations were made, a few words were exchanged, some circles were swapped, and a beautiful wedding happened.
. . . Wait, what is that little doodle on the screen?!? . . . We left home as a couple under cover of darkness. In bright sunshine, we returned home as family.
Here I sit in the 3rd Floor Waiting Room of Emory University Hospital, thinking about all of these things and the countless others that have happened since those four little words were spoken. I think about all of the tears, all of the nail-biting, all of the hand-wringing, all the sleepless nights. I recall all the prayers, all the hugs and kisses, all of the support given. I am overcome by the flood of memories that have filled the last 243,648,000 or so seconds.
On this day I think back on how much importance I (and Catherine) placed on those 4 words . . . and yet, just how small they actually are and turned out to be. I thought that those 4 words would define Catherine’s life—would define my life—until this day came, if not for the rest of our lives. If there is one iota of inspiration, one piece of hope that the Lord has pressed upon me, that I can take comfort in today, and that I desire to share with others, it is this:
Those mountainous, monstrous, and mystifying moments that (understandably) seem insurmountable in life, regardless their actual dimensions or weight, are only nouns. Regardless the descriptive adjectives we associate with those “moments,” they are ultimately and essentially that—moments. Life goes on despite the indescribable significance of some of these moments, and the power these moments hold to direct and shape our lives are only as strong as we allow them to be.
Catherine is back there right now, separated from me and all those that love her and care for her only by the distances that we define. On the other side of this total hysterectomy, it is almost impossible not to fear the unknown and to limit the future by the moments in the now. She we will be different. I will be different. We will be different. But when we get home . . . normal. A spotted dog will be wagging his tail so fast it makes his whole butt wiggle. A beautiful gift from the Lord, with her bouncing curls and infectious energy, will still yell, “Mommy! Daddy!” at the very sight of her parents. And I can be comforted and excited by the fact that tomorrow is a new day and a countless quantity of those moments is just over the horizon.
You are now exiting my attempts at expounding prophetic wisdom. . . .
Thank you all for the continued prayers and support. Updates to come. Aplin—out.