We met an Oncologist Monday and both of us really liked her and enjoyed her sense of humor. As far as any internal sense of “this is not for me” I have nothing like that. The science stuff she explained made sense. My intuition was completely at peace. So I am not running away screaming from conventional medicine. Interesting, right? I’m actually pretty surprised.

She ordered blood work and I told her it may need to wait because I didn’t expect bloodwork and did not drink enough for their tech to be able to find a vein. She looked at me and said “Honey, this is a cancer center, they WILL find a vein” and we all cracked up. And Veronica got a vein first stab and the blood draw took maybe 60 seconds, if that. Impressive! God bless Veronica!!

A seminary friend of ours from California was in town and we met for lunch with him and he prayed with us. He has hidden the Word in his heart and his prayers are a verse salad tossed in a generous dressing of grace. What an amazing blessing!

During the meal, I could feel my energy levels tanking. By the time I got home, I was feeling physically and emotionally depleted and so I planted myself in bed and considered a nap. Then I got up and went for a lovely walk, and that felt like good self care.

At the park we ran into friends we have not seen in ages. For the moments we stood and chatted, I had no cancer and not a care in the world. I was just enjoying the conversation with people I don’t see often enough. What a treat.

And what a beautiful day! These February days have been warm and beautiful, which is out of character for around here, but I’ll take it.

Here’s where the music changes in the background… ya know – the music that tells you that the hero of the story is about to experience an unexpected challenge… there’s an undercurrent to it… an annoying tick tick tick

Tick. My Mennonite work ethic kicked in: “I need to get something done.” I told myself. (Not everything we tell ourselves is true.)

Tick. I decided to try to get all the paperwork together and I was in the Sentera My Chart system printing out the reports from each white coat meeting so far.

Tick. I realized there were a variety of tests ordered that I hadn’t been told about. (EKG, blood tests the anesthesiologist needs, and such.) I didn’t know what they all were, and I had no clue what they were like or where to show up to get them. They were just there in the system without communication with me.

Tick. Some of them were already scheduled on my calendar without communication.

Tick. Two were scheduled for Feb 14th. Now here in the US we have a holiday that seems to exist solely for the capitalist benefit of Hallmark, Hershey, and Florists. But never mind the bogus nature of the holiday – mine was scheduled with medical appointments.

Tick. I was super drained (pardon the pun), super hungry, and super over stimulated from all the peopling.

My gut said stop right here… walk away.

I did not listen to my gut.

Kids. ALWAYS listen to your intuition – that’s part of the ecosystem and it’s there for a reason! Listen. Don’t be like me!

Tick. I wrote an email to the nurse who is assigned to my case to help me navigate the system… and the email bounced.

Tick. Did I type the email address from her business card wrong? Second one bounced.

Tick. It’s too late to call but… no phone. I went looking for my cell phone, asked my Austrian to ring it and that’s when I realized I had left it in the bathroom on our travels. Ug.

Tick. Decisions between holistic treatment and conventional treatment, timing, logistics, money, sanity, balance blah blah…

I could feel the slide into frustration, anger, a sense of unfairness with a dash of self pity… and the dog wanted me to throw the ball so she was whining.



Cue Meltdown.

I didn’t even think to look around for Jesus.

Illness may wish to take some cells in my body, overwhelm my calendar, and require much more money than seems reasonable, but it took me a long time to grow into my agency and autonomy. I won’t be giving those things up for an annoying little cancer cell. That’s a solid “NOPE”.

4 responses to “Autonomy”

  1. Cindy Avatar

    Thank you for posting, Carmen. I think of you each day. Stay strong!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carmen Shenk Avatar

      Thank you Cindy! 💙💚💜


  2. Terrie Webb Avatar
    Terrie Webb

    Father God, hear our prayers. This woman is going through a trial and has a bit of a road to travel. If you can lighten her load, strengthen her resolve and walk beside her on this rode. Amen♥️🙏


    1. Carmen Shenk Avatar

      Thank you Terrie!


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