The clock hinges were ticking slower than molasses. June looked at the time, and it stood still. She sat on the table in a gown, frightened by what the news could be. June was only twenty-three, and when her heart started racing on a Saturday afternoon she knew something was wrong. She went to church on Sunday, and prayed a simple prayer of healing. She told herself if she didn’t feel better by morning, she would go into the urgent care. The next day, her heart was still racing and her hands felt a little cold. She drove herself to the clinic, and checked herself in by signing her name. She told the physician her symptoms, and he said he was going to draw some blood. This was a week ago, and now she sat in the office awaiting the results. The door slowly crept open and three doctors in white coats came into the room. One of them was older, and the other two were younger. The older one started to talk. She could barely make out the words, because all sorts of thoughts were running and racing through her head. “We have the results of the blood work we took Miss Miller. Your….are elevated…and…..and….and so we are going….do some more tests…but most likely….we are thinking….that you have a mass on your lung.” There was a pause of silence in the room, and June’s face turned white. She was twenty-three. She was young. She was now a cancer patient. The doctor’s faces looked down, and there were no smiles on their faces. They continued to talk about a plan, and some things they could do, but all June heard was silence.
A few months later the clock was ticking slower than molasses. June waited in the room. She looked a little different than the last time she was in the room. She sat still in the gown, and waited for the doctors to come into the room. She rearranged the scarf on her head. She had lost all of her hair with the chemo treatments. She also lost a lot of weight. It had been about eight months since her diagnosis. This time her mother was with her in the room. There are no words to express the fear her mother held in the corners of her mind, and the feelings of dismantling guilt she had. If only she could have taken the treatments, and been the one with the cancer. She couldn’t understand why her daughter had cancer, and she was mad at God. June sat silently, waiting to hear the results. The doctors came into the room. This time there were two of them, both of them were older. Words started to come out of their mouth. “Miss Miller, How are you feeling today?” “Well, I have felt a little nauseous lately, and I’ve been really tired. But my head is very cool, which helps since the summer weather is wicked hot.” The doctors laughed a little, and then got back to business. “Well, it looks like the treatments are working. We looked at your scans, and there aren’t any signs of a spread. We were able to shrink the size of the mass on your lung, and now we think we can remove the rest by surgery. We would like to schedule a surgery date, and take it from there. We are also planning several treatments of radiation as follow-up, to make sure we got it all. Do you have any questions?” June sat there, again in silence trying to take in all the information. “Well, I guess that is about it. Do you think my hair will come back soon?” “Well, it will probably take some time, but it will grow back.” A moment of relief jumped onto June, and she thought maybe for the first time she was going to “make it.” She recalled a song she heard once when she went to a church service with her friend Emily “You’re gonna make it. You’re gonna make it. Cause you’ve got what it takes to win, and I know that you’re gonna make it. Yes, you’re gonna make it…” She didn’t know if the song was for her, but she needed every moment of reassurance she could get.
The clock seemed to be moving very fast. June sat in the church service with her friend Emily. The songs were really fast, and she was tired. She couldn’t stand, and she wondered if people were looking at her strangely because of the American flag bandana she wore, and because she was sitting. She looked around the sanctuary. There were a lot of people. They were singing and raising their hands. They seemed really “emotional.” She wondered what they were so emotional about. Then, all of the sudden she felt tears welling up inside of her. “Oh no, I’m not going to cry. Not here…not now.” Then, the tears came. They started falling down her face. She tried to wipe them away, so no one would notice. A few people took notice, and came over to pray with her. This was a totally new phenomenon. She had never had anyone come over and pray with her, and she certainly didn’t have people who were speaking different languages pray with her. One lady asked if she could lay her hands on her and pray. June said it was okay. Then, suddenly, June felt something she had never felt before. From the top of her head, she felt a calm presence with her. She felt warm inside, and everything seemed to stand still. Like, when she got the diagnosis, there was a pause, and a silence. The lady told June to give it to God. June didn’t really know what that meant. Then the lady said, “It’s okay. Just let it go.” June had no idea what the woman was talking about. What am I supposed to let go? I don’t have anything in my hands. Then June thought about the cancer. Her surgery was scheduled for next week. She wondered if she could “let the cancer go.” Quietly, in her mind she prayed a prayer. “Dear God. I’m not really sure who you are. I would like to know you a little better. I have this cancer, and I don’t know if I am allowed to ask you for anything, but I was wondering if maybe you could take it away. That would be really cool. Yah, so, amen.” The women around her stopped praying, and the tears stopped. The service went on, the woman preacher lady talked about forgiveness, and then the service ended. June left, and thanked Emily for the invitation.
The clock was ticking very slowly, again like molasses. June sat on the table again in her white gown. She waited for the doctors with her mother. Her mother had not gone to the service with her and Emily. She wasn’t a churchgoer. The doctors walked into the room, this time there was a crowd of them. “Oh no, what’s wrong?” June started to panic. “It’s back isn’t it. I just know it.” The older doctor looked at her and started talking. “Miss Miller, we don’t know what has happened. We checked your scans this morning. There is no mass. We think….that….well….probably the chemo….and….so we cannot see anything…but most likely….we are going to run some more tests.” There was a silence and a pause. “What?” June’s face turned red, tears stated to pour down her face. “It can’t be. It’s gone. What? I don’t need surgery?” “No, the mass is gone. Your blood work shows no elevated signs…and well, we have never seen anything like this before. We are still trying to figure it out.”
The clock stopped. It was 4pm. June was cancer free.
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