I was anxious for the stress test at the doctor's office. I really wanted to know what was wrong, so I was looking forward to the office visit.
They brought me in, checked my blood pressure, temperature, and weight, then sat me down in a room. The doc came in, sat down, and told me, "I canceled your stress test."
I have to admit, that was irritating. Why was he wasting my time? I really wanted to find out what was wrong with me so I could get on with getting in shape.
Then he said, "I don't need a stress test. I looked at your blood. I'm pretty sure you have leukemia."
Wow. I wasn't even sure what that meant except that I'd had some interaction with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because of running. Lots of marathoners raise money for them when they run.
I did remember that survival rates were improving rapidly, but that they were still pretty terrible.
I don't know what's supposed to run through your mind at such a time, but I guess 29 years of trying to keep my internal ears focused on God's voice produced some results. There was nothing but peace inside, so I didn't bother with anything but peace outside, either.
The doctor was apologizing. He couldn't be certain because he's not a pathologist, but the diagnosis was probable enough that he felt he had to be straightforward with me.
He explained that my red blood cell count was low, as were my platelets. My white blood cell count was high. But more importantly, he looked at a blood smear in a microscope, and he could see that all my lymphocytes were enlarged and abnormal. Further, he couldn't see any neutrophils, which he could normally see between the blood cells.
On June 25, I didn't know what lymphocytes or neutrophils were. It was easy to figure out that "enlarged" and "abnormal" were not good. It also seemed obvious enough that "no neutrophils" wasn't good, either.
He told me he'd get me to a cancer center nearby that he trusted.
He also told me that it would be expensive. I had no health insurance.
I tried to be comforting to him and to explain that I believe God is in control of my life, so the news wasn't really shocking or even frightening.
Later, though, I realized that I'm not really that faithful of a Christian. I've diligently pursued following Christ for almost three decades, but the fact is that I'm prone to worrying. Having strong faith is not my forte. I'm a lousy charismatic, though I'd love to be good at believing God. It was Jesus, not a charismatic preacher, who said, "Whatever you make a request for in prayer, have faith that it has been given to you, and you will have it" (Mark 11:24, Bible in Basic English).
But I'm not good at that.
On June 24, 2011, though, believing was no problem.
This is the grace of God.