Heaven Can Wait…

By: | November 14, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Panic“Heaven can wait,” I told God a month before being cleared of breast cancer.  In October I’d received news that I had an abnormal mammogram result.  “I am not ready,” I repeatedly whispered, almost like a mantra, to anyone up there who might be available to listen.  I chanted it to my late dad, grandpa, former mother-in-law, and former uncle-in-law.  (I don’t know that many dead people.)

I absolutely did not have time for cancer.  I was about to become a world-famous blogger like…  Come to think of it, I did not know any world-famous bloggers.

Suddenly, my recent past made sense.  No wonder God had given me so many good parking spaces at work recently; he was about to give me the “Big C”.  I tossed and turned after getting the dreaded notice that there might be an abnormality and that I had to return for more tests.  In my mind, the form letter was just a formality.  I had already received a death sentence.

I decided to make plans one would make when writing their bucket list.  First, I’d blow all my money.  I saw it in a Queen Latifah movie once.  In “Last Holiday” a dying woman decides to blow all her money on one last luxurious vacation.  However, thanks to my wonderful husband, I’ve already traveled extensively.  The only item I was in the mood to spend the little nest egg my father left me on was Candy Crush Saga boosters.  (I wondered if Mark Zuckerberg would get his share since I was playing on his site.  It would actually have been fine with me since I think he’s a good guy.)

I figured dying people would binge eat since they wouldn’t be around to worry about calories.  However, the only food I was craving as I fretted in the wee hours of the morning was nonfat Yoplait Yogurt, not exactly a chocolate cheesecake in the calorie department.

I started to wonder what I’d bury myself with if I were one of the ancient Egyptians who decked out the chambers that held their coffins with belongings they’d want in the afterlife.  Yet, all I could think to take with me to the Great Beyond was my little dog Minnie, and she was still among the living.  I heard some ancient Roman buried himself with his horse.  (Was it Caligula?  He sure loved his horse.)  Would that be fun for Minnie and me to go to the Great Beyond together or unspeakably cruel?  Guilt might follow me to the Great Beyond.  That wouldn’t be fun at all.

I decided I’d swear my husband to secrecy while at the same time telling everyone I knew in hopes of ascertaining some peace of mind from them.

The next morning my whole world had changed.  My two “friends” definitely felt dramatically different from each other.  Even decision making felt different.  What song to listen to while getting ready for work was problematic.  I was in the mood to listen to Katy Perry’s “Firework,” but there was a cancer patient in the song’s music video, so that choice was out.  Which lotion should I use?  I was in the mood for “Forever Sunshine”.  Sunshine sounded happy, so that was okay, but Forever implied eternity, which I was definitely not ready for.

In the musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” Conrad Birdie sang that he had “Lots of Livin’ To Do”.  I have “Lots of Livin’ to Do” and lots of blogging to do.  I was cleared of any cancer and given a clean bill of health earlier this month.  At the time, I was terrified.  Cancer is no laughing matter. Yet, in hindsight, I hope I will remember the weeks of uncertainty this way, with levity, and not with the panic I felt.

  1. elinwaldal

    I bet there isn’t a woman who has gone through that week of uncertainty that hasn’t had some of those same feelings. Although different, I do remember waiting for results from a massive growth that had been removed from my ovary. My memory is that I felt numb. Not panicked, just quiet. In my heart of hearts I was convinced it would be nothing and I was right. Having cared for, and lost, my husbands Grandmother who died from ovarian cancer, I knew first hand how mean it was. I would hate for my children to ever watch one of their parents die like that. Health should always be valued…

    • Janice Wald

      Thank you for sharing your story. It’s reassuring to know that I wasn’t alone in this. The worst thing about fear is thinking you are all alone and that no one can understand what you’re going through. That is one reason I wanted to share my experience. Thank you again for reaching out. Janice

  2. Garry Rackley

    Janice that was a very heart warming story. I think your reaction was pretty cool but I know the circumstance was terrifying. Your witty humor shines through this story and I really enjoyed it.

    • Janice Wald

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I began the weekend concerned that my readers would be offended by my attempt to use humor to cope with a difficult situation. Instead of finding me offensive, my readers found me relatable! So many women shared their stories, and those of their loved ones with me.

  3. Patty Leonard Woodland

    It’s never easy dealing with life altering illnesses and humor is about the only thing to help keep one sane. And ice cream. Ice cream helps too

    • Janice Wald

      I remember when my mother, who was single at the time I was growing up, was stressed, she’d take Haagan Dazs coffee ice cream with her to bed, and eat it–by the pint!

  4. Claudia Schmidt

    I’m so glad that the scare turned out to be just that, a scare, and not the Big C. Live long and prosper, my friend! And BTW, on your next bucket list, please at least add some wine and ice cream 🙂 xo

    • Janice Wald

      Hi, Are you able to see other comments on the “Heaven Can Wait” blog? Someone else mentioned ice cream too, and I shared my childhood memory of my mother taking Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream by the pint to bed with her when I was a child!
      “Live Long and Prosper”–I totally get your “Star Trek” (Mr. Spock) reference. How I loved that series with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. I may have seen every episode! Thanks for writing.

  5. theoldfellowgoesrunning

    Thank you for sharing this Janice. I could feel the inner turmoil through your words, and as shared above, your humour to help your cope was AMAZING.
    You are a very strong person!

    • Janice Wald

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I can’t tell you how flattered they made me feel. I guess I never thought of myself as a particularly strong person. Your validation meant a lot.
      P.S. Thank you as well for following my blog. I hope to have a variety of topics for all interests.

  6. Pingback: What No One Tells You About…
  7. amommasview

    So glad to hear. Best news ever. Interesting the thoughts you go through, right?

    • Janice Wald

      True! Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop actually picked up the story, and now an anthology I submitted it to called BRUSH WITH DEATH. Thanks for the good thoughts. Thanks also for following my blog. I am touched. Welcome!

          • amommasview

            I get them every now and then. You can check them out under Couples and Your Stories on my blog.

          • Janice Wald

            That’s what I meant– did you GET many love stories. I’m glad you understood what I was asking. =).

          • amommasview


  8. fittoservegroup

    So grateful it was just a scare. Thank God heaven is not ready for you yet. We need more heaven on earth. 🙂

  9. Debbie L

    Oh my, this was actually a great intro. I just went thru a cancer scare, too. I didn’t have time to think, glad I was too busy. Fortunately, the biopsy results came back FAST! No cancer….So now I have time to finish doing what I need to do….and I am way behind in my blogging….

    Thanks for stopping by. I hope to spend some time reading more!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Debbie,
      Thank you for your comments on my article. Where did you find it? It is kind of an old article now. I will look forward to your return visits.

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