Owen had an oncology appointment today. Before every oncology appointment, he has an ultrasound to check out the growth of his liver tumor. This procedure usually takes 15 minutes. But today, the time in which it took to take all those pictures of his insides was the emotional equivalent of two days.
Owen, it turns out, is no longer willing to hold still while a stranger presses on his belly in a dark room. It was one of those awful and comical moments where Owen cried so hard he almost threw up and Olive cried because she was convinced the ultrasound tech was trying to kill her brother. We had to turn off Frozen because the combination of the Anna-freezing-to-death scene and Owen’s red-faced screams was too much for me to handle.
And I discovered hospitals do not give free narcotics to moms of babies with tumors in the ultrasound rooms. So don’t bother asking.
I was irritated. The three-inch tumor hasn’t shrunk at all since Owen was born. It’s a vascular tumor that has thankfully remained benign, and Owen’s wonderful oncologist regularly checks it to make sure it hasn’t grown or turned malignant.
But it is supposed to be gone.
And this means it’s not the kind of tumor we hoped it was.
The doctor asked if I had any questions.
No questions, I said. Except for the one I always ask: will it ever be operable?
Because his tumor is vascular, the risks of surgery are too great.
Today, however, I got a different answer.
Maybe, the oncologist said, maybe it will be operable at some point.
There are a lot of contributing factors to this maybe… but it’s still a maybe.
No, it’s not the kind of tumor we had hoped for, but maybe…
I know potential surgery is not everyone’s good news, but it offered a new possibility to Owen’s medical circumstances.
And I went home with that maybe in my pocket.
As Olive, Owen and I left the hospital to pick up Ellia from school, I had one hand in the backseat feeding Owen pretzels while simultaneously trying to throw Olive a juice box. On the drive there were calls to return and plans to make and dinner to think about.
Even after receiving a hope-instilling maybe, the chaotic drive home reminded me of how today needed my attention.
Our tomorrows are full of maybes. And these maybes can be both exciting and frightening—oscillating from hope to despair.
But we live in today.
And today surgery may not be possible—but today the tumor isn’t malignant.
Today was full of yelling and crying and labs—but today was 75 degrees and perfect for pretending to be super heroes in the backyard.
There is grace for today—grace we can miss by becoming lost in the unknowns of tomorrow.
We often waste precious emotional energy on what is uncertain and unpredictable. We offer our resources to anxious speculation when we can take comfort and strength for what we currently have on our plates.
All of us have looming question marks surrounding aspects of our tomorrows. And they can be real and terrifying.
But the grace will be there in those triumphs or storms just like it is today. And every time we experience the presence of God in our todays, we are more prepared to receive and live in the presence of God in our tomorrows.
Tumors are real, but so are games in the backyard with your kids.
We can’t imagine the potential pain of tomorrow, but we also can’t imagine the immense grace God is willing to provide.
Live, live, live today—and then tomorrow, commit to do the same.