There is something about our expectations. I don’t for a moment think that I’m on to something new but there is real value in reminding ourselves that generally speaking, dashed expectations create the greatest disappointments for us, even more than what might be called actual disappointments. It seems odd but it seems to be the case. I wonder if this is the source of a fascinating study . . .
This is where I left my blog post last Sunday when I began, but didn’t finish it. I didn’t get it done until now because I have been working through some of the outcomes of expectations myself. Let’s just grasp the nettle here, I am now a cancer survivor. I have been avoiding language like that because I don’t want my own experience to in any way be considered equivalent to all the people I know who have faced far more dangerous cancers. So this is how it happened.
On July 8 I went to the hospital to have a cyst or mole or whatever removed by a plastic surgeon. When I inquired about it with my GP she referred me to one of the other doctors in their practice and he referred me to the plastic surgeon, my understanding being that as it was on my forehead he wanted to get a professional to deal with it to minimize “disfigurement.” On Monday morning, July 28 or the Monday just past, I went to the office of the plastic surgeon for a follow up. I was prepared to deliver some remarks about his general competence as the stitches let go within a few days leaving me with a much larger hole than I would have expected on my forehead. I was expecting some conversation about the recovery and him trying to explain why it wasn’t his fault that I have this gaping wound in my head! I further expected some medical foot shuffling and looking away when his eyes widened somewhat when I came in and he saw the wound. What I was not expecting was to be told that what he removed was a Basal-cell carcinoma and that all indications were that he got it all and there is nothing further to worry about or to do other than to let a medical person know if something similar shows up some time in the future.
You could have knocked me over with a feather. Needless to say I didn’t spend any time discussing his general competence as a suture-r, instead I took the few minutes I had with him to make sure I understood him correctly that a) this had been cancer; and, b) it was gone. By the way, he wants me to come back because he is pretty sure he can minimize the scarring after I am completely healed.
So, expectations . . . they do all kinds of things to you. I had not the slightest inkling that I might have cancer. I was completely unprepared for this revelation and it knocked me off my pins for the rest of the week, assuming I have regained them now. I didn’t know how to describe it to people in my family let alone the people I worked with who were concerned about this “cut” on my forehead. I started a FaceBook post several times and in the end used one that Heather, may she be blessed, wrote for me, you can find it below if you don’t want to go find it on FaceBook, because I just couldn’t find a way to express it without being maudlin or dismissive. I will never know but I wonder what I would have felt about it if I had some indication that I was getting a cancer removed? What would those expectations have turned the experience into? And for that matter, what would these sermons have been?
Knox Presbyterian Seven more years. Wait. What?
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Seven more years. Wait. What?
As always, thanks for reading and listening.
Heather’s post for me to use on Facebook:
Hey! I don’t have cancer anymore! “What?” you say, “I didn’t know you had cancer!” Neither did I! A couple of weeks ago I had a cyst removed from my forehead. No biggie (except for the new hole in my head). Yesterday, I went for my follow-up appointment with the plastic surgeon. Turns out I had basal cell carcinoma. But, it’s already all gone. God is so good, I found out I had cancer about 5 seconds before I found out I don’t have cancer anymore. Hallelujah!