The Waiting
June 27, 2023

This is the toughest part of the cancer thing. The waiting. Waiting for surgery. Waiting for another scan (a PET scan, the one after which I’ll be radioactive) in two days, waiting to know about treatment.

I’d like to say I’m waiting patiently, but that would be a blatant lie. Sleep is long in coming at night, my temper is short, I’m easily irritated and way more impatient with Mom and Jim than they deserve.

We’re all flawed, but I feel especially flawed right now. As a person of faith, sometimes I feel like I should be able to take this in stride, to be positive, blah, blah, blah. But that’s not really what faith is. Martin Luther King said it like this:

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Martin Luther King

We’ve all seen this quote it so much that maybe we don’t really think about what it means anymore. I’m thinking about it today, though. I cannot see this staircase. I don’t know what is going to happen, don’t know what treatment will look like, and I have no idea what recovery after surgery will look like. But I’m taking every step, every day, walking into the unknown and just trying to get through it.

Faith doesn’t mean you’re not scared, anxious, and, honestly, a little pissed off. What my faith means to me is that I can be scared, anxious, pissed, and God can handle that. After all, we’re made with emotions for a reason. Real, authentic faith doesn’t mean you don’t have normal feelings — for me it means that I can find peace, comfort, love, and support through my faith, family, and community.

So in the waiting, I’m keeping my mind working. Still maintaining my The New York Times crossword puzzle streak — as of today, it’s at 184, my longest ever and I’m gunning for 200. I’m studying Spanish (aprendiendo español) and taking an online iPhone photography course. I just got back from the farmers market, where I bought some beautiful cucumbers, grape tomatoes, squash and zucchini. I’m vicariously enjoying my sister and brother-in-law’s trip to London. Tonight we’ll watch the Cardinals take on the Astros, cross our fingers and hope for the best (this isn’t our best season by a longshot). I’ll keep binging Top Chef with Mom. Tonight we’ll enjoy tacos, because it is Taco Tuesday after all.

The only way to get through the waiting is to … wait. But while I wait I have fun and look for beauty. If you follow me online, you might be sick of flower photos, but they delight and fascinate me in ways I can’t help but share. Like the view out my office window as I write this. Each day I go out and just walk around the patio, looking at the flowers. They bring me joy and peace and calm my anxious mind.

I enjoy this view so much; I’ve worked hard planting the patio and getting it to look this good. Flowers make me so happy.

I have so much support from my entire family, church family, and my online community that I do not have to go through this alone. The more we open ourselves up to others, the more we are able to understand real love — the kind of love that keeps us going when things get really rough (like now). We’re all going through something. Open your heart and mind to those who care about you and you’ll be surprised how much others can lift you up.

Thanks, y’all.


  1. Vikki Harrison

    I remember the waiting. And the “ I think I understand what is next” stage and the “uh maybe I don’t understand what is next or at least not everything” stage and repeat. You’ve got this! So keep leaning into family, friends, and faith. And when there is something we can do, please let us know.

    • beth g sanders

      Thank you, Vikki. You nailed it. That is so comforting and encouraging.

  2. Anonymous

    I have been thinking about you and praying for you so much. I know the waiting is so strenuous.!
    Just give me a answer already!!
    Faith is fine until you have to use it and then it becomes a much bigger thing.
    The Lord knows are coming and are going when we take the next breath.
    He is in control of it all.

    • beth g sanders

      Thanks so much for your words — they mean a lot and help me feel so supported.


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