I Shall Not WantMay 21, 2021
I shall not want, I shall not want. Oh, my soul’s got a shepherd in the valley and I shall not want. I shall not want, I shall not want. ‘Cause my cup’s running over, running over and I shall not want. (Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music)
For the past weeks, I have been playing this song because I feel the strong need to be grounded on contentment and gratitude, because I am in the phase of recovery where I began wanting.
In the last 3 years, I was laser focused with cancer treatments. I only wanted to be cancer-free. And now that I am, I began noticing the milestones—education, career, and relationship milestones—of my peers. I began to envy. I began wanting for more.
Last March 4, almost a year since I was declared in remission and 6 months since my last scan, I had another PET/CT. The scan says that I am still in remission. The result concludes that although the masses in my chest and kidneys remain, there are no hypermetabolic nodal and extranodal disease. I rejoice! But for a moment, I wanted a clean scan, where there are no masses. I want more.
Because my PET/CT was favorable, my urologist agreed for a stent removal. Hence, on March 11, I underwent an outpatient procedure—cystoscopy, removal of J stent, right, under general anesthesia. Being back in the Operating Room, I felt a little melancholic. Before going under anesthesia, I was staring at the scrub nurse as he prepares instruments that I can identify, and I thought, that could have been me. That should have been me. I was thankful to my surgical team but I envied them. My role as the perioperative nurse was turned as the patient. I wanted to stand next to them, not lie on the table. I want more.
On April 13, I celebrated my cancerversary—3 years since a mass was found in the middle of my chest. This day was bittersweet. I was happy that I am still here. But I was also sad of how cancer has limited my present and scared of how cancer will affect my future. I do not want to just exist. I want to live. I want more.
On April 21, I had a diuretic renography. Although there were no urinary obstructions, my right kidney function was diminished. Honestly, I already expected the result because of the presence of the masses. But I was still disappointed. I wanted normal kidney functions. I want more.
My periodic tests and consultation were moved from every 3 weeks to monthly. My post transplant medicines were mostly maintained. My immunosuppressants—including a steroid—were decreased a little. Only a little. The steroid that is saving me from graft-versus-host disease is also the same steroid that is sabotaging my self-image. I do not want the moon face. I do not want the buffalo hump. I want a proportionate body. I want more.
I was ashamed for wanting. I was ashamed for being envious. But I have always known what to do—I come to Jesus. Only Jesus can take away my shame. Only Jesus can truly fulfill the longings behind these wants. I have to remember Psalm 23—the Lord is my Shepherd. I have to remember how he walked with me through the valley of the shadow of death. I have to remember where I was to better appreciate where I am.
On May 17, I celebrated my first rebirth day—exactly 365 days from transplant, the day I received the stem cells of my sister. I am humbled and grateful to the Lord for this milestone. I shall not want outside of the Lord’s plan and purpose for me. My desires must align with the Lord’s desires. My Shepherd is taking good care of me. I lack nothing.