Monday, March 5, 2012

Three Years and a Brief Moment in Time

by Suzie Johnson
Today is a day I’ve been working toward for three years. By the time you read this, I will have driven an hour out of town to spend my day sitting in an airplane hangar (most likely a very cold airplane hangar) taking a four-and-a-half hour licensing exam for my job as a cancer registrar. Since just about a year before Inkwell was founded, I’ve been taking college classes while working full time with this goal firmly in mind. Many things were sacrificed along the way, but once I’m finished with the exam, I can reclaim some huge areas of my life. Dust bunnies, arm yourselves because you’re my first target.

For those who don’t know, a cancer registrar is an oncology data specialist. Cancer registrars provide the foundation for cancer research. Our data is used to make decisions regarding the effectiveness of treatments. Every cancer statistic you hear about in the news or from the American Cancer Society or the healthcare industry is derived from data gathered by cancer registrars. For this reason, I’m proud to be a cancer registrar, a job that I’ve dedicated to several people in my life who have had cancer. My mother and aunt have survived their bout with cancer, but three dear sweet ladies I knew and cared deeply about did not.

It goes without saying that cancer registry data must be 100% accurate. That is perhaps the biggest reason why we have to go through the grueling exam that only an average of 60-70% of people pass the first time.

One thing I’ve learned through this process is just how difficult it is to work and go to school. I have a new appreciation for young mothers working their way through school while working a job and taking care of their kids. I honestly don’t know how they do it without a lot of prayer and a lot of help.

My Inky Sisters (I affectionately call them Inksters) have been so kind and understanding when I’ve had to take a break from blogging because I was overwhelmed with too many difficult classes. I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for being so considerate of me, for praying me through my exams, covering for me when I needed to take a break from posting, and for supporting me in my goal. You all are the very best, and I am so blessed to have you and our readers in my life.

Amazingly, for the last few weeks, I’ve been strangely calm about the exam. This is truly out of the ordinary for me. While I tell my mom and others who are close to me not to worry, I don’t always practice what I preach. At first I worried that maybe I wasn’t taking it seriously enough. Shouldn’t I be worrying about the outcome of the exam? Shouldn’t I be stressed?

There I was worrying about not worrying, stressing about not stressing. Something was very wrong with that picture and I had to sit down and evaluate my thought process. Finally, I realized I needed to quit worrying about not worrying because God has given me the incredible gift of peace. I just need to grab onto it and be thankful I’m not making myself sick over the process.

It’s so much nicer and more relaxing to feel peace rather than terror. I can only pray I’ll feel the same way if I don’t pass the exam, so I will appreciate any prayers anyone wants to say on my behalf for calm, clarity, and recall, because I really don’t want to have to take the exam again in September.

Check back in a few hours (okay, six or seven due to driving time) and I’ll let you know if I passed my exam. If I don’t pass, you’ll find me crying in my iced tea and hopefully remembering to pray in spite of the disappointment. If I pass, I’ll be celebrating with a nice chocolate mousse at Azteca. It will be worth the extra hour of driving because seriously, they have the best mousse I’ve ever had.

How do you think I should celebrate if I do pass the exam? How do you celebrate life’s victories?

Suzie Johnson has won several awards for her inspirational novels (writing as Susan Diane Johnson), including the Maggie, Lone Star, Heart of the West, and Beacon awards, and has been a finalist in the Touched by Love, Finally A Bride, Linda Howard Award for Excellence, and Virginia's Fool For Love contests. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and is a cancer registrar at her local hospital. The mother of a wonderful young man who makes her proud every day, she lives with her husband and naughty little cat on an island in the Pacific Northwest. And although the beaches are rocky instead of sandy, lined with Madronas and Evergreens instead of Palm trees, and the surf is much too cold for wading, it is still the perfect spot for writing romantic fiction. You can visit her blog, Suzie's Writing Place at


  1. Thanks for sharing this piece of your life with us, Suzie. As I paused to pray for your test while reading, I felt an incredible wash of peace as well. Be blessed.

  2. Thank you, Dina! I'm getting ready to leave now and I'm still amazingly peaceful.

  3. Such a huge milestone, Suzie! We are all cheering you on :)

  4. What an accomplishment, Suzie. We are SO proud of you!

  5. Praying for all to go well.

    How exciting!

    Let us know how you did. :D

  6. I've been praying for you, Suzie, and all the Inkies... and other friends... throughout the day. Seems like every time I blink, another face comes to mind and I lift that person up.

    You are so inspiring, Suzie. I couldn't have worked a full time job, taken classes, taken care of a home, and sold a book all at the same time.

    How would I celebrate? Borrowing from Inky Susie... a nice cup of tea and a relaxing chair with my feet up, without a laptop in my lap. :D

  7. Yipee! I passed my test and it's due to all of your prayers! Thank you all!

    Dina, thank you for sharing you felt peace when you prayed. It really gave me an extra infusion of peace.

    Jen, thank you for the cheers!

    Niki, thank you for the encouragement! I appreciate it!

    DeAnna and Anita, thank you for praying.

    Anita, you are inspiring to me, too!

    I'm not home yet. I decided to brave the wind and drive to Barnes and Noble. I ran into some snow. Yikes. I'm hoping it stays light until I gat back down to 200 feet. Lol.

  8. Wahooo Suzie! We are all so proud of you. You've worked so hard to reach this day. I don't know how you did it--your dedication has been inspiring.

    Enjoy your mousse. And the B&N -- get something fun. You've more than earned it!

  9. Thanks, Susie! My trip to B&N was fun. I found a game book called Sukendo. It's a mash-up of Sudoku and Kakuro and Fusion. I don't know what those last two are, but it looks fun. I also found another game for Anita Mae and I to play on the train.


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