It’s been one year ago, today, that I spent 16 hours in an operating room having my innards de-cancered and replumbed and chemoed (none of those words made my spell-check very happy) and removed.
One year ago, today, I was given a second chance at life. If this had happened a decade ago, I would probably be dead right now. The medical advances that have happened are amazing.
As I ponder about everything that happened a year ago, I’m amazed at all of the details that God brought together to save my life.
Let me share just a few with you:
- The cancer was discovered during an outpatient surgery to repair a hernia. The surgeon had never seen anything like it and didn’t know what the mucin was. He referred me to another doctor.
- I had a series of doctors appointments and tests and scans until a rare cancer was suspected and I found myself in the lead surgical oncologist’s office at EVMS.
- My surgeon delayed her vacation a day so she could do my surgery as soon as possible.
- I was told I would be in the hospital for 10-14 days and I went home on day 6.
- After my stay in ICU for 4 1/2 days, I only had Tylenol for pain (I had 52 staples).
- My surgeon had never done this surgery/procedure on a kidney transplant patient. I was her first. My awesome kidney (thank you, Cathy) was a rock star.
- The hospital foyer was mobbed with friends and family who prayed for us and the medical team before the surgery. They made quite an impression on the hospital staff.
- More friends and family took care of my family (and other families waiting for their loved one) in the waiting room. That also made quite an impression on the hospital staff.
- I awoke from anesthesia to find that I still had a belly button and didn’t have to have an ostomy bag.
- The hospital chaplain visited me on day two after surgery. I don’t remember doing this, but apparently (under the influence of pain meds) I boldly preached the whole gospel message to him. He came back to see me every day after that.
- My daughters took notes while hospital staff explained all of the care I would need when I got home. Upon discharge, I needed nothing other than home cooked food and some rest. I was very weak and thin, but everything in my body was working as it should be.
- And again, friends and family took shifts hanging out with me and feeding me until I could move around on my own and had gained a few pounds.
I feel totally undeserving of this miraculous healing I have received. I feel undeserving of all of the attention and care I received from everyone.
All I know is that God used this cancer road to grow me in many ways. Let me share a few of them with you:
- I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. There’s something about knowing you might not be on this earth for very long that prompts you to share the most important message ever.
- I’m not afraid to die. I don’t want to die mainly because I don’t want my family and friends to suffer, but I’m not afraid of death. It is my entrance into eternal life with Christ!
- I can’t get enough of the Word of God. It is my life line to sanity. It is God’s own words to me, written down so I can study them and He can speak to me through them.
- My desire to own stuff has diminished. Stuff only gets in your way and is temporary.
- I have a much broader picture of the legacy I am leaving behind. It’s not my memory or my work that will be remembered. It’s my small part of the big things God is doing in the lives of other people. It is God’s work and I get to be a part of it – for however long He says I can.
Lord, you created my body and you sustain it. Thank you for the miraculous way you brought my sick body back to health. You know every detail of my life and only you know how long I will live on earth. Help me to make the most of every minute and to share your love with everyone. Thank you for the people who were part of your plan to take care of me. Thank you for the sacrifices they made to help me. Please bless them, Lord. I want to walk with you each day and read your words. What happens next, Lord? I’m waiting with anticipation.