Not entirely sure what that title has to do with anything…sometimes the title of the book doesn’t always make sense, but that’s how I feel.
This seems to be a theme. Me writing, not long after surgery. Hopefully, that theme ends here. This time I am down a little bit of lung, with a small tumor having been taken off of each. We got here because, after a few rounds into my current treatment (Keytruda), it was not clear if the treatment was working. The two small lung tumors that had been noted on my previous scan were still there and had gotten bigger. The question was, “how long was it safe to stay on our current path in hopes of future improvement?” No one knew. It was a fine line between giving it time to work and waiting too long and causing potentially irreversible damage.
My Doctor sent out an email (as she has done the previous three times) to three different Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Centers, where they treat more Choriocarcinoma than Vanderbilt, to get expert opinions once again. Some of the responses she received included comments such that we were in a truly unknown, data-free zone, and that this may be the only chance of curing me. One of the experts even apologized that they didn’t have anymore bright ideas.
Dismal to say the least. Their responses made me more thankful than ever that I have a hope in a future that is not dependent upon man’s abilities or knowledge.
With their insight, along with much prayer, as well as welcomed encouragement via a drop in my tumor marker number, surgery and more treatment is where we were directed. So I got to see yet another specialist, this time in the form of a Thoracic Surgeon, and surgery was put on the books.
I’m on the flip side now with a few new incisions and bruises, especially from the chest tubes. Although I’m exhausted and every deep breath comes with a reminder of pain, I can confidently advise if one must choose between kidney surgery and lung surgery–go with the lungs every time! I am able to move without assistance, so life is good!
At a recent visit to the hospital, I got a fresh reminder of God’s ever-presence in the midst of my situation, proving once again, that He sees, He cares, and He has a plan. One example of this happened at our church’s women’s prison ministry. We provide a handful of resources, but also offer a Sunday service for inmates 2-3 weeks out of each month. One Sunday I was privileged to share some of my story there. A particular inmate was excited to meet me as she had recently been diagnosed with bone cancer. She had broken her femur, had begun chemo, and was actively losing her hair. She resides in the infirmary there and is therefore unable to come to the Sunday service, however, we planned to visit her afterwards.
Of course, it was not that easy. Someone “just happened” to be waxing the floors in the infirmary and therefore we were prevented from going in. They left the inmates in there of course, but would not allow us in. Disappointed, we left, hoping for a chance another day. The very next morning, I walk into the cancer lab waiting room as I always do. This time though, I noticed something different. In the corner was a bald inmate in a wheelchair with an obvious leg injury, accompanied by two prison guards, one of whom I recognized from the day before at the prison. Without having ever met this woman, I knew exactly who she was. No floor waxing was going to keep my God from setting up a meeting between us where I was then able to introduce myself, explain how I knew who she was and talk with her for some time.
Our conversation was interrupted by us separately being called back for bloodwork, yet ending up sitting next to each other, her smiling and waving, even through her pain as they moved her from her wheelchair to the lab chair. The guards graciously allowed me to go get her breakfast, which she later reported was the first bagel from a shop she had ever had. She doesn’t get to go home after her chemo treatments. She returns to a hard bed with cement and metal surrounding her. Nor is she allowed visitors during treatments like I was so accustomed to and which helped me ease the feeling of being imprisoned myself. Our simple interaction was brief, but it was monumental, and I trust it will not be the last. Through it, I hope that she was reminded that she is seen and she is cared for in the same way I have been.
It is often these small reminders that mean the most. If we look for it, His presence is made known to us all around. If we are constantly distracted, however, He will be showing Himself but we will not see it. He doesn’t have to prove Himself to us, but out of His love for us, He reveals His presence and shows His love on a whole new level.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38