If you missed the first part of the story, it's here: Cinco de Mayo.
There I am, a beautiful sunny day in southern California. Enjoying life with my kids playing in the yard. My phone rings and it's the ER doctor. How strange? Why is the doctor from the ER calling me at home to ask how I'm feeling? Did they give me the wrong medicine or mess something up? No, wait...what did he just say? A tumor? How is that possible?
The ER doc was nice and explained to me that the radiologist remembered me when he was looking at my films from my chest x-ray (don't miss God in this story. The Naval Medical Center in San Diego is HUGE and the radiologist remembered me?). The radiologist thought it was strange for a 26 year old, otherwise healthy woman, to have pneumonia twice in one year, so he pulled my x-rays from earlier in the year. He then laid them one over the other and realized that we were not just dealing with pneumonia, but with a growth in the right, lower lobe of my lung. I believe with everything in me, that the radiologist was hearing the still, small voice of God that prompted him to pull both scans and do a comparison. This was above and beyond the call of duty. Another serviceman doing his job, saving lives...
ER Doctor goes on to explain that there are 5 possible things the growth could be, 4 of the 5 options were going to result in major surgery. The last two we discussed were lung cancer or a carcinoid tumor (still cancer, just an extremely rare, slow-growing form). There it is...that word...the one we're taught to fear. Who teaches us to fear cancer? Life, some things in life (most of the really important things) are caught not taught.
I hung up the phone and looked out my kitchen window at my precious children playing in the yard. I cried out to Jesus, because I knew this was going to be a huge loss in their childhood, one that would shape who they became and if they could trust Him. My first thought, in that moment, was for my children. Uncertainty and doubt began to creep in. I picked up the phone and made one of the most difficult phone calls of my life. I called the man, who loves me more than life itself, and told him of our now uncertain future. I struggled as I formed the words to share the need for further testing that would involve invasive procedures to diagnose the tumor. Marty was my rock that day. He is the rock of our family. Quietly serving the Lord and never swaying in his conviction of God's goodness and mercy.
A series of phone calls and a trip to the yard to tell my Dad the news. Man, you cannot begin to imagine what this day was like. My family members and friends fell apart and I was encouraging them. Jesus would walk through this with me. I knew it. I understood for the first time in my life what the "peace that passes understanding" truly is. It's looking death in the face and knowing that your future is secure. It's resting fully in the provision of salvation that Jesus made on the cross. The knowledge that in death or in life, I belong to Jesus and my sweet Jesus belongs to me. If you don't know this peace, please, message me. I would consider an honor to introduce you to my friend, Jesus.
Testing began and for all who have negative things to say about military medicine, let me say, that I received top-notch care. I became priority number one, for many doctors. The bronchiscopy that was done (this is where they run a small camera and some instruments down through your nasal passage and into your lung) was inconclusive. So, a tumor board convened. The top doctors at Naval Medical Center San Diego held a conference about little old me. They decided it must be a carcinoid tumor from the images that were taken and scheduled surgery.
Meanwhile, my church family and friends were praying for healing. God clearly spoke to me and I knew, there would be no "sudden-healing." I was going to walk through this storm with my eyes fixed on Jesus. It was a long and painful six weeks from diagnosis to surgery, but I had that perfect peace from beginning to end. My surgery was successful. It took longer than planned. I had the lower lobe of my right lung removed by lobectomy. I was told to expect a 24 hour stay in ICU and then 7-10 days in the hospital. I bypassed ICU went straight to a regular room. Had surgery on Monday, May 5th and left the hospital on Friday, May 9th. God is faithful! My six week recovery took about 3 weeks. God is faithful. Sometimes, He brings sudden-healing, sometimes He asks us to trust Him to walk through the fire with us. Those 2-3 months were some of the most defining moments of my faith. God is faithful!
I hope this story encourages you. I also hope you don't worry for me. I am followed by a team of specialists and just passed 4 years of clean tests. Due to the fact that my cancer is so slow growing, I will have 10 years of testing before I'm considered, "Cancer Free." I am not worried. I know, who holds tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after...
God has a plan for each of our lives. I'm thankful to be here, everyday, to watch my children grow in the Lord. I'm thankful to be following God obediently down this path to Joseph and Samuel. I thankful to belong to HIM!
Hidden in Christ,