Buddy System

So… where was I? Mascara on, Ed drove crazy and wedding ring wouldn’t slide off. Perfect prerequisites for a successful surgery! Hah!

The anesthesiologist came in to meet me and start the IV. He was a young, college grad from the east coast and had the BEST bedside manners.   Right as he was about to poke me, another anesthesiologist arrived and introduced himself. He was training the young guy and I don’t know what their working relationship is like, but… Young Guy began shaking like crazy. I thought I must have been imagining it until I glanced at Ed who was looking at me with big eyes and gritted teeth. THEN, ANOTHER anesthesiologist who looked like a mini-body builder walked in and the shaking increased. Luckily, Young Guy had numbed my hand before Trainer and Body Builder made their entrances and I was unable to feel much of the shaky needle rooting around. Whew!

And… that was just the beginning of this crazy buddy system.

Minutes later I was wheeled into the operating room and EVERYONE had a buddy or two. There were at LEAST 10 doctor people in the OR for my not-so-major surgery.

The surgery only took 45 minutes and probably would have been shorter if the room had been less crowded. I mean, I have no idea because I was sleeping, but it’s a thought!

The minute I started to wake up in recovery, I began moaning and crying out in pain. I kept thinking, “This should not be hurting this much.”

It took 2 hours to get the pain under control.

My nurse was amazing and determined to find the right drug combinations to get me through this. Ed was allowed to come back, and between the two of them I was in good hands. I found it interesting that my nurse was taking care of several people on her own without an appointed buddy!

I was finally able to sit-up without being overly nauseas. Ed went to get the car and a wheelchair arrived for me. The guy pushing my wheelchair drove like Eddie— fast and confident. He whirled around the hallway corners and I thought I was going to lose it.

By the time I was loaded up in our minivan, I felt so sick again.

I reminded Ed I was super-queasy and asked if we could REALLY take it slow getting home. He, of course, agreed and then gunned it as he pulled out in front of a car and raced through a yellow light all while still on Stanford’s campus. True story. That guy!

I was happy to get home and rest. My good buddy, Wendy, brought dinner over for my family— quinoa chili—and I was so grateful.

There are so many fun applications I could make from this story, but one thought is resonating with me right now. A life long prayer of mine has been asking Jesus to get the junk out of my heart. I’m so tired of my wrong attitudes and insecurities and ANYTHING that keeps me from living a life of freedom.

I want more of Christ and less of me.

I want my broken places healed and I want to be different because of Jesus living in me.

It is very much like surgery. The recovery can be long and painful as we allow Jesus to heal our hurts. It is a process of surrender and obedience.

I am once again asking Jesus to take the next layer of junk out of my life. I can hardly stand what I am seeing in myself. He is faithful and I trust Him and it helps to have a spiritual buddy like the Holy Spirit!

And… just to wrap up those surgery prerequisites…

Mascara was smeared all over my face from all the crying in recovery…

My wedding ring stayed on, covered up with all kinds of tape…

And even though Eddie is a crazy driver, he is my best friend and buddy for life.

That guy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the Scene

Surgery was scheduled for 7:00 a.m., which doesn’t sound horrible until you factor in a 5:00 a.m. arrival time and a 90 minute commute. It was a night of no sleep and we were out the door by 3:30 — after I took a shower and applied mascara! I’m not sure why I wanted to wear mascara, but at the time, it seemed like a priority.

My friend, Brook, came up with the brilliant idea of starting 12 games of Words With Friends to distract me from Ed’s scary driving over Highway 17. I think Eddie would say he’s a confident driver who has the road memorized from years of commuting, but I literally can hardly take it and it’s best if I escape with an app on my phone.

We arrived in record time (no traffic plus Ed’s driving) and began our hike to the cancer center in complete darkness.   Kind of strange they don’t light up the trek. I would swear it is a 2 mile walk, but it comes up 0.4 miles on map-quest… BUT… that doesn’t include getting to ground level out of the parking garage… so… 2 miles!

SO many people were checking in for surgery. We were all politely trying to race one another to the front desk. Sensitive but determined. Hah!

Ed wasn’t allowed to come back with me for the initial prep, which is totally great because he definitely doesn’t need to be there for the weigh-in! I couldn’t believe how many beds were lined up down the narrow room— probably 25 on each side, separated by only a thin drape which meant that while Ed wasn’t hearing how much I weigh, everyone else was.

The nurse began obsessing on my wedding ring because I could not take it off (ties in with the not-wanting-Ed-to-know-my-weight comment). She also was fascinated by my diagnosis of Lynch Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that greatly increases the chance of developing colon cancer.

I just now googled Lynch Syndrome to get the exact definition and I can’t believe what a textbook case I am. It says that people with Lynch may have:

  • Colon cancer before age 45 (I was 44)
  • A family history of colon cancer (for SURE)
  • A family history of endometrial (uterine) cancer (check and CHECK: it’s in my family AND I had it)

AND…..

  • A 40 percent chance of developing a second primary colon cancer within 7 years of the first.

IT’S BEEN EXACTLY 7 YEARS!

I am in shock.

AND…

I should have stopped reading there!

It goes on to list the other cancers people with Lynch Syndrome get.

Pause for a freak-out moment.

I’ve heard all of this before— had genetic counseling— and then life went on. But, realizing I’m a classic case following the script to a tee is quite disconcerting.

(My freak-out moment is interrupting my originally scheduled post!)

What does knowing all this really change?

What do I choose to set as the backdrop of my life?

(These next few sentences are greatly influenced by my cousin Ron and also Ann Voskamp.)

Picture seeing a play in a theater. The theater itself is just a room. Possibly cold, dark and ugly, BUT… the backdrop dictates what you are seeing.

I am choosing to view my life through the backdrop of:

God is always good and I am always loved.

Everything in my life is set against those premises. And… the backdrop always remains unchanged. It’s an outlook of gratitude knowing Jesus is walking with me.

Well, I’m completely off my original script of writing about the surgery.

So… more to come about that day, Ed’s driving, and my need to lose weight! Hah! Way too dramatic over here!