(I’m backing up to the day I received all the pre-surgery pathology news and how that day unfolded as the lowest point of the 3 month ordeal. This was the Monday following car trouble).
I was headed over highway 17 for a doctor appointment at the Stanford Clinic in Los Gatos. I had allowed no extra time as this is generally an easy commute. As I came down the backside of the summit, the traffic stopped and was backed up due to roadwork. Siri offered the brilliant idea of taking Old Santa Cruz Highway to save 10 minutes. I foolishly listened to her, ending up lost and eventually back on 17 heading the WRONG direction. By the time I turned around and got headed in the RIGHT direction, I was SO much farther back in the line-up. I was going to be 30 minutes late!
I tell you all this, simply to have you feel my pain. Misery loves company!
I phoned ahead to the clinic and they were very gracious and willing to work me in. This doctor appointment was completely unrelated to my current medical crisis, but just happened to land in the middle of it all. This was my yearly check-in with my gynecological oncologist because I had had uterine cancer.
My gyn-onc is SUPER young and SUPER cute and looks exactly like Josh Groban…you know, the charming guy who sings, You Raise Me Up. As Dr. Groban (haha) entered the room, he solemnly looked at me and said, “How are you?”
“Oh brother,” I thought, “he’s read the report.”
This is the report from the ultrasound that I was supposed to call about but didn’t due to car trouble.
Then he said…
“So they’ve found some cancer and will need to take a large part of your colon out.”
I didn’t cry, although I could tell he was anticipating that because he did another…
He began going over the report with me and I just kept thinking, “This is not his specialty. He could be wrong.”
I tried to explain what my doctor had been talking with me about and he replied, “Well. MAYBE that would work. I mean, they do a lot of crazy, sci-fi stuff up there.”
In other words…
The rest of the exam was uneventful— always a good thing when seeing a cancer specialist— and I called my gastro oncologist the minute I was in my car, leaving a message about wanting ultrasound results.
As I pulled into my garage an hour later, my phone rang and it was my doctor. She began explaining the test showed pre-cancer with definite hints of stage 1 cancer. She then stated that I had two options. The first one (and I quote)…
“We could remove most of your colon.”
I couldn’t breathe.
… remove the mass, rectally, and test it further— which was her recommendation.
Ummmm. YEAH— the second one!
She ended the conversation with, “It’s not bad news… YET.”
I hung up the phone and cried A LOT and realized I wasn’t taking breaths. I was screaming in my mind,
“You HAVE to breathe! Take a breath.”
This was the lowest point of this journey.
Eddie and I spent a lot of time talking that night. Sometimes you have to embrace the potential bad news— let it land and then give it right back to God. Ed allowed me to share my fears and grief and after awhile, took my hand and prayed over me.
This day happened before my sweet friend had given me the amazing word picture of walking with Jesus. As I’ve gone back and thought about these hard moments, God has given me an add-on image of my relationship with him. Now, I’m not a poetic person who uses analogies on a regular basis, but this is seriously helping me walk through life with a different attitude.
So… here goes….
I picture the same scene of me as a little girl walking with Jesus, only now he has lifted me up on his shoulders. I think of Eddie and all those camping trips to Yosemite where he inevitably ended up with Olivia on his shoulders as we hiked. Sometimes the heat and dust were unbearable, but Ed never seemed to mind. Olivia would wrap her arms around his head and cup her hands under his chin. She would playfully enjoy the excursion and her view would be so different up there—complete trust in her dad to carry her along as she enjoyed looking at Half Dome, the Merced River and the valley.
THAT’S my new addition to the image of ME trusting Jesus. He is carrying me. As Josh Groban beautifully sings,
“I am strong, when I am on your shoulders.”
Jesus is my strength as I allow him to carry me through this.
Isaiah 12:2 “The Lord is my strength and my song.”
And… speaking of a song…
It’s only fitting that I end this post with Josh Groban’s, You Raise Me Up. (My doctor looks SO MUCH like him. Kinda freaky. Haha.)
(I like this version because it reminds me of my dancer, Jessica.)