When I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2000, I came face-to-face with my own mortality—and learned some profound lessons that transformed my view of reality. I would never sign up for my cancer experience, but neither would I trade away the treasures mined from it.
Above all, I learned to live with the awareness that we all really do have an impending, inescapable appointment awaiting us. We all have an appointment with God. No matter how busy or distracted we are or how distant that appointment may seem, one telephone call can change everything.
My call came when I was a 40-year-old mother of two preschool children and a happily married wife. The following post is Part 6 in “Snapshots of a Mother’s Cancer Experience,” a series that chronicles my journey through diagnosis, surgery, and beyond. (You can find a chronological list of the previous Snapshots here.)
Tuesday, July 25
Roger steers our Toyota into the hospital parking lot and finds a spot near the entrance to my doctor’s medical building. Once inside, we are quickly ushered into a back room. Ironically, this is one time I would have welcomed a long wait in the lobby.
I recognize that abhorrent high-powered contraption gleaming maliciously in a corner of the room. (My last encounter with one of its kind still haunts me.) Following the nurse’s instruction, I strip and slip into a chic paper gown and sit atop the examination table on a cozy paper wrapper. Roger stands beside the table holding my icy hand.
Dr. T enters the room, settles on a stool, and carefully explains everything he will do. When he removes some tissue samples, I feel only a slight pulling. I am thankful for the prayers of my friends.
Then he announces he sees a tumor the size of a dime. Suddenly, I know. We won’t have any conclusive information until the samples are biopsied. But, in this moment, I sense the Holy Spirit gently whisper: “Cancer.”
I pass out.
When I open my eyes, I’m trembling. A nurse offers me a cold glass of apple juice. I gulp it down. A minute later, I vomit into my empty glass. Tasting a combination of cider and stomach acid, I hear Dr. T say if the tumor is cancerous, a hysterectomy is strongly recommended. My ears are ringing.
On our way back from the doctor’s office, Roger stops at the auto repair shop to pick up our 1985 Ford Tempo. He expects me to drive our Toyota home alone. I feel shaky, sad, and somewhat self-pitying about driving—even the short distance from the auto shop to our home—in my post-colposcopy, mid-crisis state. I don’t share these feelings with Roger.
Back home, my dear friend Patty is anxious to hear what we learned. I tell her about the tumor, and how I thought Dr. T said “hysterectomy” if I have cancer. Roger did not hear that. He suggests that, until we receive test results, we take advantage of our ignorance, and rest.
Thankfully, at least for now, I can follow his advice.
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Come back next Monday to read more. And in the mean time, we would love to hear from you! Are you in the midst of a trial? We would love to pray for you.