With apologies to my friend Bill Hamilton: I don’t like Florida. Good people there but it is just too darn hot and steamy – and the mosquitos…..like a biblical plague. Enough about that. This is a long post and I hope no one will be offended by it. I hope you will please read all of it.
This is one of those rambling posts and eventually, I’ll get to the points about the kindness of unstrangers (one of my favorite topics) and to tell you all, God’s not dead. Please don’t stop reading because this is an important post and concerns a diagnosis of cancer. I know many of you do not believe in the existence of a supreme being for whatever reason. And that is cool. I neither condemn nor attempt to convert. I just want you all to know: God’s not dead.
Six years ago, I should have died from uterine cancer, but I did not. Six years ago, I was not feeling well, was constantly tired, in pain, troublesome symptoms. I had scheduled an appointment with my MD and based on things I had told her, she determined I needed more of an exam rather than just the usual. It happens on that day, she was not able to come into the office so her PA (physicians assistant) took her calls. Being a bit hypervigilant, he examined me and took the procedure a little further than usual. A week later, my PAP smear came back with an abnormal reading. I was sent to a specialist who biopsied and then two weeks later, I found out I had uterine cancer.
Uterine cancer is normally a killer. It mimics other diseases and symptoms and because PAP smears usually are not taken from higher up than normal but this one time, the PA went higher. Because of his vigilance, the cancer was caught at virtually ground zero. Women usually die from this cancer because it is usually found and diagnosed too late.
The week before this diagnosis, I was teaching my adult Sunday School about acceptance and God’s timing. Tuesday, I was told about the cancer. I’ll be honest; I felt like I was sucker punched. I sat in my car and wept and shivered and wept some more. I kept hugging to myself that God would take care of me. I told myself over and over that what God brings me to, He will carry me through by His grace. I assured myself that the oncologist I was referred to, would take care of me. I went to him that afternoon because of the diagnosis. He told me it was nothing short of miraculous the uterine cancer had been found so early. That there was hope for my recovery. I then went home and told my family.
Telling my family was the hardest part. My mother was angry. She said that I didn’t deserve this, that I was a good person and God had no right to do this to me. My husband looked like I had kicked him in the family jewels and just stared. I was calm. I told them it would be okay that I believed, however it turned out, that it would be okay. The oncologist (one of THE best in Richmond for women’s cancers) would be taking care of me and was optimistic about my recovery. I had faith in the love of God and His plans for me.
I told myself this over and over and over. People at my church prayed for me and my family. People who didn’t know me prayed, sent their positive thoughts, vibrations, wishes…I was so surrounded by love and light from so many people, many of them strangers.
The day came for my surgery. I would be in hospital on my birthday – I took note of the irony of that. Now this is the really hard part. I know people are going to scoff at this but that’s okay too. My family and some friends were sitting in the waiting room, waiting to hear how things went and would go in the future. My husband said the doctor, when he came out was very still and had an odd look on his face. He thought to himself, he’s going to tell us she died, that she will die, that it is hopeless. My mother began crying.
The doctor then said, the surgery went well. When I opened her up, the parts that had shown up on the MRI and PET were clean. There was no cancer – everything was as clean as when I was born, no lymphatic problems, no cancer. He went ahead and performed the surgery to be on the safe side. He shook his head and told them, “This is a first for me. Your wife, your daughter is fine.” He then shook hands with everyone there and went back to perform another surgery. My mother said people began to cheer and hug each other. When my family was allowed to see me, they told me what had happened. Truly, it turned out okay. So again I say, God’s not dead.
For some reason, I was given this incredible miracle. No, it was not a mistaken diagnosis. I saw the results of the tests showing the infected parts of my body. I got a second opinion and went back to my oncologist.
I have been in Florida with my mother. She is currently in a rehab health center. She had decided to give up and starve herself to death and came really close. the week before I went down, every time the phone rang, I expected it. She asked me to please bring her some good juicy tangy Southern tomatoes. I made her tomato sandwiches twice a day while I was there and she ate every bite. I spoke to the Doctor and dietician about what she was being fed (pureed food that looked like a combo of pig puke and cow poop and smelled about the same) and why? So now she is being fed regular food and doing okay with it. We all know hospital food ain’t the best, but she is eating some of the food off her tray every day and drinking her nutritional supplement. She has gained four pounds. From being at death’s door, she is now waiting to be transitioned to assisted living.
I told Mama about all the amazing people and especially those of you in the blogosphere who sent prayers to her, who sent positive vibes and feelings of light and love. She was so encouraged by your kindness. I was as well. We still have some tough times to go through, but I feel better about some things regarding her.
And again I say, as long as there are people who care, even about strangers, no matter their belief or unbelief, that God’s Not Dead. I am proof of this. The way my mother was encouraged and lifted up is proof. I never cease to be amazed by the goodness and caring of my fellow humans on this earth.
So however you feel or believe, that is fine. Just don’t ever stop believing in the goodness of our fellow travelers on this journey of life. Never stop caring, never stop letting people know you care, always accept that care and love from others.