You can read Part 2 here.
Sitting in the dark vestibule of the hospital, waiting for my doctor to call was the longest 20 minutes of my life. The hospital imaging department staff had all gone home, yet we were still there. It was nearing 9:00 at night. My husband by my side. He had come with me for the CT-scan, a God-thing (one of many), not because we thought there was anything to be concerned about—”it just happened that way.” Our walk through cancer began in this quiet way.
Earlier we had waited in the overflow seating area, just the two of us, for what seemed forever, watching other patients arrive and leave. Finally, we looked at each other and decided, “They must have forgotten us.” We got up to leave, when our nurse and another important-looking medical person came down the hall towards us, with, you know, those looks on their faces that immediately signal that something is not right.
The nurse was professional, but an unusual tone of tenderness and compassion was added, as she told us, “Your doctor is going to call and wants to talk to you.” Pretty much everyone had gone home by this time of night, and only the footlights were on in the sitting area she showed us to. There we sat, silently, in the dark, (a blessing), waiting. There was no one in sight, no sounds to be heard. The kind of environment that you feel like whispering in. But, we didn’t feel like talking. It felt like we were the only ones in the hospital. Without success, I fought to rein in my thoughts, which had taken off like a wild horse.
God-Things That Showed His Power & Presence
- I never keep a diary of symptoms, but I did this time
- Rarely do I call the nurse-line, but I did this time
- There was a symptom that caused me enough concern to call for medical advice, and they told me to go in to get checked out immediately
- I was able to make an appointment to see my Christian doctor within hours
- God heard my arrow prayer, shot up, and answered immediately: my doctor ordered a CT-scan
- I was able to get in for the CT-scan the very same day
- My husband went with me for the CT-scan, which was very unusual
Waiting For The Call
Nearby the waiting area where we sat was a shelf with two telephones, apparently for patient use, in a little alcove. After the 20-minutes that seemed like 20 years, the phone suddenly rang, and I knew it was for me. I heard the familiar voice of the kind, Christian man who’d been our family’s doctor for years, on the other end of the phone, calmly, gently, quietly speaking, as he always did. I noted, though, the tiredness in his voice. And, a touch of sadness. I was calm. Probably in shock. He quietly told me what the radiologist’s findings were, and among the words he spoke, I heard the word, “tumors,” (plural) and I interrupted him. I was surprised he used that word. It was a pretty heavily-weighted word. I calmly asked, “Not cysts? Tumors?” He said that where they were and the number and size indicated that…
“Not cysts? Tumors?” I asked unemotionally.
Well, he said they’d know more in the morning, but it appeared that there was more than one and it had spread. He never actually spoke the word cancer, but he didn’t need to. We arranged to meet him first thing in the morning in his office, before clinic hours, to look at the images and talk about our next steps. Though we were stunned by what was happening, God was not. God was not taken by surprise. He had not looked the other way for a second, and lost control. God knew, before the beginning of time, that I would have cancer. My Sovereign God had complete control, and had prepared for it and was working, even now, in miraculous ways.
How Do You Tell Your Kids
Our home was quiet, that night, when we arrived. I was grateful that our son, 16, and daughter, almost 13, were sound asleep down the hall. That was the hardest time for me, of any throughout all the months of cancer. I think it was hard because there was no one praying for us yet. I hardly slept. Like a galloping horse, my thoughts took off before I could rein them in, and I couldn’t catch up to them.
“I’m not finished raising my kids! “
Of course I thought of dying. Nothing about where I was going scared me, as a believer. I knew I would be in the presence of Jesus, my Savior, in heaven, when I died. If anything scared me, it was the suffering I might have to go through before I died. But, what was on my mind was my kids. I did not feel my job was done.
My thoughts went something like this: “They’re not ready to face the world without me yet! I’m not done! I haven’t done everything I want to do! I need more time! I want to see my kids grow up, Lord. I want to be there when they get married, to see my daughter walk down the aisle, to meet who they marry, to see my grandchildren! I’m not ready to die! I’m not done living!” The hardest thing about the thought of dying was not getting to finish raising my kids.
At 6:15AM the next morning, our family of 4 gathered together for family devotions. My husband somberly shared with the kids what we’d found out. Then, he stopped, abruptly. My steady, unemotional husband, the Mechanical Engineer, broke down and sobbed. I had only seen him cry a few times in my life. Our kids never had. Now, he sobbed uncontrollably for a long time.
Training Your Son in Manhood
How much do you think that impacts a 16-year-old son? What is education, anyway?
I believe that was the best teaching in how to be a Godly husband our son could ever have. Then, in coming weeks, he watched Dad take on Mom’s daily wound care, which saved daily trips to the hospital and much money, watched him willingly do some very unpleasant and humble service. These were a visual demonstration of what being faithful to one’s vows looks like, and what love really means. That morning, in a strange reversal of roles, the Holy Spirit gave me, the emotional one, calm and peace, and I was able to go over, put my arms around my husband and comfort him, and then go to our kids, and assure them it was going to be alright. We prayed together. The tender, fearful look my son gave me will forever stay etched in my memory.
That morning, Wednesday, after family devotions, we left the kids home to continue with their schooling, though I don’t know how much they were able to accomplish, while we met our doctor in his office. The radiologist’s report indicated he saw more than one tumor, but to our untrained eyes, there was only one mass-like thing on the X-ray. My doctor made a phone call, as we talked about options, then turned and asked me one question, “If you could get in right away, would you like to have surgery Friday?” That was just two days later. I didn’t have to even think about it.
My answer was a resounding, “Yes!”
Benefit of Homeschooling
Just one of Homeschooling’s great benefits involves the many opportunities for learning through life. Our family enjoyed a number of cross-cultural experiences, and hosting people from other countries, numerous times, and especially Japan, due to the fact that my husband’s sister and family were missionaries living there. Just one week before my diagnosis, the kids and I drove to the airport to pick up two young Japanese women who we’d never met, who would stay with us for five days.
For Japanese, the Mall of America is an exciting destination, (many make a trip just to go there) and it is very close to our airport. It’s also a great way to keep people with jetlag awake and entertained until it’s actually time to sleep. So, from the airport, we headed there. Within minutes of getting to the main area inside, an excruciating and incapacitating pain in my stomach sliced through me, and I doubled over. I quickly found a bench and sat down for fear I was going to faint. I couldn’t breathe. After a few minutes, I left the kids with our guests, and I headed for the restroom. The decision to leave for home was basically made for me, since I could barely stand up straight from the pain and I was afraid I was going to pass out. Applying strong pressure on my stomach in the spot where the pain was, I managed, with difficulty, to drive home, and then went straight to bed. Strangely, the next morning I awoke feeling fine.
During their visit, I was sick off and on with a fever and what I thought were cold symptoms, but nothing serious. Foreign guests were not unusual for us, so our children were very comfortable with entertaining them and my husband was there, so I could lie down or wait in the car, if need be. I participated as able.
How God Worked to Save My Life
We said a sad goodbye on Monday, and Tuesday morning I called the nurse-line of our insurance company, not because of any of these symptoms. There was one other unusual symptom God allowed me to have, to save my life, because it was what caused me to take action. I had not had a bowel movement for 5 days. A little personal, but God uses whatever He wants, and He used that. At first, the nurse on the line scolded me for not calling several days earlier! As we talked, though, and I answered her questions, I noticed her tone changed drastically. From chewing me out, to deep tenderness, I imagined she was looking at a screen that listed possible medical issues my symptoms suggested. She advised me to get in to see my doctor right away that day and if I wasn’t able to see him, to go to Urgent Care.
She ended the conversation by tenderly saying, “Good luck.”
Not Even Aware I’m Walking Through Cancer
I still was not concerned at all. Totally oblivious. Another God-thing, I did get in to see my doctor within a few hours. He, at first, prescribed Metamucil, and was going to send me home. But, even though I wasn’t concerned, I shot up a quick prayer that he wouldn’t send me home without knowing what was wrong. My Christian doctor heard from the Lord, and he sat back in his chair, and musing out loud, he said, “I think I’ll have you get a CT-scan…there’s nothing over there except your ovaries.” Again, another God-thing, I was able to get in for the CT-scan that very afternoon. I called my husband, and uncharacteristically, he decided to go with me. So many God-things, for which I’m very grateful.
After the meeting with our doctor the next morning to discuss our options, my husband, the server, took over my job, and emailed family and friends, and activated our church prayer chain. And, they told others, who told others. Like a switch had been turned on, I could feel the prayers of God’s people. I had peace and strength. God was holding us up.
Come back for “Walking Through Cancer, Part 2,” and hear the rest of the story of how God was with us and helped us, walking through cancer.
Here is a link to find out What are the Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?
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