Thursday, January 09, 2014

And One More

Another test.  Another all clear!  I am grateful to our wonderful God!

Today my anatomy students had a test and when they were finished they turned it in face down on my desk.  One the back of the test, one student wrote two verses of scripture:

"And may the God of peace, which surpasses all knowledge, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

"The Lord will fight for you.  You need only to be still."

She had no idea I was going to another doctor later that afternoon. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Friday, about 10 days ago. What a day.  I kept thinking that almost exactly 10 years ago I had my one and only health scare, the only health crisis of my entire life.  How amazing is that?  My baby, my Liana, was only 4 years old.  I was so afraid of leaving my girls motherless.  I had a fever every day for about 6 weeks.  Something was dreadfully wrong!  And the many doctors I saw didn't have a clue.  For months I was sick.  And then I got better and the pulmonologist guessed my illness was some sort of autoimmune lung disease.  It has never returned though.  God granted me 10 more years with my daughters! So how can I complain now? 

I felt like Hezekiah.  God told him he was going to die and he asked for more time and it was given to him.  So these past 10 years I have not had any serious illness!  What a miracle!  But eventually, our bodies wear out and we will someday die.  So good health only continues for so long.  Every day we have is a gift.

Since Thanksgiving I've had an unusual pain.  It doesn't go away, but some days I notice it more.  It's not bad, just uncomfortable.  It doesn't limit activities.  But it nags at me.  I didn't go to the doctor.  Most things just go away on their own.  And doctors mean tests and my friend Joan said we are only one test away from a bad diagnosis and then your whole world changes.  I didn't want to find out anything before the holidays, so I decided to wait until after.

Christmas I did not feel well at all.  The day passed and the time had come to tell Fred.  I downplayed it, but he wasn't buying. To tell the truth, I thought I could possibly have ovarian cancer.  My two grandmothers died from it.  One of my best friends died from it.  How could I not think about this?  Cancer is everywhere.  We've polluted our land, our food, our water, our air.  I am not exempt from suffering.  When my friend Joan was diagnosed she didn't say, "Why me?"  She actually said, "Why not me?"  It is only by God's grace we live each day. 

Of course I had been praying about all this. I cling to God's word always. "Those who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord."  "So great is his steadfast love to those who fear him."  "When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."  "God's steadfast love and faithfulness."  Over and over in scripture we are reminded of these attributes.  He has never failed me yet.  "Do not fear, I am with you. Do not look anxiously about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you; surely I will help you; surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save.  He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love."  "Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you." 

So on Friday after Christmas I go to the doctor.  She is a new one I've never seen.  A young serious woman.  She wears a beautiful sideways cross on her neck.  She thinks maybe I have a kidney infection.  Okay, I'll take that!  But then she orders an ultrasound--stat.  That very same day.  I go home to drink the required volumes of water and think and pray.  I don't want to leave this earth now!  My children!  My husband!  I just kept thinking of Joan.  From the time of her ultrasound diagnosis to her death--four months.  But why should God show favor on me? 

The ultrasound technician is stone-faced.  She won't give anything away no matter what she sees on the screen.  But she leaves the room for a minute and I get up and look at her monitor.  It has scary pictures on it and the words "left ovary 13 cm."  My heart pounds.  The tech comes back and tells me since the test was stat, I will have the results before I leave.  I wait.  What will they do?  Give me bad news in this crowded waiting room?  Call me aside and tell me privately?  Then I'm told to go home.  The doctor wants to personally call me with the results.  It's so bad she wants to make sure I'm home!  I'm terrified, I admit.  I play out her words in my mind.  How will she give me the news?  I pull into the driveway at home.

Fred comes out the back door to meet me.  "Bovine!" he says.  Yes, bovine is a term of endearment coming from my husband.  Then he says, "I talked to the doctor."  Okay, I'm confused.  The doctor gives him the bad news and he calls me bovine?  It doesn't fit.  Fred says, "It's all normal."  I collapse in tears.  Jubilation, gratitude, and praise to our merciful God who has compassion on us.  I am overwhelmed with joy.  And what was that 13 cm about??  So now I take an antibiotic and everything will be fine, right?

Life is so precious.  I am not afraid of dying.  But I am desperately sad at the thought of leaving my family behind.  It would be hard for them.  If I truly have more time, I want to appreciate more, complain less, love more, obey God more.  When I was sick 10 years ago, a woman from church asked me, "If you could ask God to do something for you besides heal you, what would it be?"  I said, "Change my character."  God, make me into who you want me to be.

Another week passes.  I am still not well.  A culture confirmed I did not have a kidney infection after all.  No one knows what this is.  But God was faithful before and he is faithful now.  The verse that sustained me 10 years ago:  "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."  My verse for the New Year is this:  "Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love.  Break up the fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you."

Tomorrow another specialist.  Bits of Psalms I memorized many years ago come to me unexpectedly.  "I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!"  Psalm 27.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth."  Psalm 121.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Christmas 2013

Christmas has already come and gone.  Hard to believe.  And New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  Here are some pictures of our wild and wonderful holiday.

It's all about  the people we love.  Not the gifts or the food or the shopping or the events.  We're all just happy to be together once again another year.  Of course, some people we love were missing!  And we hope to see them soon.  But all of us still walk this earth, and we are grateful for that.

Still, a shadow hung over us this Christmas.  I didn't tell anyone I was sick.  Not even Fred.  You don't share worrisome news before Christmas.  More on that in the next post.  What fear!  What joy!  Sometimes we all need a little shaking up.