I only made an occasional visit to the doctor up until now. Other than the yearly physical, mammogram and a sinus infection every couple of years, I was pretty healthy. Now, here I was with a life threatening situation! And, I have to admit, this scared me.
A friend of mine had a mother that had battled a similar cancer, so she referred me to her oncologist, Dr. David McCollum at Baylor. Thankfully, we were able to see him. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the visit or him, but we prayed that God would give us wisdom as we sought medical attention.
As we met the doctor and asked a lot of questions we knew we were in the right place. He was personable, attentive, knowledgeable, spoke straight with me and he was a Christian. He handled my anxieties and fear with compassion but without withholding important information.
On our first visit, I was seeking to know what I had done to cause this. He assured me there was nothing I could have done to cause my cancer or prevent my cancer. He quoted scripture and told me, “it rains on the just and the unjust”. His words were encouraging as I was reminded that God allowed me to walk through this journey to bring glory to Him!
Before going through any treatments, the doctor had to confirm and stage my cancer through numerous tests. I had CT scans, pet scan, heart function tests, blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy.
For someone that had a physical once a year and nothing more, this was a bit overwhelming and fascinating at the same time. At least I found myself being a little distracted during each of these tests as I inquired about every detail that they were doing to me. I got introduced to the wide world of medicine in a few short days.
The most challenging test to come was the bone marrow biopsy.
I had been warned about how painful that test was. Some patients are given sedation for this, but not me. My doctor and all of his staff assured me that I would be fine and we would do it in the office. I was hoping they were right. Thankfully, my doctor had already warned me to stay off of the internet or I would have been looking at this online and in retrospect, I am glad I didn’t look ahead of time.
I really had no idea how they performed the bone marrow biopsy, but after all I heard about it, I knew I needed prayer. We asked everyone we knew to be praying specifically at my appointment time. As we prayed, we asked God to be with the doctor and me and that the biopsy would come back negative.
Again, my mom came for this appointment. As mom, Jim and I went back to the examining room for the procedure, I was a little anxious. Each test brought a little fear because I wondered what else would be revealed. This biopsy was no exception.
As the doctor came in and asked me to lay on my stomach across the table I caught a glimpse of the instruments that he was about to use on my hip. Oh my goodness, this is about to get real. It wasn’t the typical tray with a little needle and a few little instruments on it. This was BIG stuff.
Everyone in the room was talking and laughing as we were getting started. I had been getting numb and then as the extraction of the marrow from my hip began, the room got deathly quiet and with my husband in the room, this was a rare occurrence. I couldn’t understand why the room got so quiet, because even though I knew what was going on, I was completely comfortable. I think it was a bit overwhelming for mom and Jim as the doctor began to drill into my bone to get marrow. I actually asked them why they stopped talking.
God had answered the prayers of His people. As prayers were going up, my anxiety began to subside. Although I could feel the grinding into my bone, there was absolutely no pain at all. Dr. McCollum did a great job, as I had been told that he would. I even got a sucker and a “Cancer Sucks” button for being good. And the results from that test were negative. Praise the Lord for so many answered prayers.
After weeks of testing and waiting, the verdict was in. I had Stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I WAS SCARED!
However, we as Christians sometimes think if we show our real emotions then we aren’t trusting God. Well, nothing could be farther from the truth!
Why not be real? God already knew how I felt. I was scared! I was anxious! I was a little mad! Suddenly I was worried about everything. What about my kids, my husband and all my loved ones. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t concentrate. This was the most scared I had ever been in my life.
Even with those emotions, I knew I wasn’t going to have to walk alone. Just because I was dealing with the emotions that come with such a diagnosis, I didn’t doubt for one minute that God was going to carry me on this journey. I just had to learn to lean on Him in a way that I had never done before.
Excerpt from my journal:
I have to admit I’m scared! I don’t know what will happen.
God my faith is not as strong as it should be and I’m a little
mad. Help me to trust you Lord and find peace that comes
from you. I want to live! I’d rather not go through this, but
Lord I pray that you’ll shine through all of this!
There is a song that Lynda Randle sings called “God on the Mountain”. After my journey it became an anthem to me because of the message. My God is the same in the good times and the bad times.
GOD ON THE MOUNTAIN
Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind
Like you’ve never known
But when things change and you’re down in the valley
Don’t lose faith child you’re never alone
For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley
When things go wrong, He’ll make them right
And the God of the good times is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night
We talk of faith when we’re up on the mountain
But talk comes so easy
When life’s at its best
But it’s down in the valley of trials and temptations
That’s where faith is really put to the test
We all have challenges. Whatever challenge you may be going through, God is bigger. He is bigger than cancer, financial problems, marital problems, family problems, addiction, your past, fears, anxieties and so many others that we face today and He is there to carry you through!