A Health Crisis Will Not Rock This Memorial of Faith
I sipped a Sprite to curb the nausea and tried to nap through the flight home from Salt Lake City to promote Twelve Stones to Remember Him. Pain in my lower right abdomen awakened me from my cramped position. I’d had this pain before, but never did it hurt to touch from the outside.
I looked at the man next to me with a little panic and then at the flight attendant heading down the aisle toward me. Would I make it to the ground in time before my appendix burst? Would they have to divert on my behalf?
“180 miles out from Minneapolis St. Paul,” the pilot said over the speaker. Ok, I could make that, I told myself.
I had an appendectomy last week, a full six weeks after that scary flight. Six weeks? Yes. Like you, I imagined an appendectomy was always an emergency, but not this one.
The pain I had in flight subsided once we landed, but I scheduled a doctor’s appointment to follow-up.
I felt so much better once I went in for that appointment that I scoffed at the gamut of tests they ordered because it seemed like such a small thing. But I’m glad I acted on a small thing.
The CT scan showed a mass in my appendix.
And now I know that what the surgeon removed last week is a neuroendocrine carcinoid tumor. They will treat it like cancer, the surgeon told me as he explained the concern with the perineural invasion of microscopic abnormal cells.
So what does that mean? I wish I knew. We don’t know all those answers.
I will have another surgery in the coming month to remove lymph nodes and a piece of the right side of my colon. And I will get to eat a bland, soft food diet most of the summer. Additional treatments are yet to be determined.
How do I feel about all of this? A little unsteady in what I envisioned for my life. This didn’t seem to be a part of what I pictured, especially not in these years just as I my children are growing into their own independence.
Even still, my memorial of faith is still standing from my last crisis. And I’m adding examples to my twelve stones that show me HE IS WITH US and HIS HAND IS OVER US ALWAYS.
Gratitude comes more automatically. I honestly find myself, even under strong pain medication, thanking all who have come into my sphere to help me in the hospital and at home. I need and appreciate the help—to get out of bed, to reach a glass of water, to understand what happened, to cheer me up, to show love. Gratitude steadies my ability to have the companionship of the Spirit in my life.
Trust in God focuses my thoughts. In times of anxiousness for myself or others whose pain I overheard in the hospital, I’ve relied on matter-of-fact prayer. It’s not the sacred, kneeling, soft-spoken variety, but the begging, laying-it-all-before-Him kind. She’s hurting; please help her rest. I’m shaking; help me settle myself. I know I’m angry that I missed that call; please calm my anger and prompt him to call back.
Love of God manifest through others nourishes me. A health crisis brings many of the same feelings of fear, panic, embarrassment, and uncertainty that a financial crisis brings. But, this time, I do not feel isolated. I feel surrounded. I feel the strength of family and friendship supporting my emotions—both the good ones and the negative ones—to help me give voice to and cope with both.
My financial crisis was a personal one that I made public with the publication of my book. But without that experience, I would not have the foundation of emotional and spiritual strength to face this health crisis so soon or even at all.
But I’m here. I haven’t fallen apart. My memorial hasn’t crumbled. My faith hasn’t soured.
And if daily, I can still just lay down one stone for a memorial of God’s hand over us, I know I will remember Him.
Will you join me on this new journey?
To, again, look for His hand. And build your own memorial.
Because He always remembers you and me.