Up until this past week the worst medical issue I’d ever had was a few broken arms and a broken collar bone.
Not bad for a nearly 40 year old.
All that changed when I finally decided it was time to take care of a hernia I’d been living with for far too long. For those who aren’t aware a hernia is when the lining holding in your intestines rips and your guts start falling out. Gross, right?
This past Monday I finally had that long overdue surgery.
I was nervous because I’d never been under anesthesia before and I wasn’t sure I was a fan of being knocked out like that (turns out I’m not).
I also was nervous and often joked that they were going to open me up and find that I was riddled with cancer. Hilarious joke, right?
It’s a silly thought especially since hernia surgeries are fairly simple outpatient surgeries with a 4-6 week recovery but the mind is a silly thing and can go to dark places.
I was scheduled as the last surgery of the day so by the time I got to the hospital I was hungry and thirsty (since you’re not supposed to eat or drink anything after midnight the day of surgery) and more than a little on edge.
The team was very friendly as they prepped me for surgery and we had some laughs like when the nurse had to ask me if I was pregnant. I said “No, but I could be. I missed my period every month for the last 39 years…”
There was also the nurse who told me that she’d have to shave me and so I requested the Brazilian to which she pulled out some tape and said she likes to use a hot glue and tape to make sure it goes well…or she could use the clippers.
We had a good laugh about it. The pre-op team really was helpful and kind. Everything seemed great, they said I was in excellent health so things should be smooth and I’d be out and in recovery in no time.
But my heart rate was still at 100 and all I was doing was lying there. By comparison, my resting heart rate is usually between 60-65 beats per minute (BMP for all my techno and dj friends).
Shortly after that I said goodbye to my wife and parents as they finally gave me something to relax and we were off. Carrie wasn’t even out of view and that’s my last memory.
I woke up quite a bit later and saw it was later than what I thought it should be.
Then the first audible word I remember hearing was “biopsy”.
Was my worst fear becoming a reality?
The doctor saw something that he wanted tested but wasn’t extremely concerned but it was enough to scare both my wife and I.
Now in addition to trying to recover from the actual pain of the surgery I had a 5-7 day wait to find out if I had cancer.
There were a lot of thoughts that ran through my head. Many of them around the idea of “So the church closed and now this is it? I don’t really get to do anything anymore for the Glory of God like I’d always wanted?”
The first couple of days of waiting were terrifying. I sat around all day and couldn’t sleep at night. Things were happening quickly and it all felt so dark.
I’d been researching and studying the light/darkness because I love the Scriptures use of imagery and the light/dark relationship has been fascinating me for months. It’s poetic and an easy image to grasp but it also has so much theological depth to it.
My prayers changed from fear to prayers that God would help me walk and live in the light and share his light in the darkness.
As I would pray and each day passed something strange happened.
I felt an unusual peace.
Please understand this as this is the point of the whole thing: It wasn’t a peace that I was going to be fine and the test would come back that I’m healthy. It was a peace from God that said “Even if it is cancer, I’ll be with you to the end whether that’s healing or death. I’ll help you be that light in the darkness I’ve called you to be.”
From that moment on I could start to look at my phone again and not live in fear of the inevitable phone call.
I even got the most encouraging text from someone who didn’t know I was recovering from surgery let alone that I was waiting to hear about a possible cancer diagnosis. It meant the world to me and still does because it was a light brought into my darkness.
I could still be a light of Christ to the four most important souls in my life. I could exhibit faith and trust in God’s provision to and at the end if need be.
Or if things turned out to just be a scare I’d be able to live a little differently. I’d walk more in his light because I had experienced a little more of the darkness.
Either way, it put life back in perspective.
Friday morning I got the call that everything was fine.
I want to again make clear that while I couldn’t be more thankful for that result I don’t want to trivialize those among my friends and readers who got the other call. I know so many who I love that are fighting and battling heroically against that darkness named cancer.
The thing about sickness is that God does not promise anyone exemption from it we are only promised that he will be with us in the midst of it giving us a light to follow and that’s pretty rad.
I hope this bloated post (sorry, it’s definitely not falling under my 500 word limit) will help encourage you all as you fight against the darkness in your own life.