Wow. It has been one crazy ride these last few days. A few weeks ago our HVAC unit stopped working at peak performance just in time for a record breaking heat wave. Our tankless water heater, not to be out done, has been experiencing a nervous breakdown and we have had surprise hot water shortages. To top everything off, for some unknown reason, when I plug in my vacuum I am blowing the circuit breaker to the upstairs bedrooms. It has been interesting that’s for sure.
Our crazy week came to a crescendo on Saturday. Our oldest daughter found herself in a position where she was forced to move to a new unit in her apartment complex because her current unit has the misfortune of flooding with every heavy rain. At first it was a minor annoyance, then it moved to a major pain when she came home from work at midnight to find her apartment filled with roughly an inch of water from her doorway to her bedroom. So we gathered together as a family and walked all her possessions out of her front door, down the sidewalk, and into a new unit that has the ideal location on top of a small hill to guarantee it won’t flood with every rain (which here in Southeastern Virginia is either a torrential downpour or a mist, there is no in between).
As if this was not enough to guarantee a fun-filled Saturday afternoon, we were scheduled to pick up our travel trailer from the dealer at 1pm, do a walk through to make sure all repairs had been taken care of properly, and return it to the storage facility. We also needed to finish up laundry so Mike could pack for his TDY. So we split our time, spending the morning with our daughter, the afternoon with the trailer, and the evening with the laundry. It was an interesting juggling act; however, in the end, we were able to successfully complete all of our tasks and still get to bed at a reasonable hour. Chalk it up to God’s provision!
Thinking about all that we had to accomplish yesterday, I can not help but be so thankful that I was able to actively participate in everything. There was a time when any type of physical exertion was almost impossible.
“So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” (ESV Jn 4.48).
Heavy lifting would cause intense abdominal pain and debilitation fatigue. I would be guaranteed at least a week off my feet as I attempted to gain my strength back. Eating would be almost impossible from the pain, resulting in nausea, bloating, and a general feeling of being unwell. I honestly thought that this was going to be my lot in life after my NET cancer specialist told us that my condition was inoperable and my only hope would be to treat the liver tumors with radiation. While the radiation did help, it failed to alleviate the intense abdominal pain and my activity level was still severely restricted.
The blessing came with a referral to the Neuroendocrine Tumor Program with Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. Here I was able to undergo an exploratory laparotomy that removed over 180 tumors from my small bowel and liver. It was also discovered that my gall bladder had been damaged from the lanreotide, another factor in my abdominal pain. This surgery gave me hope and chance at life that I thought cancer had stolen away from me. The removal of the tumors in the small bowel and the gall bladder have afforded me the ability to lift, move, and exert myself like I did before I got sick. Yesterday, to me, was nothing short of a miracle; a beautiful, glorious miracle I thought would never be possible. Cancer is not the be all to end all of my life, thanks to this surgery, it is only a minor bump in the road.
Today, as I sit here drinking my coffee and contemplating yesterday’s adventures, I count myself so blessed. I have wonderful people in my life that support me unconditionally in my journey with cancer. I have an amazing medical team that can literally perform miracles, and I serve a God who brought it all together to bring me good, not harm.
“But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (ESV Jn 11.4).
I still possess the ability to be there for my children, to meet their needs, and love them in the way they need to be loved at the moment. I can move furniture, clean house, hang pictures, and give hugs; things that used to be a tremendous effort just one year ago. I can help my husband by ensuring his laundry is done and all things run smoothly on the home-front while he is away serving our country. Just thinking about the blessing in all this brings me to tears. It is true, cancer is not my whole story, it is just a short chapter in what is proving to be a much greater story than I ever imagined.