Oh yeah… I’ve been there.
Watching the doctor move his lips, hearing the words and thinking I can’t believe what he is saying…is he really talking about me? I have what??? It’s almost a surreal experience.
I was on a whirlwind of an experience. Two weeks prior I was at the beach with my son’s family when my gynecologist called with the results of a vaginal ultrasound. There was a suspicious mass around my right ovary.
I already had a routine appointment scheduled the following week, and by the time I came in, the doctor had me lined up that same afternoon with an oncologist gynecologist. Out of the frying pan, into the fire, all in one short afternoon. From the beach to the operating room in less than 2 short weeks.
I will forever remember sitting on the exam table, clenching and releasing my hands, flipping them around, palms together, then not, twisting fingers, all as I was trying to grasp the huge significance of what the doctor was saying. I cocked my head to the side, brow furrowed as I studied his face that only an hour before was new to me. He was now my new best friend. As I watched his lips move, I knew I must be in a state of shock, because although I knew he was talking about me, I had trouble absorbing and relating to his words.
The builder was with me, of course. Shoring me up with that firm foundation we have spent so many years building upon. My eyes kept flicking back and forth between him and the doctor, as if to ask, “Do you hear what he is saying? Is he for real??”
The doctor explained that my high CA125 was indicative of either ovarian or pancreatic cancer. Two wonderful choices. Door #1 or Door#2. There was no Door#3 for me. I was scheduled for surgery the following week and went home to await more test results.
For the next three days, pancreatic cancer was the elephant in the room that the builder and I didn’t discuss. His cousin had passed away earlier in the year from pancreatic cancer so it was heavy on our minds. I was relieved when the doctor called three days later to say it wasn’t pancreatic, it was ovarian. The irony wasn’t lost on me, but at least now I knew my enemy.
All I knew about ovarian cancer was what I read 25 years ago in Gilda Radnor’s book called It’s Always Something. I clearly remember closing the book with the thought, wow! Ovarian Cancer. That’s something you never want to get! That’s a killer!
Here I was, face-to-face with a Goliath of a killer, and I am no David. At least I wasn’t then. This was a surprise attack that came from nowhere. I felt unprepared, unarmed. I thought about my life being over, my husband a widower in his 50’s, my children grieved, my grandchildren who would never remember me.
How do you prepare for that kind of news?
It seems I was more prepared than I thought.
I have an army of prayer warriors and the armor of God. I have 40 years of walking with Jesus and a lifetime of positive thinking. I have sisters to care for me, children to do for me and grandchildren to love on me. I have friends who cook for me and a husband who listens to me. I have years of Bible teaching under my belt and life experiences to help with perspective.
So as it turns out, I have more than a few smooth stones in my pouch… and facing the enemy is easier on some days than others, there is no denying. Sometimes moving past the devastation of hard facts takes time. For me, it was months.
Have you or someone you love been rocked by some hard facts lately? Think about the smooth stones you have gathered in your pouch. Mentally reach in… count them one by one… let your fingers feel the firm, solid weight. Your confidence grows, until you can say, like David did when he stood before the Philistine giant, “Oh no… you come up against me with resistant cancer cells, and lousy survival statistics, and energy draining chemo, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel!”
How’s that for an offense position???