I only was in the hospital for about 30 hours after my second surgery to remove thyroid cancer tumors. I was trying to keep the door from hiting me on the way out, so I wasn’t able to garner as many cool souvenirs as I had hoped.
But, I am thrilled to report I did get that lovely bottle of lotion I was eagerly anticipating, the cool name bracelet, earplugs, my own toothpaste (did you know they make it in clear gel?) and
TWO, not ONE, pairs of those hospital socks.
My most prized gift was the bottle of Carra Free unscented Odor Eliminator that Neutralizes Biological and All Airborne Odors. In other words, they were trying to cover up the smell of my projectile you-know-what. What timing, to puke just as the family was standing at the door. Beka was liberally spraying the room while pinching her delicate nose shut. I could see the flaring nostrils of everyone else in the room, while they smiled through clenched teeth.
Dear John, my evening shift nurse, graciously cleaned up mounds of bedding, clothing, and rubber pillows, the bed frame, the floor and I think even the walls. Not sure. I was too embarrassed to look. He was so gracious and kind and didn’t even plug his nose.
He did make me promise to not tell his wife that he knows how to make a bed. I promised to not tell her, I didn’t promise to not tell blog readers.
Flowers are always a big benefit of being sick.
How wrinkled do they think I plan on getting?
Aw, look at me, with my built-in choker.
“You know what it looks like Mom? Let me show you!”
She dug around in the scissors drawer until she came back with this pair of scissors and held them up triumphantly. Later on, she asked me if the doctor used scissors to open up my neck.
It reminds me of a conversation I had in the middle of the night with my angel nurse, Janae. The Lord provided one of His sweetest saints to minister to me hour by hour the night I was in the hospital. I wonder if she really was a nurse, or if she was a real angel. As we were joking about my long, ugly scar, and she encouraged me to wear it proudly because I was alive.
I told her that I didn’t have the same kind of trials that the Apostle Paul had, mine aren’t as great, but I have adopted his attitude. “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 6:17). I told her I considered my scar to be one for the Lord Jesus Christ, because He allowed the cancer and I wanted to bring Him glory through the cancer.
Through each stage of this cancer journey I have had to lift up my expectations to the Lord and let Him work as He sees fit. I thought after suffering so nicely for Him the first time, I would be done. I thought that I suffered so nicely the second time that He would heal me. I guess I forgot to ask for no pain. I guess I thought I could suffer only under my terms. I have to repeatedly offer each part of my heart, body and mind to the Lord and let Him truly work as He sees fit.
If He asked me if I was willing to trade the cancer for a little pain, wouldn’t I have said YES? But, He doesn’t ask, because I had already told Him I want to walk by faith, I want to be His, I want to bring Him glory, I want to win souls, I want to be like Him. Why did I offer these valiant prayers with formulas attached?
But, there is always somebody worse off than ourselves, isn’t there? I haven’t had chemo, I haven’t had radiation,; to some dear cancer sufferers I am barely in the throes of suffering. You may think what you are going through is nothing because you don’t have cancer. We must never measure our trials against someone else’s, only against the purpose the Lord has to refine us.
I Peter 1:6, “We greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through many trials.” For every trial there is a need a “need be” tailored to fit you.
I remember in the middle of one sleepless night, where I was communing with the Lord, and asking Him why He allowed the cancer to continue indefinitely. I went through almost three years of testing with lumps and stuff in my blood, but they were never able to give me a conclusive diagnosis that I did or did not have cancer. The still small voice that broke through the darkness to answer my wondering heart, “That patience may have its perfect work.”