My wife, Janet, had surgery two weeks ago to remove a kidney tumor. The doctor said it’s an 85% chance of being malignant.
The last two weeks have been fast, and slow, lightening quick, yet forever.
Yesterday was the surgery follow up appointment, complete with the pathology report. It was also Janet’s birthday.
Strange, really. You find out about continued life, one way or the other, on a day designated to celebrate life.
The doctor came in quickly, and asked Janet how she was doing. He sat down. I asked to record the doctor on my phone so we could listen and rehash as much as we needed to later.
He agreed. I pushed the record button. He asked if I was ready, and took a deep breath…
I’ve always heard you should live your life like today is your last day. That you should tell people you love that you love them. To do the important tasks you’ve always meant to do. To breathe deeply. Smell the roses. Make memories.
Life is an adventure, but it’s so easy to get side tracked into life’s rabbit trails.
A guy once told me he always asks himself if what he was doing that day would matter when he was on his death bed.
If yes, he did it with gusto. If no but it had to be done anyway, like mow the yard or go to the grocery store, he did it and enjoyed the work. If it wasn’t a yes and it didn’t have to be done, then he tried to avoid it for the more important things.
It’s a simple, but highly effective, way to prioritize life.
Since Janet was diagnosed five weeks ago with the “C” word, cancer, question marks have littered life’s highway ahead. We’ve both been doing some soul searching the last five weeks.
Janet has prepared herself for the worst. I’ve been in a tailspin trying to imagine what life looks like with the uncertainty of kidney cancer.
We have so much more life to live, places to go, people to see, memories to make. There’s all eleven of our grown children, and children they’ve married, and the soon to be eleven grandchildren. There’s more grands to be born, and five more weddings.
For grandchildren, there are all the school programs, dance recitals, little league games, and birthday parties.
There’s the first lost teeth, tears from broken arms, and later, high school tears after the first lost love.
I find myself bargaining with God, going through the five classic stages of grief.
It’s so surreal, shocking, and then desperate prayers wanting God to show Himself strong, bargaining, dealing with God.
It turns to anger. Anger that it should be me having this. Anger at God that Janet may not be there for the dance recitals and t-ball games. Anger that it should happen to someone else, someone mean spirited, who isn’t good or kind and genuine. Why not them?!
Then a nagging depressive thought drags in. It looms ominously on the radar, like it’s about to sweep in and unweave, strand by strand, unweave the very fabric of life.
There’s no doubt there is a sunrise, or rather, Sonrise, but everything seems distant, out of reach, at least, in this moment.
Please, Lord. Please.
I pushed the record button. The doctor asked if I was ready, and took a deep breath…
His words were about to spill out like a verdict.
He turned and squarely faced Janet to discuss her pathology report.
He began. “Great news! It is an oncocytoma. An oncocytoma is a BENIGN tumor of the kidney!”
Other than her surgery, no other treatment is needed!
We prayed. Family, friends, some of you have prayed, and God, in His tender mercy of this moment, allowed Janet to be in the 15% who do NOT have malignant kidney cancer.
Thank you, Lord!
And thank you all for your warm thoughts, kind words, and most of all, your sincere prayers. God is good, full of mercy as He has blessed us with undeserved grace!
So let us know! When you’re in this neck of the woods, we’d be happy to save you a seat at the next little league game and dance recital!!
Life. Is. Good!