This year I’ve had a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, and a mammogram. I swear, I’m not a hypochondriac. I only take a multivitamin & vitamin B. I see the doctor for check ups, but “I’m close to that age…” (No, I’m 28, my birth certificate is lying!) The tests have all come back normal. So I expected a similar result when I went in for an MRI to rule out MS last week. I’m 39, at least on paper.
They were ruling out MS because my jaw went numb on my left side a couple of months ago & it was spreading. I have struggled with ear pain for years & was convinced I had trigeminal neuralgia. (Truth: I only went to the doctor because I’m vain and my left cheek bone was protruding further than the right🙄.)
So, last Monday I had an MRI. I was scheduled to return for a consult on the 30th. On Tuesday (election day) I traveled to Frankfort for work. That evening I ignored a call from a woman about work (I thought). Then my husband called asking me why I didn’t answer the phone. The doctor’s office wanted me to call first thing in the morning. Hmm, that’s probably not good.
I called my friend – you know the one who is always there, the voice of reason, the one who steps on your toes when you need it & sometimes when you don’t- that friend. I told her I was trying not to freak out, she listened and then began what has become my common theme this week… she prayed over me. She didn’t pray for me, she prayed over me, as I listened and received God’s peace in the process. I hung up, called my husband & my parents, and text my prayer warriors. Then I went to bed and slept soundly. Seriously, I did.
The next morning I went to work for a couple of hours, still at peace. When I called the doctor, they asked me to come in that day and not put it off. “I can’t tell you much, the doctor will have to be the one to read the report, but we need to see you today if at all possible.”
Prayer #2 came from a colleague just before I hopped in the car and spent two hours talking on the phone and day dreaming about possible problems. I figured it couldn’t be too bad, they were letting me drive, right?
As I thought through different scenarios, I started to pray. I don’t remember the words, but I remember this idea,”Lord, I told you when I was 19 my life and my death were yours. Use this to draw my family to you. Use this so others see you. I trust you, you’ve got this, no matter what this is.” Again, just complete peace.
My mother and my husband met me at the doctor’s office. We traveled up an elevator to a waiting room and were escorted in pretty quickly. The doctor was great. He was approachable, asking questions about symptoms, tapping on elbows and knees, nodding in an understanding way as I explained my pain and numbness. All the while I’m waiting to hear MS. “You have tumor.” Well, ok. Somehow that sounds better.
We went to look at pictures, which for this nerdy girl, was a delight. And suddenly it made total sense. Yes, that explained why I couldn’t fly without pain meds, the ruptured ear drum, the dry eye.
Turns out this tumor is “unique” (I’m nothing if not unique!) and it’s probably best to visit a doctor at MD Anderson who specializes in this sort of thing. Thankfully my doctor has worked with the best in the country before. Waiting for him to get things lined up in Texas, I learned I’m particularly bad at sitting in silence waiting for news to sink in, so I cracked jokes instead. Cary was kind to put up with my insensitivity. I know this was much harder on him than I.
This is where I find myself now. Waiting a few more days to travel. I figure I will share this journey, if you’d like to come along.
I’ve been through several different feelings, and peace is the most consistent. None have them have been worry or pity. In fact, I don’t like hearing other people express those emotions on my behalf (I do appreciate them & feel loved.) No, what I feel is gratitude that I live in a nation with health care & doctors. I’m grateful I can fly on a plane and don’t have to walk. And I’m excited. I’m excited because God is good, He will do what he says he will do & I can trust him. And I’m loved. I am overwhelmed by coworkers and friends and people I don’t know who will stop and pray or send a friendly message. I’m overwhelmed by the strength of my husband’s arms when they are wrapped around me. I’m overwhelmed by God’s presence every moment. It’s a beautiful place to be.