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“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.
My hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress–
I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN.”
Psalm 62

God is good.  He is my strength.  He is my comforter and healer. 
He was with me–nearly tangible–in every moment of today’s medical adventure.
He spoke through nurses and doctors who may not even know Him.
He touched me through them.  He calmed me through them.
He loved me through them.
I am so moved–so awed–to be known by Him.

If you count my first four facial surgeries (which all happened on one day), this was surgery #8 for the summer.  Stick a fork in me–I’m done!

The day began with an 8 am pre-op appointment where I was stuck and prodded and asked the same questions over and over.  I was glad for all of the above: they meant surgery was that much closer.  In all, three of the PRs and nurses I saw said, “We’ve never seen anyone come in for pre-op on the same day as surgery.”  Lest they were wondering why, it’s because God answers prayer–and He knew how important it was for me to reconnect with my life during last week’s trip, which wouldn’t have been possible if the hospital’s original schedule had been followed!

The insertion of the wire, to tell the truth, was the part of the day that had me a little nervous.  After the smelling salt extravaganza of my last foray into this form of medical torture, I was determined NOT to pass out…but not convinced that I had it in me to withstand the assault of this:

…and this:

…which really is a glorified version of this:

Well, I prayed and breathed deeply and pinched my thigh (bruises to prove it) and got through it swimmingly, getting well acquainted with the lovely nurses as I tried to keep my mind on them and off the prized elements of my female anatomy!     By the time I left the lab, I had something that looked a bit like this sticking out of me:

If I was really quiet, I thought I could hear the major networks in my head–but that might have just been starvation-induced hallucinations.  I waited in my wheelchair in the hallway for my all-expenses-paid trip to the OR and spent the time contemplating gag-me artwork and the sign above the exit which simply read “Phi.”  It made me miss my students…

Hospital art–patients get well just to get away from it!

Having successfully been squooshed and impaled on a giant needle, I moved on to the OR.  The nurse who greeted me was a vivacious and friendly young woman from BERLIN!!  She and I bonded over fantasies of Schitzel and Spaetzle!

Another nurse came to put in my IV and told me all about how inept other nurses are at drawing blood.  She then tried four different places on my arm and hand, failing each time to find a good vein, and causing me to bleed onto the floor.  I’m not kidding.  When she removed the large-bore needle at one point to replace it by a smaller one (I apparently have fine veins), blood came spurting out and dripping down my hand onto the floor and blanket.  My mom raised her eyebrows and looked away–always a bad sign…  Ya think removing the tourniquet might have helped?  While the nurse was mopping up the floor, I told my mom she had to invest in a camera phone so I could keep visual records of such exploits! 

She finally found a vein on the side of my hand that worked just fine…and I stopped wiggling my feet at warp speed, which is my antidote to queeziness caused by excessive blood loss at the hands of a nurse who was a self-proclaimed expert in the field.

My anesthesiologist was a Brit whose bedside manner consisted of actually sitting on my bed and shooting the breeze. 

I think we might have lapsed into flirting, quite by mistake!  When I asked that he be careful with my vocal chords, for obvious reasons, he said [insert Gecko voice from the Geico commercials], “Do you know how it makes me feel when patients ask me these questions?”  To which I replied, tongue in dehydrated cheek, “Oh, right, I forgot–it’s really all about you.”&
nbsp; He smirked.  Gotta love them Brits!

I went into surgery around 3:00 and came out around 5:00.  In the minutes that followed, I had a Coke, a Ginger Ale, saltines, biscuits and pretzels.  I was just a little hungry! 

My doctor, the world’s kindest physician, came in to check on me and told me they’d sent the biopsy through xray to make sure they got all the calcifications before closing up.  She also re-excised my lumpectomy site to make sure all the cancerous margins were gone.  She assured me that the surgery had been successful and told me to stay hopeful.  As she was walking away, I called her back and asked her if she happened to be a believer.  She smirked a little sheepishly and nodded.  No wonder I’ve loved her so much!

Once again, I was out of the hospital by six and wheeled out to the parking lot by Sylvia, my German nurse, whom I hugged while my driver brought the car around:

Nope–wrong driver!  I’d much rather make the three-hour trip home in my devoted mom’s PT-Cruiser than in the lap of luxury. Some day, she might add up the number of hours she’s spent in waiting rooms and driving to and fro and realize that I’ve pretty much monopolized her summer!  She even washed and IRONED my sheets while I was gone–anyone who knows me also knows that’s the way to my heart!  But she assures me that she wouldn’t want it any other way, and I’m thrilled by that…and ever so grateful.

   

And now?  I wait–I should know by Monday if the calcifications are of the less serious variety and if I’m clear to fly back to Germany on September 22.  A doctor in Switzerland (45 minutes from home) has already agreed to do my radiation therapy–God continues to bless me with people who know people who know people…  This connection came through the wonderful nurses at BFA.  Thank you SO MUCH, Liliane and Jan!

And while I wait?   I speak at a church in London (Ontario) this Sunday, then fly off to Colorado on Monday.  My mom needs to take care of her mom while her sister is busy with candidate orientation at GEM, and since I shouldn’t be home alone as I recuperate, I’m going with her!  A little insane?  Perhaps–but a lot fun too.  

I’d value your prayers as I recover and await the final verdict on returning to Germany.  There’s still a small chance that I’ll need a mastectomy, if the biopsy reveals “bad stuff,” but I’m focusing my energies on expecting a good outcome and a quick recovery from surgery #8.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned this summer, it’s not to sweat what I don’t know yet!  That’s a poem–I should be a Creative Writing teacher or something…

THANK YOU for your prayers.  They carried me through today as they have carried me through this entire McJourney ID.  You have been God’s powerful and constant provision in my life, and I’m grateful for you.   


Comments

Comments(6)

  1. Michelly, how you can rustle up energy, and creative at that, to make an entertaining story out of pain induced procedures making every paininflictor a beloved character never ceases to amaze me! May you be immortalized in the Wheaton library of fame and given various honorary degrees and prizes as have other such gifted writers. I am so thanking God for carrying you and giving you humour in the midst of deep trials by fire and poking. We are battling other kinds of forces here and need our beloved witty creative writing/choir teacher friend to get her armor on and come back! Glad you were able to muster up strength to find some life forces over there with the students plus! God is good and you are a trooper! waiting…Renee

  2. Michelly, how you can rustle up energy, and creative at that, to make an entertaining story out of pain induced procedures making every paininflictor a beloved character never ceases to amaze me! May you be immortalized in the Wheaton library of fame and given various honorary degrees and prizes as have other such gifted writers. I am so thanking God for carrying you and giving you humour in the midst of deep trials by fire and poking. We are battling other kinds of forces here and need our beloved witty creative writing/choir teacher friend to get her armor on and come back! Glad you were able to muster up strength to find some life forces over there with the students plus! God is good and you are a trooper! waiting…Renee

  3. Whew. I’m SO GLAD to hear that you made it through all the torture of yesterday!!! At first, not having received an email I thought, Oh, she was so tired when she got home that she didn’t have energy to write. Then I thought to check facebook and sure enough, there you were!! Renee’s right. You keep us entertained with funny stories about VERY SERIOUS life matters!! Can’t WAIT to see you!!

  4. what church are you speaking at this sunday?

  5. Great news!…..Thanks for sharing in the journey.

  6. Dear Michele,
    thank you once again. Your visuals are so… visual and really help us to cringe with you! Psalm 62 has helped me through so many times of loneliness, misunderstanding, disappointment. I was glad to see it on your page too! And like you, I believe there is no one quite like a MOM to care for her babies. No matter what their age or stage of life! Thank you God for our MOMs! I pray that God will continue in HIs healing of you. Bless you.

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