Fridays rock… Kids are at school, my sweetie and I have most of the day to ourselves. Now sometimes we live it up and sometimes we get sucked into all that has to be done. This was a little bit of both but a great day! Kids to school, we headed to work to check in. That might seem funny, but this incredible place of employment is not only where I work but was the place of Josh’s last 15 years of provision and support. These people are like family to us! After lots of hugs, we went to have our wedding rings fixed – something that has been on that list… you know the one that you just don’t get to? A few months ago we had a scare, Josh couldn’t find his ring. Three days later I found it between the lettuce and carrots in the veggie drawer of the fridge. My ring, an heirloom from Grandpa Lee, is getting very thin and just needed some reinforcement. As we sat there, I was reminded of when he first put this gorgeous ring on my finger and I was just so happy that this man is my life-partner. I would pick no other! We stopped for lunch downtown and buzzed home to meet the kids. There was last minute costume alterations to be done, oh Halloween how I love you… not! After a long nap, we shared dinner with Josh’s parents before winding down for the evening.
Decision made and feeling good in the morning, I was ready for a chill day. Precious time with the Lord and a quiet house were true blessings.
Verse for the Day: Make me to know your ways Oh Lord, teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation, for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:4-5
Mama Lee came and we ventured out for a cool drink and a look at the waves before getting to pickup at school so I could talk to Tobey and Raegan’s teachers. The waves were huge that day just like the waves in my soul, crashing but so powerful and beautiful. My little sis Heidi joined us and it was so good to be with her for even a few precious moments.
The afternoon brought kids and homework and bickering… some things never change! You could say I was maybe a little overwhelmed by the time Josh arrived home from work, flowers in hand and still no idea what dinner would be. He swooped in and it all was taken care of…. Friends, please pray for my husband. He is a saint and is beginning to realize all that I do to keep this house and this family afloat, and that can be very frightening as he treads this new scary water. Please pray that he would sleep like a rock, somehow have time for himself to exercise and stay sane, and maintain an unexplainable hope and peace.
We woke early to leave for Santa Barbara to meet with Dr. Park, whose office is across from Cottage Hospital. We were met in the waiting room by a lovely girl named Kate, just like Josh’s sister. She is our Nurse Navigator… how brilliant! A liaison between us and the doctor. We can ask questions and she will be with us through the entire process. She has worked with the Neurology Team at this hospital for a few years and just moved into this position. Our connection was immediate… A believer and just so many things to talk about right away. My heart just kept saying “Trust, this is going to be okay.”
We met the doctor, a neurosurgeon, not the warmest guy but honestly he doesn’t need bedside manner – just a steady hand. That’s why I have Kate! We asked all our questions, some received well others maybe not. The bottom line … they don’t know what this thing is until it comes out and so the first step is to get it out and then proceed on to the next step. Everyone’s first question is if the tumor is benign? They believe so but until this mass is under the microscope, it’s hard to know. I like realistic, supposing the best doesn’t help me cope with the dreaded. So I am content taking the first step. The other question is complications, and of course there are always possibilities of complications in any surgery – above all a brain surgery. Balance issues, vision, hearing, personality, bleeding, losing spinal fluid could all happen, but not likely. I did ask one question that the doctor didn’t seem to appreciate… “If this was your wife, what other doctors would you be considering?” The answer makes more sense to me now but it sent me for a tail-spin. He stated that he didn’t believe that any of the 5,000 neurosurgeons in the country would be practicing if they weren’t good at their profession, but if we wanted to get a 2nd opinion up at UCSF we could or wait 3 months and get another brain scan – he didn’t advise on that. We had two possible dates this coming Monday or Friday. Monday seemed unthinkable so early morning Friday was set. We left after a hug from Kate and headed to State Street for food and some time to process.
Kate suggested Tupelo Junction Cafe on State Street, what a charming, yummy place. I highly recommend! We ate and walked around until I got really tired, like so tired I wasn’t feeling well. We reached the car… The thought of a 2nd opinion was still an option. My eyes closed, Josh driving, all the feelings and possibilities came pouring out. A 2nd opinion would require a trip to SF very soon, more meetings with more surgeons and then as I lay there this overwhelming peace came over me and these words filled the empty space. “Sweetie I am not putting my trust in the expertise of a surgeon, but in the God who has already seen all my days and he’s got this.” The last two months have been me clawing my way to control, to understanding and I’ve finally let go, surrendered… I don’t want to go back to the bondage of that, I just want open hands and an open heart…complete trust.
My dear husband and protector was not so easily convinced. So we talked more and sought some advice from those in the medical field and spiritual mentors… reports on Dr. Park and Cottage Hospital were stellar. I was pretty confident how I felt but also wanted Josh to be completely at peace with all of this… He can be a little slower to process this much information! I had voiced my thoughts and told him that he had 90 miles to decide. Those miles must have revealed something or maybe he just went with how I was feeling, he just said ok next Friday it is! We got home and by the time I woke from my nap, I love naps, I was feeling good and got the clear to drive up to A-Town for a night out of the house. Good talks driving to my BFF Jodi, prayers pouring down on me with De Morey and dinner out with my mom and beloved Curt was just what I needed. By the time I got in bed, we decided that it was going to be “A Walk in the Park.”
The first real day I woke feeling so good; better than any day of the last two months. My twinner came, with the adorable puppy, Wrangler, and we just enjoyed each other. This strong woman, my best friend, sharer of DNA, who knows me like no other and feels what I feel and knows exactly what will make me feel better – which always includes dark chocolate and a hint of peanut butter and some encouraging words from God. I was loved on, listened to and prayed for and I was so grateful for the day!
Verse of the Day:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow – Romans 15:13
That is the only way I can describe how I felt on this Day Two of my journey, completely overflowing with God’s joy and peace.
Monday morning so full of promise, trying to make it as normal as possible, but knowing I should get my MRI results today. I went to work with my ‘Consider It All Joy Card’ in hand… a few goals for the day but not many. Got a call from my doctor which I took on the Sports Warehouse balcony – crazy place to get this news but that’s where it happened! Kinda disbelief and relief at the same time – abnormal growth in your brain is always shocking but relief that there was an answer. It was actually a good place to be, with so many friends and support at this dull job of mine. Hugs, tears, a trip to Starbucks and then I was off to see a neurosurgeon in SLO. What a dear man! At this point the doctor said brain tumor that needs to get out as soon as possible, blocking my spinal-fluid from flowing. He wanted to refer me to a Neurosurgeon in Santa Barbara who is a rock-star. My Mama Lee came with me and if you know her, you can imagine the ease she gave me. What a precious gift she is in my life. And then we were off to get meds started, get kids to soccer practice and start the calls.
My first breakdown happened picking up meds in CVS when the pharmacist asked if I knew what they were for and she came around to hug me. After having a headache for nearly two months, I can’t tell you how incredible I felt within hours of starting on the meds – It was unbelievable. By the time Josh got home from work I was feeling pretty good and it was all beginning. We told the kids and they took it okay. Kinda scared with a few direct questions like “Will they shave your head?” asks Raegan, “Are you going to die?” asks Tobey, and last “Can I still have my birthday party?” asks Raegan with her little grin. Overall they are happy that the doctor found something that can be fixed. I woke in the middle of the night and looked in the mirror and said “You have a brain tumor.” I was laughing inside in total disbelief.
So it’s Sunday, the day before I will receive my results and my daughter the angel flew in to save me! We had a very tough day at church, heartache at some changes taking place. We drove home just empty and discouraged, that pit of darkness just kept getting darker and deeper as we approached our home. I felt like I was on the edge of it trying not to fall in! At dinner we were taking about that verse in James 4:1:2 – Consider it all joy, my brothers when you encounter various trials. How it is possible? … and how the last few months have been trial after trial for me and for our church. We finished up and went on to our nightly ritual, which includes girl-time for Raegan and I. This is where we chat and talk and I try to be very real with her. I was sharing how I felt on the edge of the sadness pit again and how tomorrow needed to be a great day or I may be back in the depths. My daughter “the angel” had a brilliant idea and she coined the “Consider It All Joy Card”. She helped me think of all the things that I adore or make me giddy happy and we made a colorful card to go with me for the next day. Needless to say I was in utter shock and by the time I went to bed I was ready for the next day, it was going to be a great day!