The past two weeks have been among the most traumatic of my life so far, yet among the most blessed as well.
It all began Sunday night, March 9, around 9pm. Using the restroom, I discovered my urine was crimson red. Lisa assumed I was about to pass a kidney stone, an issue I had twice before. All night, the same, yet strangely without any pain. The next day, I saw our family doctor, whom Lisa works for, who immediately ordered a CT scan. I had it done that very afternoon, and it revealed a mass in my bladder. They scheduled me an appointment for the very next day, Tuesday, with the urologist our doctor is friends with. He not only saw me, but scheduled a procedure that very afternoon to scope and remove whatever was up there.
When he finished, he informed Lisa he had found a cancerous bladder tumor, had completely removed it, and so far could see no evidence it had invaded the walls of my bladder. They would send everything off for a biopsy and pathology report, which would take a week to return. I left with a catheter up inside me for the next 6 days, until this past Monday. I spent last week physically uncomfortable (to say the least), but also stunned at the news- the dreaded “C” word, cancer, had been discovered in my body. We passed the week battling fear, anxiety, and the “what if” questions. It was a long week. Yet we were prayed for and encouraged by friends, family, even total strangers, from near and far.
I went in Monday to have the catheter removed, and the doctor told us the report had been “inconclusive” and was being sent to another lab for analysis. He also told us how big the tumor had been, 2″ in size. That shocked Lisa and I, yet he said, “My gut feeling is, its not in the muscle tissue. But we need that report to be sure.” We spent the rest of Monday battling fear again, after hearing the sheer size of the tumor.
Monday night, I got an unexpected call from a pastor I had never met in Kentucky, who had found out about me through mutual family acquaintances. He had been suffering with a leukemia-style blood cancer for three years, had undergone numerous bone marrow transplants and chemo treatments, and wanted to pray for and encourage me in the Lord. We talked for about 20 minutes, and I wept when we hung up, at the perfect timing of God to connect him with me.
Tuesday came, a week since the procedure that discovered the tumor, and finally the call came we had been anticipating. The urologist said, “The report is clean, no cancer whatsoever. Completely gone, no trace of it in the liner, much less the muscle tissue. To be honest, its better than I thought. I’m amazed a tumor of that size didn’t penetrate even the liner. Everyone’s prayers for you must have worked.” I had to sit down, the news was such an overwhelming relief. I called Lisa, our girls, our parents, then began texting and networking the word out to everyone who had prayed for us in this. I will still undergo targeted chemo treatments for six weeks in my bladder to insure it does not return, but I can handle that, after getting this welcome news.
As I sit here and reflect on the whole ordeal, and the physical issues of the previous month, I am humbled and thankful for the ever-present help and peace of God. He has wrought a miracle in my body, answering our prayers. I have been encouraged by friends and family, new acquaintances, by almost daily Bible verses God would give me in my readings, and even simply speaking His peace into my anxious mind. He upheld us throughout, and I know He will continue to, wherever the road leads next. No fear, only faith.
I want to stay intimately, desperately connected to Christ in my daily life, lean into Him regularly as I have these recent days and weeks. I also want to continue to deeply feel and minister to the hurts of others, as I was ministered to. So many, like the pastor from Kentucky, offered comfort to me even as they dealt with their own sufferings. Mine are momentary and light compared to so many. May God keep my heart sensitive to Him and sensitive to others, all the days I may have left down here.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” -2 Corinthians 1:3-5