My friends, I thought it would be nice if I wrapped up the journey my beloved and I have been on this year.
It started with us being led to do something that required faith: get pregnant. We didn’t understand why, but our hearts grew more willing as we talked, prayed, and talked more. When we got pregnant right away, we felt sure that we were on the right path– and we got excited.
Then the signs of possible trouble, but the belief that the baby would be okay. We spent six hours at the ER as they did test after test on my dear one. The ultrasound technician’s body language was telling me something– I knew something was happening– but I had no clue what we were in for.
Then the ER doctor, Taylor Kallas, came in after we’d waited for so long and leading off by saying, “We have to talk.” He described the mass on her kidney. Said the pregnancy tests were inconclusive. Pointed out that treatment of the mass/cancer was dicey, given the pregnancy. A bolt of lightning hit me the moment he told us what the ultrasound had turned up.
I knew. I knew EXACTLY why Father in Heaven had told us to get pregnant. It was to save her life. We just had to have the faith that would lead us through incomplete understanding to obedience.
Dr. Kallas indicated that we might want to hope for a miscarriage. We didn’t want to do that. We wanted this baby.
Then at the urologist later that week. He said that 90%+ of the time when a mass like this was found incidentally, it was renal cell carcinoma. He said that needle biopsies would be inconclusive, given the size of the tumor: 10cm x 8cm x 8cm. He agreed that a miscarriage would make things clearer and easier.
We still didn’t want that. We didn’t want to have make a choice about it either, because that would have been indescribably harder.
Ten, long painful days of waiting, waiting, waiting. And then we found out conclusively that she was having a miscarriage. That was a tough night. Every tear from my beloved showed me her broken heart– broken in a way I’d never seen before. Different. Really deep. And it hurt me to see it, but that was pain I welcomed, because she needed me there and I wanted to be there and my own grief had to wait for a while.
Underneath and above all of it was the incredible, undeniable miracle of God’s voice and our choice to follow His voice- in actual fact- saving her life from a large renal cell carcinoma.
I still marvel at that. I still marvel, and probably always will, at the moments where we put ourselves at His feet and said, “Thy will be done,” even though we didn’t understand. Who was that? I recognized my wife, her faith and strength and meekness and courage. I don’t recognize myself there– but I want to get know that version of me more.
We arose from our sorrow and got busy with having her kidney removed. The few seconds where I watched her let the grief finish its first run through her and she pulled her frayed self together and went back to our evening of kids and dinner and bedtimes– I kid you not; those are some of the most humbling seconds I’ve lived. My wife is mighty.
She’s also a goofball and a great kisser.
And the surgery happened. Pretty quickly, I would add. And I didn’t know how tight I was inside until I got word that she’d come out of surgery, the cancer looked totally contained, and she was fine. That’s the only time in all of this that I’ve.. I don’t know. Let it go? Mainly because I couldn’t have stopped that release. I was glad to be just parking my car in the hospital parking lot. I needed that privacy.
Now she’s pretty much recovered from the radical nephrectomy. She has a CT scan in May. Then another several months later. Then one every year for five years. All to make sure that there is no cancer anymore.
I went back to the hospital a few days after she got out. I waited in the ER for the ultrasound tech for a couple of hours. After two hours of waiting, I wrote him a note on the back of an envelope which held a tiny token of my thanks for him. As I was about to leave the note with the ER receptionist, the tech walked in. Trevor Whitney is his name.
He recognized me. I hugged him. I told him all the details, mostly that his excellent work found the tumor and saved my wife’s life. He was a little emotional and told me that he was glad to hear how things had turned out. He said he would share my note and our story with other technicians.
We parted ways.
A couple weeks ago, one of my wife’s friends was in the radiology department at this hospital, prepping for a scan of her gall bladder. Since this friend knew the story, she asked if the technician wouldn’t mind checking her kidneys too. She explained the context.
The technician had heard the story. It wasn’t our technician, Trevor, but someone else.
Word has spread. Kidneys are being scanned better as part of their procedure.
People might be saved. Like my wife. Because we listened and had faith and then I followed what I thought was maybe an indulgent whim but it was important to me– and I talked to Trevor.
This has been miracle after miracle, good after good– and it was cancer, major surgery, a miscarriage, a long recovery, and a lot of tears and strained patience and worry.
I can’t find anything bad in this experience we’ve had. Somehow, through grace and faith and love, the hardest thing we’ve ever experienced as a couple has been all for the good.
I’m not going to ask you to share this, because that would feel weird. But we don’t mind if you do and I feel that others can benefit, so go ahead if you want.