Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Go Time!

Thursday a.m. (5/19) @ 8:00, we report to MDA for metastatic melanoma surgery #4 since Summer 08. I'll be under the excellent surgical care of Dr. Mehran, who did the other three also.

To my chagrin, this one--like last year's--will require removing part of another rib. Which means (lots) more than a few days of feeling yucky when we get back home. (Last year, I had to re-fill the pain med prescription they sent home with me...yeah...*sigh*)

[Ever known a 50-something-year-old mixed martial arts fighter who's missing parts of multiple ribs? Me neither. So since that career path is out, I s'pose I'll keep on professoring. ;-{)} ]

What's it like the night before metastatic melanoma surgery? What goes through one's mind?

I can't answer for everyone; just me. Bottom line: Very Heavy-Duty stuff! I'm pondering things like pain, my own mortality (as Dr. Mehran says, we should not take surgery lightly!), heaven (how awesome it will be whenever that day comes for me), friends (great ones I have & not-so-great one that I've been at times), being a husband & father (basically, coming to grips that I've not been nearly what I should be as a husband & as a father...and earnestly desiring more chances to love & lead Lisa, James, & Anne...and trusting that God's grace will magnify my efforts far beyond my own abilities), unfinished business, life & ministry impact (or lack thereof at times), the you-gotta-be-kidding-me amazing grace of God that overcomes all of my own sins & shortcomings...

Fairly overpowering stuff, apart from the grace of God, I gotta tell you! (Nearly overpowering *with* the grace of God!) I'm struck that such things should go through our minds at times *other than* the night before surgery...Hmmm...

Gloriously, God gives a greater grace in the form of mental blocking mechanisms & distractions. (Related, I'm VERY thankful for Stu Weber's book Infinite Impact on this trip...I've long loved Stu's writing, & this one's exactly what I needed so far on this trip.) Plus, my Business students will be pleased to hear that our hotel's free newspaper is the Wall St. Journal. Oddly, there seem to be extra copies left @ the end of each day. Strange... ;-{)}

Also, as much of a bummer as another surgery recovery is, a quick glance around MDA--even just around our hotel!--reminds me that as far as cancer journeys go, I am *most* blessed & fortunate! On a fairly regular basis, I'm undone by seeing fellow patients & their families. I rarely cry when I see them...until they pass by, or until a bathroom avails itself, whichever.


My part's easy; hers is...not easy. I'd *much* rather be the patient than the loved one of the patient!

So our hope is that by this time tomorrow I'm in the warehouse as I call it (recovery room) getting ready to head to our regular hospital room. Our further hope is that by this time next week, we've been back home in H'burg for a couple of days already with me on the mend.

While you're at it, would you please pray that the melanoma doesn't come back in me ever again? I'd *love* for that to be the case, but that, of course is not up to me nor to Dr. Mehran, nor any other Dr. here.

Thanks so much for holding us up & encouraging us through "this light, momentary affliction."

With much love & great hope,
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

(p.s. - ever seen an xray of a guy missing part of a rib? It's fascinating...would be more so if it weren't an xray of me! *smile*)

p.p.s. for all who insist on lying in the sun and/or on the tanning bed: I have some scars to show you, with more to come tomorrow...and my melanoma showed up over 30 years after I moved away from the beach. And my family does not have a history of melanoma; well, not until me. Effect, meet cause...

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