Monday, April 19, 2010

Faced. Handled. Gotten Through.

It's a beautiful morning here at our vacation house; I'm sitting in a comfy chair and staring at the ocean. So very lovely. So very therapeutic.
By way of an update on life in general, Steve and I will hang out here until Wednesday afternoon (Sarah is staying with friends from church) and then we'll head home to unpack and get a whole slew of things accomplished before heading to Greenville late Thursday afternoon.
Steve will need to have most of his sermon for Sunday finished by then and I'll also need to work on prep for the service. (Even though I won't be there.) That includes filing music from last Sunday's service, making a new music list, pulling music for the four singers, drummer, Steve, and the pianist who will be filling in, and then getting all the songs and Steve's sermon Power Point slides entered into the computer, and creating new announcement slides to be projected on Sunday morning.
Of course, I'll be packing and getting things ready for my sister and Mom's arrival at the same time.
Sarah, Steve and I will drive to Greenville Thursday night and stay in a home owned by one of our church members. Steve's parents are driving into Greenville from Charlotte Thursday; they'll stop through Raleigh on the way to pick up Mom and Debbie from the airport and bring them on to Greenville.
And then Friday morning? Well, we all know what happens Friday morning. I'm just not going to think about that right now. How can one dwell on a subject like a traumatic surgery when one is gazing at the ocean?
Nope. Just can't be done.
Yesterday at church, Steve asked if I would sing a particular song I've written following his sermon. (He's doing a series on the book of Job.) I got up there feeling pretty calm and "in control" but when I got to the second verse, I just lost it. Here are the lyrics:
I never thought the time would come when I'd embrace the fire
Never thought I'd choose to face the flame
But in its sacred light I've seen the ash of my desire
Swept away, till just your Voice remains.
Well, those words just did me in and I spent the rest of the song, half singing, half crying. By that point, most of the people in the congregation were crying too, all of them fully aware of the fire that I was about to face.
Steve came up and stood with me and put his arm around me while I continued to sing--and sniffle. He was being such a wonderful, supportive husband, trying to sing the words for me when I was too choked up to continue. Unfortunately, since I haven't sung that song for a while, he wasn't real clear on how all the words went, so there he was, cheerily and courageously singing out words to my song that weren't even correct! (smile) I was so tempted to giggle, right in the middle of my tears which would have been a rather alarming sight--the pastor's wife crying, giggling, sniffling and singing, all at the same time!
At any rate, we did eventually make it through to the end and it just turned out to be such a sweet moment for all of us. Tears have a way of breaking down walls, bonding hearts and mending spirits--it was truly a special morning between us and our dear congregation. (Note: I've included the lyrics to the song at the end of this post; it's one of my favorites.)
Today, as I was thinking through all the stresses that we're facing right now (and yes, we're still at a point of great stress concerning our housing situation) I remembered back to 2008 when I had a cancer scare amidst a lot of other things going on. I went back and found a timeline that I had drawn up and as I read through it, I was reminded that we made it through that difficult season and we will make it through this one, as well.
Dec. 5-6 (2007)
Sarah and I were at Duke for her 5-year post transplant studies. After plenty of nervous waiting and stress we got the "all clear" report!
Dec. 14
Steve had surgery to remove two suspicous moles.

Dec. 20
Steve had a colonoscopy (Oh happy day!)

Dec. 31
Had my annual physical and was told to schedule a mammogram as soon as possible.

Jan 7 (2008)
Steve was diagnosed with skin cancer.

Jan. 10
Had my mammogram and was told that I would need a Breast Specific Gamma Imaging Study. (BSGI)

Jan. 11
I had my pulmonary function testing done and was told there was a 10 percent drop in function since last year and that I might be looking at a double lung tranplant if the trend continues. (I'm at
60 percent of normal lung capacity right now) Was started on a new, heavy-duty inhaler.

Jan. 15
Steve had surgery to remove more of the area around the place where the two (one cancerous, one pre-cancerous) moles had been.

Jan. 17
Had a chest x-ray because my pulmonologist wanted to see if there was anything "obvious" causing decreased lung function.

Jan. 18
Sarah went to Duke for a routine dermatology visit and ended up having two suspicous moles removed.

Jan. 24
Had the BSGI study done as well as an ultrasound. It was made clear to me during that visit that there were definite areas of concern.

Jan. 28
Got the call that there were "atypical cells" in the moles Sarah had removed and she would need additional surgery.

Jan. 30
Had a breast MRI which turned out to be traumatic, teary experience because of a severe, unexplained pain in my abdomen during the whole thing.

Feb. 1
Got the MRI report saying that there were areas in BOTH breast that were highly suspicous of malignancy. (90-95% chance)

Feb. 6
Had core needle biopsies done on both breasts

Feb. 7
Had an appointment with breast surgeon
where we were supposed to get the biopsy results and discuss surgery options. (She was talking about surgery sometime in the next two weeks.) Found out that the biopsies results had been delayed but, in her words, the mammo/MRI results were "very, very concerning."

Feb. 8
Got the news that six pathologists had argued all day over the biopsies with
half of them thinking they were malignant and half of them thinking they were benign.

Feb. 11
Was told that the biopsies were being sent to the experts at Mayo clinic for further study. Was also told that my films and biopsies would be studied by a group of area radiologists, surgeons and pathologists on Feb. 14.

Feb. 14
Should have the results from that "study group" today.

Appointments yet to come:

Feb. 15
A visit to my pulmonologist and follow up pulmonary function tests.

Feb. 26
Sarah will go back to a Duke surgeon to have more of the area around her suspicious moles cut out.

And in all likelihood, a follow up surgical biopsy of the breast will be scheduled for me soon. (
Note added: Yes, I did go on to have surgical biopsies of both breasts. Results: benign.)

So there you have it--a tough period of life.

Faced. Handled. Gotten through.

We did it before, with God's strength and the help of of our friends. No reason why we can't do it again.

I'll close with the lyrics from the song I sang yesterday.


1. I never thought the day would come
When I'd be stripped so bare
Never knew such brokenness could be
But here I stand before you with my heart in disrepair
Take me where your healing waits for me

Quietly,speak to me
Tell me you inhabit every heartache, every tear
Quietly, sing to me
Melodies of mercy only broken hearts can hear

2. I never thought the time would come
When I'd embrace your fire
Never thought I'd choose to face the flame
But in its sacred light I've seen the ash of my desire
Swept away till just your voice remains

Repeat chorus

I can feel the thunder from the storm, yet I'm at peace
And I will smile and rise to ride the wind
My fragile wings are stronger and my heart is finally free
And as I fly, I'll hear your voice again

Quietly, speak to me
Tell me you inhabit every heartache, every tear
Quietly, sing to me
Melodies of mercy only broken hearts can hear

(You can info about ordering "Sweeterwater," the CD this song is on, by clicking on the CD order link at the top of the page.)

7 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Jessica Kramasz said...

Such beautiful lyrics!

Katrina said...

I am thinking of you all. Lot of love .

Anonymous said...

How is Steve doing with his skin cancer? What was the stage?


Ann Martin said...

So glad you are on "vacation." But then, aren't people who live at the beach always on vacation?
Will be praying for you each day especially Friday. My uncle will be at Pitt on Thursday for a biopsy. Please pray for him (Carlton) as his cancer has returned in his neck. He has been a survivor for 10 years. God is in control and I must remember that. Just talked with my aunt and him (briefly). Did not know the news until today as we have been in SC for our son's wedding and did not check e-mails while there. Take care and love you.

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

I'm so thankful we serve a God who ALWAYS...'gets us through'!

Know that I'm praying for you as you spend this time getting some much needed r and r. God will use this time to refresh, and restore your heart as you prepare for your surgery.

I'm so glad to hear that your mom and sister will be coming into town!! You will have some great support there.

I'll continue to lift you up with much prayer this week, and in the weeks to come.

Love ya friend.


Anonymous said...

Hi Becky! Enjoy your vacation. I don't know about you, but when I have something of magnitude looming, the less time I have to wait around the better because it's the waiting that drives me crazy.
Thinking of you,
Pam T

Anonymous said...

one of my favorite parts in Sound of Music is when
Cap't von Trapp is trying to sing Edleweiss, and he gets choked up, and Julie Andrews joins him in singing. Of course, I think she actually knew the correct words, but I am sure you and Steve were just as loving a couple as the von Trapps. I imagine there were quite a few tears shed in your congregation for you.
we asked God to bless you today, Becky, in Preschool, and I will certainly be praying for you and your family this week. How wonderful that you will have so many family members with you on Friday.

mrs pam