Fast forward from 1994 to the Spring of 2005. My husband was preparing to visit his father in Texas for a week. I was eager for him to be on his way because I had a list a mile long of things I wanted to do in his absence. In fact, I said “Lord, I have so many worthwhile things to accomplish. Please don’t get in my way!” What a foolish thing to say!
My husband had not been gone 48 hours before I was flat on my back with the worst upper respiratory incident I had ever experienced. I seemed to get these sinus/bronchial infections at least twice a year, but this one was worse than usual. I had to sleep in a recliner so I could breathe. None of those important projects such as visiting people, doing deeds of mercy, or housework had even been started. What a graphic illustration of the saying “Man proposes; God disposes!” It was clear I was not the one in control of my agenda.
By Friday of that week I was not getting any better and I was fighting for every breath. With the weekend looming and fearing that pneumonia was setting in, I asked my daughter to take me to the emergency room. The ER experience was typical….lots of waiting…..and waiting. They did a chest x-ray and took their time getting back to me with the results. I will never forget when the doctor walked into the room where my daughter and I were waiting and announced, “Well, Mrs. Anderson, you do not have pneumonia but you do have cancer!” The date was April 1, but this was no joke.
There were many things in that moment that I had no answers for. It had been 11 years since the doctor said, “We got it all,” when my worst fear that the cancer might return had been realized, and it had taken up residence in my lungs. The x-ray showed two larger tumors and many peanut-sized tumors scattered throughout my lungs. A CT scan followed that evening that confirmed the diagnosis. This news was so overwhelming that trusting God was the only thing I could do. Metastatic disease could not have come at a worse time as I was both unemployed and uninsured. Yet the God with whom I had been so brazen lovingly flooded my heart with his peace.
My husband was still out of town but was due home in a couple of days. I shared the information with my children but did not think it fair to deliver the news to him by phone. I wanted to talk this over in person. Upon his return, we gathered as a family to contemplate an uncertain future and to pray together for the Lord’s guidance.
I was referred to a thoracic surgeon who performed a bronchoscopy hoping to collect enough cells to determine the exact type of cancer that was in my lungs.
When that procedure did not yield enough material for testing, a lung biopsy was ordered. The doctor made it sound like such a simple procedure that I made plans for the weekend following the surgery on Thursday! Again, I was such a fool. As it turned out, this was major surgery requiring the usual six-week recouperation period! Tests proved the cancer to be the exact same granulosa cell that had been in my ovary. That being confirmed, I was then referred to a gynecological oncologist. It is hard for people to understand that I do not have lung cancer. I have ovarian cancer in my lungs!
I will pause the narrative here and take it up again next week. Stay tuned. God is at work.
The Lord be praised!