She happened to call at just the right time yesterday...
Fran, my case manager from Blue Cross Blue Shield. I'd just returned home from my follow-up appointment with the surgeon...the one who removed my appendix...and I was freaking out because it's possible I'll need surgery again...soon.
What I thought was normal tenderness from the appendectomy was actually not normal.
Something's wrong, the surgeon said, effortlessly pinpointing the exact location of my pain. Your gallbladder needs to come out, he said. We'll run some tests...
The news blindsided me.
Surgery? Again? Wasn't the appendix issue enough? The weeklong hospital stay? The decision to delay surgery for weeks, trying to calm the infection down so they wouldn't have to remove part of the intestines as well? (It worked.) The nausea? The pain?
How about the surgery? What about the sensation of being suffocated from the general anesthesia? Who can forget the long dark night in the hospital wrestling to find a pain medication that worked?
Another surgery was not on my bucket list. No, not at all.
Never mind that I didn't feel too good. I haven't felt good since cancer treatments began two years ago. I can deal with not feeling good. But surgery? Please not.
It was a quiet ride home in the car, Joe and me.
Shortly after arriving home, that's when the phone rang. It was Fran, my case manager, a nurse from Blue Cross Blue Shield. You get one of those when you have a chronic illness, like my type of cancer.
I'd spoken with Fran often enough to feel like buddies. I bombarded her with several medical questions, and she was knowledgeable and helpful.
Then, I couldn't help it. I went there. I asked questions I dare not direct to anyone but a voice on the other end of the line that I'd never met.
"I'm worried," I said. "What if this is related to the cancer? Could it be?"
"First of all, don't worry," Fran said. "What's worry going to do for you? Worry is useless."
Thank you. I needed that.
"Lots of people get appendicitis," she said. "Many have gallbladder problems. These problems are treatable."
"But I've always been so healthy," I said...whined. "I never had health problems until cancer packed its punch two years ago. I can't relate to the string of ensuing health issues. Nothing makes sense. Nothing adds up."
Then I voiced my deepest fears.
"Why is this happening?" I said. "What's causing all this? Is it the cancer? The chemo treatments? Did the chemo treatments just flick a switch in my system and make everything come apart? What's going on?"
Finally, Fran spoke. Her words were simple and direct. "I think only One person can answer that."
I knew exactly what she meant.
"And I think His name is G...O...D," I said.
Even with that simple acknowledgement, my fears subsided.
Suddenly I realized what I was doing: I was trying to control something I couldn't control.
Typically, I choose not to question God. My faith is in Him, at all times, in all things. No matter what happens. At least, that's what I've always said.
Suddenly, I realized that, really, I was balking...why me?
It's all a matter of faith.
I looked at the cross, and thought, why not me?
In that moment, a great inner strength arose..
I'm convinced it'll be alright.
Next up: HIDA scan of the gallbladder.
No matter what happens, I will constantly praise the Lord. Psalm 34:1
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