My room is quiet. The halls outside seem quiet, but God’s people are all around. A knock on my door and a sweet, older lady walks in. She looks at me and says, “Are you the patient? Girl, you look beautiful.” I have the feeling that she says that to everyone. I told her today I just felt like getting dressed and even put on some makeup. Again, “Girl, even without that, you are still beautiful.” She was simply a MDA volunteer but she radiated God’s love this morning. This is my first time to sit in this room by myself. It is Sunday, and my heart wants to be where I usually am on Sundays. My heart wants to be hugging my friends and praising my Lord. But instead, God brought this lady to me for encouragement to keeping fighting and never stop raising my hands toward Him like she said she did in the cotton fields many, many years ago.
I was checking into MDA Wednesday morning at 6 am. That morning, I pulled up the Verse of the Day:
“Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1
That verse washed a sense of peace over me. Reminding me of God’s greater plan, God’s greater love. While I did not choose this journey for myself, the way I embrace it serves as a sacrifice. And offering my body that day seemed very fitting. God is using my journey for a purpose. And he let my healing take place through the sacrifice of this body. Through a friend’s perspective, I began to see the surgery as a gift. It was the answer to eliminating the cancer. It was life-giving.
The surgeon told us that morning that if the chest wall could be closed easily, that there would be no extra tissue needed. But the extent of the cancer was greater than they thought. Because my cancer extended into the skin, it was very important that all diseased skin was removed. The surgeon took her first attempt at removing the disease. She then took samples of the surrounding area to be sent to pathology for traces of cancer cells. It came back showing several areas that were still positive. So to get clear margins, she had to remove more skin. The plastic surgeon then stepped in with the task of closing it. The plan was to take my latissimus muscle in the back and wrap it around under my arm to serve as new tissue and help close the gap, it’s called a L-flap. The surgeon then had to go a step further because he still needed more skin, and that came from a large skin graft on my outer thigh. So, I have three very invasive areas that are trying to heal. All the doctors have said that everything went very well. Healing is going well too. I will have quite the scars to tell my story, but I will have a story to tell. I will be held in the hospital for at least 5 days to make sure the skin graft bonds properly and stays healthy. I have heard rumors that I may get to go home on Monday.
Our next phase is to return on the 17th for a post-op visit that will reveal the full pathology of the removed tissue. The information from that will determine our next steps. It seems very possible that I will undergo 6 weeks of radiation, M-F here at MDA. Initially that seemed an impossible task. But the possibility of my full body being cancer-free is more important than the convenience of staying in Round Rock.
I am so overwhelmed and thankful for how far my story has traveled. But this is not just my story, it is God’s. His hand has been in this every step of the way. He knew the outcome before we ever stepped foot in MDA. He is good and his ways are holy. Thank you for walking beside us.