After finding out that something wasn’t right, everything grew blurry. The trip to from Roseau to Grand Forks was long, but not nearly as long for me as it was for my parents I’m sure. Two days later, on July 8th I would be in surgery, about 4 hours after going under, it would be over.
Hope, Strength and more
The day before surgery there was a beautiful double rainbow. For me, I imagined it was two of my grandparents looking down on me telling me everything was going to be okay. That same day, I was sitting in my hospital room with my pastor and his wife. As I was standing next to the window looking out, I collapsed. A complete black out. No doubt a symptom of the tumor causing pressure on my brain. Pastor Joe is a great man, a wise man. I remember something he shared with my mom early on during this stage of my cancer journey that has stuck with me ever since, it has to do with hope.
His quote gave hope a definition and more so a description that has been a lasting image for me during all the hard times that have come up since cancer. He told my family to keep up faith and hope, and to remember that hope is “like finding the door of the unknown ajar, with light streaming through the crack.”
Think about it for a second. It’s a beautiful metaphor isn’t it? Light piercing darkness, a door ajar providing an exit from the unknown. It has stuck with me, obviously, to this day.
After the collapse, I came to a few minutes later with nurses, doctors and family all around me concerned.
Ahead of my surgery I had a small army of neurologists and neurosurgeons working on my case. It seems amazing in hindsight. That a relatively small community hospital had such a concentration of medical specialists on staff. I’m still grateful to this day.
My chief neurologist gave me a list of words he wanted me to memorize before my neurosurgeon operated. I recited them a couple of times to him. The theme of the list were all around strength and hope. Pastor Joe would have been proud.
The day of the surgery came and some 4 hours later I was waking up in the ICU. My two older sisters were there and the first thing out of my mouth, aside from frustration over the discomfort of my catheter (one of the most miserable things EVER!), was repeating the list. At first i spoke in a whisper, no one could understand. My mom came in shortly after. I said the list louder.
I did it.
The door was ajar.
The light was streaming through the hope was seen all the way through. I made it through surgery, and I wasn’t “dumb.” I could recite the list of words my neurologist gave me ahead of my surgery. It was one of the most precious and greatest moments of my life. I went on to count to 100 by 7’s and repeat a couple other of the neurological tests my team of doctors ran through with me ahead of the surgery.
It had been a busy day. A big day. I was tired. My body had been through a lot. But hope had beaten that door down. The door of the unknown wasn’t just cracked anymore, it was busted. We were ready for what was next. At least, we thought we were. Although, is anyone ever ready to hear those dreaded three little words . . .
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