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Cancer, Life's Challenges

A Cancer Story: From Cussing to Trusting

Surgery in a CCC camp infirmary

(Photo credit: OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons)

We spent the night before the big surgery at my parents’ home. They live twenty minutes from the hospital and since we had to be there so early it allowed the kids to go back to bed once we left in the morning. When I said my goodbyes to my darling daughters and my parents I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever see them again. The surgery, which would consist of removing a portion of my colon and giving me an ileostomy, is something the surgeon had done many, many times but it was still major surgery and anything can go wrong.

I was also told they wouldn’t know the true extent of the cancer until after the surgery when they biopsied the lymph nodes around the site. I had no idea what kind of news I’d wake up to.

I still have very vivid memories of the hour leading up to surgery but they’re sporadic. I remember the nurse shaving the surgical site and being careful to maintain my modesty. I remember her getting me a blanket from the warmer. The anesthesiologist came in, explained everything, and asked me if I had any questions. I told him to make sure I stayed asleep; I didn’t want to wake up with my guts all hanging out. He assured me he’d put me way under and keep me there.

But the most vivid memory I have is when they rolled me down the hallway to the operating room. Jen walked beside the gurney and held my hand. I remember them wheeling me into the room and watching Jen in the hallway, staring at her, wanting to take in all I could. She forced a smile but I could see the fear in her eyes. Then the double doors swung shut and she was gone. Less than a minute later I was asleep.

And fortunately I didn’t wake up and see my guts all over the bed.

I woke up less a man than when I went in. Over a foot of my colon had been removed and I think I lost several pounds just in those few hours in the operating room. Jen said I was gray, emaciated, and cold and limp as a dead fish. She stroked my hair and asked me how I felt. I said I felt like s**t. It was one of the only times in my life that I’ve cussed in public and I’m not ashamed of it because that’s exactly how I did feel. I felt like someone dragged me to the edge of death, cut me open, fiddled with my guts, sewed me up, and brought me back to the land of the living.

But little did I know at that moment that my hospital stay would push me to the limits of my faith, that I would cry out to God like I never had before. It would be my moment of truth, where I decided if I trust Him or not, where I run from Him or turn and fall into His arms.

What was your moment of truth? That moment where you had to make a decision: do I trust God or don’t I?

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About michaelkingbooks

I write stories of faith and family, love and loss, heartache and triumph. Here I blog about faith, relationships, and genuine living.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “A Cancer Story: From Cussing to Trusting

  1. Mike, thanks so much for being so transparent with your experience. Your posts have made me examine my experience with eyes now wide-open to see God’s hand through it all. I too had a crisis of faith in my first run-in with this monster. But God’s grace and love have undergirded me through it all–surgery, follow-up treatment, and the necessary regular checkups (which I despise because I don’t want to be “reminded” of it). Blessings to you, Jen, and the girls!

    Posted by Deb | August 23, 2012, 8:16 am
  2. We were pushed to the edge when my son was born 5 weeks early. Picturing the little guy laying on the gurney struggling for breath still brings tears to my eyes.

    I have to echo Deb and say thanks for your transparency in this series of blog posts. It has to be hard to relive all of this, but I think it will help many people.

    Posted by Shane Werlinger | August 23, 2012, 3:06 pm
  3. After a trauma happened in my life, I went through post-traumatic stress and intense grief. I, too cussed a bit. (Well, more than a bit.) It was during that time that I learned the “real” meaning of “his grace is sufficient for me” and the concept of leaning on the Lord for everything. Those things became more than vague Christianese concepts. They were my lifeline. They still are.

    Posted by T | August 23, 2012, 11:25 pm
    • I think it takes trials to move concepts to concrete, to move them from our head to our heart. And when we break down and falter and struggle and claw, God understands and He’s there to lift us up and set us back on our feet. That’s one of the things I love about Him so much!

      Posted by michaelkingbooks | August 24, 2012, 5:37 am
  4. Powerful post. Thanks so much for sharing. As a nurse, I’m glad those around you took good care of you.

    Posted by Jordyn Redwood | August 24, 2012, 8:29 pm

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