Shock and Awe

St Jude

St Jude (Photo credit: Mary Anne Thygesen)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sheilah, Dr. J’s nurse called as I was enjoying a peaceful drive to work and my day changed.

The MRI showed abnormalities in four lymph nodes and a possible bilateral pleural effusion in the lungs – she wanted me down at the hospital at 1:00 for tests. So half day a work and off to the University that is quickly becoming my home away from home. I love the ease and convenience of the DCAM building for all the tests and appointments so far. This really was the first time I was anxious. Up to this point, I felt embraced by the comfort that it was only one lump that can be removed and I can resume my life. But Sheilah’s call forever changed that possibility.

First was an ultrasound of the lymph nodes, which was uncomfortable, since they had trouble locating the lymph nodes. After about 30 minutes, they had me get dressed and then they wanted to try one more time to get a good picture, so back on the table. The 3rd year med student and Radiologist finally got what they were looking for. So I then proceeded to the first floor for the Chest X Ray. Number 10 and 11.

After the Chest X Ray I was free to go, but I felt tied with weights. I needed to relax, I needed to be centered. I needed a church!

I had always wanted to see the Shrine of St. Jude on the south side of Chicago. I heard stories about my Dad and Uncle Julius going there. My parents have always supported their mission. The Shrine is at 3200 East 91st Street. Not the best neighborhood, but not the worst and I knew I would not be going alone. I have also supported their mission and have prayed to St. Jude regularly. St. Jude is the patron saint of the impossible. He was just what I needed today. It was easier to get to from the hospital than I thought and the area was clean and safe. As I enter the old church I immediately felt peace. I love old churches. I love the architecture and decorations. I knelt and asked the Lord to heal me. I lit a candle and asked for my loved ones to be held up as we journey this path. It was only 20 minutes or so, but it felt like forever. The peace washed over me and I was no longer anxious. I can always find peace in a that feeling!

Even with a more peaceful attitude, that evening was hard, the uncertainty I faced and the possibility of cancer in three areas was jarring.

Last week I had looked over the Cancer Support Center website and the Lord reminded me of a Newly Diagnosed Support Meeting this evening. As I sat in the parking lot of the center deciding whether to go in or not, Jaclyn called. My daughter convinced me to go in and I’m so glad I did. What a blessing! There were two wonderful other cancer survivors sharing their stories. The therapist was kind and a great listener. Kevin stopped by on his way home and felt comfort too with all the resources available.

Then I headed home and tried to sleep, knowing that todays test will have a large impact on my life.

Grace Embraced: The deer that crossed in front of my car on my drive in to work. The littleness I felt this part of my life will be. And the wonderful people at the Cancer Support Center in Mokena.