Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Year - Part 2

The surgeon looked up at my mom, me, my brother, and Wanda. We'd been waiting for 4 hours to hear what he had to tell us, and there was nothing light hearted in his demeanor.

"Don is doing fine, now." I remember wondering why he said "now", like he wasn't fine before. Looking back, I now know that he was giving us the good news first. Basically, he's alive.

"We couldn't get the tumor, it was blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...."

me: "You didn't get any of it?"

"No, because of the location, and how it was wrapped around the main artery, blah, blah, blah...He could have bled out if blah, blah, blah...I'm sorry."

It had not occurred to me that this was a possibility. That they would cut my dad open from one side all the way across his body to the other, work on him for 4 hours, that I would pray fervently and BELIEVE God for total healing, only to have the surgeon tell us that they did not get any of the tumor. At that point anything would have been better, some of the tumor, even if it was a small amount. We could have told ourselves it was worth this huge surgery.

Normally, I'm not one to immediately claim that God will heal someone. In fact, I think the bible plainly shows that sometimes God chooses not to heal or rescue for some divine purpose. My faith does not rest on God being my Santa Clause, but on His sovereignty. Sometimes, God shows Himself in the miraculous, and sometimes in our grief. I knew this. I knew this from the bible and also from my own experience. But, as I said in Part 1, as I was praying during my dad's surgery, something shifted in me. I can't really put it into words, but felt like I was being led to let myself believe that God quite possibly would do something amazing here. It took a leap of faith for me to allow myself to believe that all things were possible, even the statistically unlikely. Because if I let myself go there, then I was setting myself up for a big fall.

And fall I did.

I felt somewhat numb at first, but as the time came for us to go in and see my dad in ICU, the numbness wore off. My heart had taken up residence in my throat. The surgeon had told us that patients generally ask about the surgery when they are ready for the answer, and it may well be tomorrow before he even asks.

As we came into his room in the ICU, we could see that he was in a lot of pain. They were having a tough time getting it under control. But within minutes, he asked.

My mom gently explained that they were not able to get any of the tumor. There it was. The cold hard truth. It sounded so real and cruel, given the state he was in.

"So I'm going to die."

my mom: "Yes, and we are all going to die too."

The focus then shifted to trying to get his pain under some sort of control. The surgeon had explained to us that because they'd tried for so long to find a way to get to the tumor, he had a lot of healing to do. They had put in an epidural during surgery that was supposed to really help with the pain. Unfortunately, it did not work and it took them a while to figure that out, and switch to something different.

Pain, it was everywhere that night. Filling my dad's room. Filling up my entire being. It's hard to admit this now, but I felt God had tricked me, risen my hopes up, just to pull them out from under me. We had prayed about every decision leading up to this moment, every one. Why couldn't his pain at least be under control? I was angry.

Why? Why did we even do the surgery? All it did was wreck havoc on my dad's body. He would now have to heal from it before he could try chemotherapy or radiation. Why? It seemed so senseless.

I drove home at around 11 pm in disbelief. Exhausted, crying, asking God why. So much life had been lived in this one day. My last drive from the hospital to my house, during my dad's surgery, was so different, filled with hope and anticipation.

I kept hearing my dad's words in my head, "So, I'm going to die." I felt completely helpless.
I didn't see any good that could possibly come from this day. Here was my answer to my prayers for a miracle as I saw it, "NO". I'd love to sugar coat this and say that I felt the peace that surpasses all understanding, but that night all I could feel was a tidal wave of grief. It drowned out everything else. I do remember begging God for mercy for my dad's pain. I remember saying, ok, I get it, you've said "no", and I will learn to accept that, but please be with my dad tonight and ease his physical pain. I remember yelling in my car, "Do Something, Lord!".

I could have never, not a million years, predicted what God was up to. Instead of this being the end, this story was just getting started.

To be continued...


Dani said...

Ever since reading the first one I have anticipated Part 2. I can't wait for the next entry to this journey you took. God is going to bless you for sharing it.


Carody said...

I just found your blog through The Nester, and I'm eagerly awaiting Part 2 also! :)

Peapod Four said...

Thanks for sharing so honestly what was going through your mind. I'm identifying with it a lot.

Looking forward to the next part.