Thursday, June 10, 2010
Six or seven weeks ago, I got the phone call that no one ever wants to get.
It was my dad. In a shaky voice, very different from his usually calm tone, he told me of the tests doctors wanted him to have.
Tests with scary names like bone marrow biopsy, MRI, CT scan, PET scan, blood work.
They feared the worst - blood cancer.
Turns out that a protein marker for this type of cancer had shown up in a blood test he'd had done by an orthopedic surgeon who he went to see for a broken rib. Hearing the story of his broken rib, she doubted that the bone should have broken the way it had and ordered further tests, ultimately referring him to an oncologist who specialized in this type of cancer.
We spent the next several weeks mindful of him, praying for him, praying for the doctors, and hoping that when the diagnosis came down (as the doctors were telling us it would) that we would have caught it early enough to kick that cancer's ass right back where it belonged.
After a grueling Memorial Day weekend spent worried and afraid, we got the call.
There was no cancer. That protein was no longer present in his body. They could find no evidence of the blood cancer they were expecting to find. Anywhere.
WHAT. THE. EFF?
I was instantly relieved, but questioned disbelievingly. Were they sure? How could the protein be there one month and gone the next? Would it come back? Why was it there in the first place?
There were a few things that did show up on the scans, however, and a referral to a neurosurgeon confirmed it.
My dad has a brain tumor the size of a lemon.
They are confident it is benign, and he is scheduled to have it removed on Tuesday. The doctors expect him to make a full recovery and be back on his feet within a few weeks.
Throughout this whole process of worry, fear, speculating, and frustration, I am left with only one conclusion. The protein showed up, not as a marker of blood cancer, but so that we could find the tumor and treat it quickly.
It was quite simply a tender mercy of our Heavenly Father.
Surprisingly, my dad is experiencing no symptoms - even with a tumor of this size - and it likely would have been some time before they discovered it. By which time, who knows what would have happened or how he would have been affected.
Today, I am grateful and humbled by the reminder that someone up there is watching over me and my little family, insignificant though we may feel at times. And though life often takes us in directions we may not understand or comprehend, someone has a plan for us. A purpose. A design.
That plan definitely includes me.
And it definitely includes you.