Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tender mercies

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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.

38 comments:

Jennifer Kay said...

Not even on the same scale as your father's, but my dad went into the hospital last month for what they diagnosed as colitis but in the process they found a blood clot in the portal vein to his liver. Had it not been for the colitis, who knows. We are given little glimmers every now and then and are thankful to get them. Great news for your family!

Lauren in GA said...

Oh, my gracious, Stie. I am wiping away tears as I type. I am always humbled and amazed by the tender mercies that the Lord blesses us with. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. It is miraculous that he hasn't experienced any pain or effects from a tumor the size of a lemon. Prayers are amazing. Heavenly Father is so wonderful.

Tristan said...

Oh wow! How stressful! I'm so sorry to hear about all of this. I'm glad that the Lord is looking out for you and your family. My thoughts and prayers will be with you. Lots of love to you!

Travelin'Oma said...

I am SO glad this was found and can be treated. I hope everything goes smoothly and that his recovery is quick. My question: Will he have a hairdo like McKay?

jen@odbt said...

Keeping you all in my prayers. I hope his surgery goes well and hope for a speedy recovery. btw, has anyone told your dad he looks like Barry Bostwick? What a handsome fella.

Jeanelle said...

Oh my goodness, Christie! Heavenly Father is so good. How fantastic do we have it because we know He is there, listening, ready to act. I'll be praying for your cute dad and like Travelin' Oma said, I too am hoping he'll go for a mohawk - just keep your husband away from him!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Feeling Just Right said...

Awww Christie. This story made Me cry. I am going to remember Tuesday and I am going to pray for your Dad. I promise.

You stay as nice as you are. The goodness will always keep coming back.

Cheers to the Good Good Lord above!

Annemarie said...

So scarey. I am so glad this can be taken care of and is not worse. Love to you!

momy4him said...

blessings to you and your family stie, i can see where you got your gorgeous smile.

queenieweenie said...

thank you.

your testimony has strengthened mine.

Christy said...

I'm so happy to read that the news is much better than expected. I'll be thinking of you and your dad next week.

Annie said...

Wow, what an experience! Sending good thoughts and lots of prayers your way and his.
xo

Ilene said...

I'm so glad that there is someone watching over us. Here's to a successful surgery and speedy recovery!

Marisha said...

Our hearts go out to you. You and your family (especially your dad) will be in our prayers. We love you and let us know if we can do anything for you. Will you email his name? We also want to get it in the temples out here. Love you lots!

brooke said...

What an amazing story. I hope all goes well for your dad and his surgery. I almost said, "he is so lucky" but it's not luck--it's a huge blessing from a loving Heavenly Father.

You have a cute dad.

Fran said...

That's a mercy.

Julianna said...

Obviously, the plan includes him for many more years to come. Prehaps the plan should also include a matching haircut with McKay. Positive thoughts yeilds positive results, and laughter is the best medicine.

danandcindy said...

A tender mercy indeed.

Hollyween said...

Amazing story. My mother-in-law recently had a brain tumor removed the size of your dad's also. It was also benign. Meningioma's, I believe they're called. Hers was slow growing. The doctors believe she had it for as many as 15-20 years!! We were so glad it was discovered before it could do more damage.

And since I'm sharing stories, Just today my niece was told she had a very low platelet count. It could mean a blood disease, leukemia, and all sorts of things. It turns out it's something called ITP and with some steroid therapy, it will heal on its own. What a relief! Heavenly Father is amazing.

I'm so happy that your dad is going to be okay. It's things like this, that make you appreciate all of life's amazing blessings!

Big hugs to you and your family!!

calibosmom said...

Oma can make anyone laugh about anything.
Our Father in Heaven is truly a loving Father. I pray for a speedy recovery for your dad.

Terra said...

WOW, you certainly got my attention fast. I am sorry to hear of the diagnosis but happy to hear all the good things. Hang in there

terahreu said...

My goodness! If it helps, my husband also had a brain tumor. I was 9 month pregnant with an 11 month old baby at home. It was a hard hit. BUT, he went through the surgery and lived through it all. He is how healthy and fine. God throws curve balls every now and then. But prayers and fasting pulls us through. My thoughts are with you and your dad.

Gabi said...

So glad he's ok, Stie! May he be around to play April Fool's tricks on your grandkids.

Amanda D said...

I hope all will go well with the surgery. Good luck to you and your family and thank goodness for those tender mercies.

Jessica said...

Ooh. I like the Spiritual Christie as much I like the Fattening Christie and the Funny Christie and the Beautiful Christie!

I'm glad your dad is coming out of the woods.

Love you!

Lala said...

Thanks for sharing. I am so glad things are goin to be ok. We'll keep him & you in our prayers.
(No wonder you need an escape... JAMMF)

Joy & Casey said...

What a blessing! I love your dad! Loved this post. I know it's a serious/testimony post but I have to tell you that you are the only person that can use "what the EFF" and "tender mercies of our Heavenly Father" all in one post. Made me laugh. Almost peed.
Love you. Let me know if I can do anything for your awesome parents. I'd love to help! I will keep them and you in my prayers.

♥Shally said...

WHEW!!

So glad he is okay...

Michelle said...

I'm so glad for your family. And that is one fantastic picture of your dad.

Tracy said...

Thoughts and prayers for you, your family and Father this week and always. Take care of yourself.
God Bless.
Tracy

Kimberly said...

Our thoughts and prayers have been with you and your family all weekend! We sure do love you guys!

Dalene said...

I'll be thinking of you - and him!

jessica said...

I am so relieved for you and your family. My MIL is still battling her cancer, the tender mercies we have seen over the past four years are so humbling. He is real. He really is aware and for that knowledge I am so so grateful.

Becky said...

Put in very very good words. I worry too much about stuff like this,...I think a gentle wake up call is so good to remind us who is in charge. I am sure the surgery will go great. Thank goodness!

melissa said...

PRAYING. keep me posted. ((hugs))

Jenibelle said...

5 years ago Scotty had a sharp pain in his groin. After every test in the book, they found a tumor on his liver. The pain was not related at all to his liver. I totally agree that things happen in Heavenly Father's way.. One of Byrons' cancers was found because of his arthritis med check and the other was found because of a chronic ear infection. I have learned not to question "Why?", but to give thanks "when"....

Mrs T said...

Wishing your Dad a speedy recovery. Hugs.

Mel said...

God does work in mysterious ways sometimes! I'm glad to hear the tumor was detected early and the prognosis looks so great. I wish your dad an easy and speedy recovery from surgery. Hang in there! Hugs.