Today at 10:30am we got the news - the cancer was .8 - 1.2 centimeters, and we found out it was "Stage 1". Then we were told that now, after the operation, there is no cancer in Teri's lymph nodes (they biopsied 5 of them), and no cancer on the edges of the tissue they took out during the operation. The Dr. told us that he believes he got all of it. Praise God!
We then discussed the followup treatment options; there will be appointments to discuss followup radiation to quash anything that might be left over in the area, and oncology appointments to discuss what if anything needs to be done concerning her future risk. Of course all of this will start on our knees - we don't want to get ahead of God, we refuse to go into fear, and whilst we are extremely impressed by the medical treatments we have received and deeply appreciate the wisdom and skill of the doctors who have all been giving us great care, our trust is ultimately in the Great Physician, Who has been making sure we stay taken care of on so many levels, not just physical.
But all through this journey, I have been nothing short of blown-away by Teri, by her faith, and her countenance. I came to the conclusion that the way in which she was dealing with this, was either certifiable denial, or "the peace that passes understanding", and having walked with her through every step of this, there has never been a doubt - I am witnessing the super-natural workings of the Spirit of God pulsing through the heart and mind of a daughter of the Most High who is surrendered to Him and His purposes.
Denial is the refusal to acknowledge the existence or viability of a fact or a reality. But Teri has faced this "head on". She has been fully acceptant and even conversant in the facts of the situation. However, she has never been acceptant of any of the possible negative outcomes, as they would only be projections into a future that has yet to been known or revealed. Rather, she followed Jesus' command to not be anxious or fearful, but rather to trust Him moment by moment, step by step, revelation by revelation, and in that process, abide in the peace that kicks in when our human understanding becomes overwhelmed or insufficient.
And the results have brought joy, stability, and yes, the fragrance of Christ.
I took Teri out to lunch today to celebrate the good news, and looking at me with those arresting brown eyes, her voice cracked with an emotion she had not expressed throughout any of this ordeal, and she said, "I had prayed to God that you would never have had to go through this again…" I'm not sure that 1,000 blog posts could contain the immense range of feelings, memories, and responses that filled my heart and mind in that moment - in fact I'm sure they couldn't now… what kind of person is a person who is more worried about what another is experiencing or feeling, when they are personally facing what used to be a death sentence (or at least a pronouncement of myriads of processes and procedures that would all bring untold pain and suffering)? I believe it is a person who is "full" of another person, who said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" whilst hanging on a Roman cross.
Talking about this later with her, she reiterated that she had entreated God at the beginning of our marriage 33 years ago, that He please not allow her to die like that, and to inflict pain on me like what I experienced as a 14 year old boy watching my mother passing away. I never knew until now that she had prayed that... But I was totally unprepared for God gently asking me through this ordeal, "Bill, will you praise Me this time…?"
More on that in my next post...