Surgery AGAIN and Feeling Preachy

I knew it was inevitable when I had the biopsy last Thursday, but I liked not having to deal with the idea of surgery this weekend. Dr. Brader called this morning to say the biopsy showed melanoma in situ (has not penetrated below the top layer of skin) and I would need surgery to remove it.  I am trying to be thankful that it was caught early and will not require as invasive of a surgery as the first one (the first surgery and its recovery make my knees buckle to remember it).  This one will be an outpatient surgery at 3:00 at St. Mary’s Hospital tomorrow.  This time melanoma showed up on the opposite side of where the skin is currently being radiated.  

Several times this summer, I felt like shouting to others “melanoma is real.  That tan is not worth it.  Pale is beautiful!”   I wish I could take back those years of baking in the sun and going to the tanner.  My dermatologist said sunscreen first came on the market in 1987, which is why I never remember my parents encouraging it.  I pray the situation will be different for my own children by wearing sunscreen and hats and getting regular skin checks. Drake was going to be weed whipping at work the following day and he commented, “at least I will get a tan”.  Picture my jaw dropping, my eyes bulging, and my blood boiling.  I think he regrets saying it now after my huge lecture (I definitely went over Richard’s and my agreed upon 20 second limit when “informing” the boys on important issues). 

I am going to leave you with a portion of the Jesus Calling devotion from June 27th  “Rest with me a while.  You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days.  The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty.  Look neither behind you nor before you.  Instead, focus your attention on Me, your constant Companion. Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey.” 

Please pray that I would be  “equipped with whatever I need”.  Just Pamela


Flat Tire Blessings

Changing Plans

It may be hard to believe that these adults influence and engage the minds of our younger generation nine months out of the year, but they do – AND THEY DO IT WELL. They are also some of the most wonderful, and slightly crazy, people you may have the pleasure of meeting. I cannot thank them enough for the incredible support they have shown me during this ever-changing journey.

In fact, I received this picture on my phone at the exact moment when I needed it the most. I had just parked my car after my tire popped on the expressway on my way to treatment. I was upset as I didn’t want to miss my treatment after driving the fifty miles to get there nor did I want to make it up another day. This picture made me smile when I badly needed one! Okay, I also admit I may have cried a little too when I saw it. Kind gestures do that to me.

This whole tire-popping event turned into a memorable experience. I made it safely to a gas station, and a woman in the next car informed me I had a flat tire (like I couldn’t feel it??) that was smoking! I believe God sent me to that particular gas station. As the clerk was helping me, she revealed that she had recently been diagnosed with cancer and she would be going to Lacks and even seeing my doctor. I hope I provided some comfort to her that day. I then had an adventurous ride with a kind stranger (Richard has already lectured me so save your breath) and made it to my appointment with five minutes to spare! That popped tire also stranded me in Grand Rapids where I was able to stay with friends, eat at P.F. Changs, meet a friend’s fiance, and borrow a fun new dress (I may be sporting maxi style dresses now {ankle-length dresses for the non-fashionistas out there}).

Some people call these moments God hugs, God winks or God kisses. All I know is that these types of “moments” keep happening to me and they are powerful. It is a great reminder to not stress or get upset over the small events in our life as there may be something bigger in the works.

Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

The Countdown

The countdown is on – five treatments down and twenty-five more to go!  The past few days I have been trying to engage another woman who is in the waiting room with me in conversation.  Today she finally broke down and spoke with me.  When she told me she only had five more treatments to go, I experienced some jealousy.  However, it was short-lived.  I asked how she planned to celebrate her last day of radiation, and she said “by slathering aloe vera all over my second degree burns”.  Yikes!  I think I will be grateful for how I feel today and where I am in the treatment process.

I also met a friendly farmer in the waiting room.  He drives farther than I do for his treatments and he has FORTY-FIVE of them!  I sheepishly told him I had a mere thirty.  His appointment is being switched to early morning around the same time as mine so I think we will be radiation buddies!  

Being from a small town, I am making the most of the “big” city.  There are so many stores just waiting to be explored.  I asked Richard to keep working those long hours and bringing home the bacon because “retail therapy” seems to be helping me cope. :0) I could do a lot more damage to our wallet if I just knew how to parallel park.  All those stores continue to be off-limits until I get my parallel parking training in a couple weeks.  I found someone willing (and patient enough) to teach me, although she says we are using cones and not real cars so she may not be as confident in me as I hoped.