I Was Detained

I failed my mammogram.

The receptionist was sympathetic when I checked in for the second one. I told her I wasn’t worried. All-day long I said, “There’s nothing there.”

They took pictures of 2 places and then looked at them with an ultrasound. One was nothing to worry about but the second looked suspicious.

“It looks like a milk duct that did not form correctly. The tubules are growing in every direction,” the doctor informed me.

I told David I had a “milk duct dud.” From then on, we referred to it as a “milk dud.” We didn’t tell anyone about it.

My verses that day, November 5th, was Numbers 9:3, “…following all the rules and procedures.” The Message

Numbers 11:23, “God answered Moses, ‘So, do you think I can’t take care of you? You’ll see soon enough…'” The Message

* * * * * * *

The next step was an MRI in Cedar Rapids. David took the day off and we ate lunch at Culvers. I had the best salad!

When I arrived, I told the technician I was there to get a picture of my “milk dud.” Then I explained it to her. She laughed.

To take the MRI, you lay on your stomach with your face in a padded doughnut, like when you get a massage. You are on your knees leaning on your stomach at an angle. They stabilize the breasts and give you a “panic ball” in case you feel nauseous, claustrophobic, or panic.

They asked if I would like music. I said, “‘Contemporary Christian Music’ or ‘Skillet,’ but ‘Skillet’ makes me bop my head!”

She said, “Contemporary Christian would be better.”

The first song was “Do It Again,” by Elevation Worship:

“Walking around these walls

I thought by now they’d fall

But you have never failed me yet.

Waiting for change to come

Knowing the battle’s won

For you have never failed me yet.

 

Your promise still stands

Great is your faithfulness, faithfulness

I’m still in your hands

This is my confidence,

You’ve never failed me yet.

 

I know the night won’t last

Your word will come to pass

My heart will sing your praise again.

Jesus, you’re still enough

Keep me within your love

My heart will sing your praise again”

I started crying with the second chorus…

“Great is your faithfulness, faithfulness…”

Then I remembered I was supposed to lie perfectly still. I let the words of the bridge wash over me.

“I’ve seen you move, you move mountains,

And I believe, I’ll see you do it again.

You made a way when there was no way

And I believe, I’ll see you do it again. …”

The next song was “Unstoppable God” by Elevation Worship. As we neared the clinic, I started feeling apprehensive. David turned on the radio and it was playing.

“Let your glory go on and on

Impossible things in your name shall be done…”

I smiled and relaxed. I started to drift off…then the MRI machine kicked into high gear! The beeps and pings turned into bangs and clangs. It sounded like a war in a movie.

I started rehearsing, “Great is your faithfulness.” And I remembered what I prayed this morning. “God, I choose to trust you.” When I’m scared and don’t feel like trusting, I will choose to trust.

The clanging ceased and I heard the chorus of the next song, “Need You Now (How Many Times?) by Plumb

Chorus: “How many times have you heard me cry out

‘God, please take this?’

How many times have you given me strength to

Just keep breathing?

Oh, I need you, God, I need you now.”

 

Verse 2: “Standing on a road I didn’t plan

Wondering how I got where I am

I’m trying to hear that still, small voice

I’m trying to hear above the noise!”

 

Bridge: “Though I walk,

though I walk through the shadows

And I, I am so afraid

Please stay, please stay right beside me

with every single step I take…”

The machine went back into “war mode.” (At least I didn’t jump this time.) The magnet sounded like a machine gun!

I reminded myself, “Just keep breathing” and took several big breaths. At that point, I regretted eating that large salad!

The noise stopped and the fourth song started – “My Hope Is In You” by Aaron Shust.

“I meet with you and my soul sings out

as your word throws doubt far away

I sing to you and my heart cries holy

Hallelujah, Father, you’re near!”

 

“My hope is in you, Lord

All the day long, I won’t be shaken…”

The technician unplugged the IV that delivered the dye. A nurse took away the “panic ball.” They whisked away the towels I was laying on, removed the IV, and wrapped the site. The rest of the verse scrolled through my head.

“…by drought or storm

A peace that passes understanding is my song

and I sing my hope is in you, Lord…”

 

The bridge of that song is “I will wait on you. You are my refuge.” And that is what I have to do – wait. The next step is a biopsy.

* * * * * * *

David took me to Cedar Rapids on Sunday and we spent the night because I had an early appointment. Shopping and eating out kept my mind off of the biopsy. He took me to see the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

* * * * * * *

I slept well but after breakfast, I started getting nervous. At that moment my daughter-in-law Rachel sent a text telling me they were praying for me.

* * * * * * *

We took a wrong turn and David stopped for gas. I went inside for a coffee. When I took a cappuccino to the front a man at the next register offered to pay for it.

He said, “You might think I’m crazy but God told me to pay for your drink.”

“Of course,” I replied. I explained our church was raising money to give away before Christmas.

He asked which one. I gave him a card and explained about truelife.org on the back.

“It’s a website with verses to help during hard times, like death or going to get a biopsy like me.”

He replied, “You know you’re being followed – by goodness and mercy.”

I laughed. I was no longer nervous or afraid.

* * * * * * *

In the examining room, the nurse started explaining what would happen. I suddenly needed the restroom!

The bathroom was full of God’s presence. Someone else had been praying in there! I couldn’t help but raise my hands whispering, “I raise a hallelujah in the presence of my enemy.”

Back in the room, the nurse noted my birthdate. We are the same age and started talking like old friends. She kept me talking through the procedure. I never took my eyes off of her face. I couldn’t feel anything and I refused to look.

They bandaged me up and walked me back to David. The biopsy showed “atypical cells” but was inconclusive. They made an appointment for a surgical biopsy.

* * * * * * *

The surgeon looked at the site with ultrasound, and said, “I’m not going to biopsy it. I’m going to excise it.”

“When?”

“Tomorrow.”

At the look of panic on my face, he retreated, “I was just joking. My nurse does the scheduling.”

They went to get David from the waiting room and I went to the bathroom. I hid in there for 20 minutes but I figured the doctor owed me because I waited in the room that long for him.

I needed a week off from the piano and wouldn’t be able to lift more than 10 pounds for 3 weeks. We scheduled it for December 30th because there was no church on New Year’s Day.

I was in shock for the rest of the day. We stopped at Mom’s and told her about the surgery. Then I called my kids and siblings.

* * * * * * *

Christmas kept my mind off of the surgery. I wrote down 2 verses for that day:

Mark 2:3, “They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men.” The Message

My job today is to let others carry me.

Mark 2:28, “The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath. He is in charge!” The Message

Jesus is in charge of this day.

* * * * * * *

My daughter Laura went with us to the hospital. My youngest son Derek took a half-day off and met us there.

When we arrived, they called my sister Cheryl down who works there. She was such a comfort!

I was pleased when Dana, the “Care Pastor,” came a few minutes later. He brought me a get-well package with books and a mug. He shared a couple of key verses to meditate on and prayed for me.

My granddaughter Olivia gave me a rock with “Courage” stamped on it for Christmas. I placed it on the bed next to the hospital gown and took a picture of them.

I sent it to my daughter-in-law Bethany and told her, “Tell Olivia I have everything I need.”

* * * * * * *

The incision was twice as long as predicted but he took extra tissue to test.

No tumors! No cancer!

The margins are clear!

On January 1st I started reading my new Bible, the Common English Bible.

Luke 7:48, “It’s like a person building a house by digging deep and laying the foundation on bedrock. When the flood came, the rising water smashed against that house, but the water couldn’t shake the house because it was well built.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Flood: an image for hard times (see Isaiah 43:2, Psalms 69:2). Living by Jesus’ instructions prepares a person to survive life’s trials.” Common English Bible Notes

I was detained but God was with me every step of the way.

P. S. I read my Bible every day but most of the verses were personal. Our church is fasting and I am seeing even more things to work on. I hope you understand why I may not post every day.

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