The Path to and From the Pathology

Yesterday (Tuesday, April 18), we went to the doctor to have the drain tubes in Lucia’s chest removed. The doctor said, “This is going to burn and sting a little bit,” and before Lucia could prepare herself for the “burn and sting,” he pulled them out briskly.

That was probably the best way to do it. He did not want–I assume–to give her time to think about it. Just do it. Lucia flinched and said something like, “Oh my,” and that was that. Tubes removed.

With the tubes and bandage out of the way, it was our first look at her chest without the patch. It was a sober reminder of what sin does to a person. It also deepened our love. Strange how trials can do that to two people. War wounds–a distant echo of the gospel and how wounds remind us of what’s really important.

The doctor was careful and patient with his bedside manner–other than “yanking” the tubes out of her chest. He listens well and stays in tune with our preferences. There is much to learn from “his way.”

The short story is the pathology report showed all cancer is gone. The doctor is “somewhat suggesting” radiation though he’s not adamant about it. We understand; he wants cancer “killed dead,” as we say in the south. (That’s doubly doggone sure it’s dead.) We want it “killed dead” too.

It’s not the time for us to think about a recovery plan. With all cancer–hopefully–gone, we can take our time to recover at our pace, which means it’s time to sleep. Lucia has been more tired than usual since the surgery. She can go about two hours. There were a few times where she was up longer, but it was hard on her. She’s an excellent patient; when I suggest she go to bed, she will. Most of the time she goes on her own. Tired is tired, and she knows when she’s tired. Her determination about healing, pre- and post-surgery, is the same. So she sleeps.

We are not talking at this point about radiation, chemotherapy, or a pill. Currently, Lucia’s glad the drain tubes are gone, and she can sleep on her side. We’re taking “baby steps” here.

One of the tips the nurse gave us is that the main thing was cancer removal, not a recovery plan. The nurse said Lucia could wait six months or six years before she did reconstruction; we’re on a different timetable now. We won’t wait six years, of course, but we’re not in a hurry either. There is no need to create an artificial timeline “out there somewhere” that speeds things up faster than our minds can clearly think about next steps. We’ll take our time.

The next step is to go back to the surgeon next week to have the sutures removed. We’re planning to head to the beach after the children finish school. The ocean is about five hours from us. Lucia loves the beach more than any place in the world. She has always been fascinated with God’s creation; she sees His “handiwork” by the things He has made, and the beach is a 4D spiritual experience for her.

Personally, I disdain the ocean. It’s hot, sticky, sandy, and the wind blows all the time. (I don’t care for the 4D experience.) The only pleasure I find at the ocean is watching my wife enjoying the ocean. And there are few things sweeter than enjoying my wife enjoying things. That makes me love the idea of the ocean. So I can’t wait to get her there so she can layout in a beach chair, eyes closed, and the sound of the ocean rushing to her ears. I can see her smiling now.

You can pray we will need minimal recovery. Preferentially, we hope it’s only a pill. Lucia does not want radiation or chemo. We’ll do what we have to do, but those are our preferences. Either way, we’ll rejoice in the Lord because He is good

Thank you to many friends who have brought food for our family and unique things for Lucia. Your love has brightened my wife.

Ansa, our 11-year old, is glad Lucia is better but was a little sad thinking she’d have to give up the washing and drying of the clothes. Good news: Lucia told me that she would gladly let her have that job until Jesus returns.

You’re welcome to contact Lucia. Her phone is still on call-forwarding to my phone, but if she’s awake and able, she can take a few calls or texts. Thank you for understanding.

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About RickThomasNet

Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking. In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). He also received certification from the International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC). His organization is a training center for IABC.