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How We Got Here (Part 3)

2012 February 10


I wasn’t expecting much from the urologist; my doctor had told me the CT scan showed a spot, a polyp, in my bladder. I didn’t even ask Jennifer to go in with me. I think it was when the physician assistant kept referring to it as “a mass” and using the word “tumor” that I became suspicious that maybe this wasn’t going to be the male version of a D&C.

It was Thursday evening, middle of December, when I learned I had bladder cancer. There was also another spot that showed up, a urethral remnant, that he was concerned about because if that was cancer it was in a place where it would travel, and the survival rate is a little low.

The only question left was whether I wanted my surgery before Christmas or some time in January!

Now it was getting ridiculous. I had to a new job to begin on the 27th of December and our home visit with the social worker the next day!

I needed to get this done. I scheduled outpatient surgery for the following Friday, right before Christmas. In the interesting way surgeons have of speaking, this was going to be “non-invasive” and I would be going home that day. Recovery would be a day or two and I would have a stint for a month. The rest would be just waiting for the biopsies.

The next morning I went for my pre-op physical. I got home in time to relax a bit before our home visit.

The visit went great! We really liked our case worker. Most of the three hours we were being interviewed based on what we’d written in our autobiographies and the answers on our questionnaires. The last ten minutes or so was spent looking around the house and getting the three or four things we needed to do before everything was final.

It was a long week, and I admit I was scared. But I had some things that gave me great comfort.

I had a wall of prayer around me. My church group prayed over me on Saturday and continued to pray throughout this process. All the guys at Kids Club and everyone in Children’s Ministry were on board, too.

Jennifer kept pointing out that we were called to the ministry of foster care. Pastor John Stanko, who I’ve mentioned here before, is always pointing out that God isn’t going to lead you to a purpose just to stick you!

During the week as I prayed and called out to God, “I’m afraid” I was reminded of something very personal between Him and me.

I’ve had two incidences where I’ve gotten a word from God previously. (Yes, we get those).

The first time was when I was a new believer. I spent three weeks praying that somehow Jennifer and I would be able to move to Kansas City where my family lives. At the end of the three weeks I was in my usual spot by the window in our bedroom and I heard plainly, “No.” I said or thought, “What?” I couldn’t possibly have heard that inside my head but so outside of it…. Again, “No.”

Firm and unmistakable.

Then something wonderful happened. I felt like I was being hugged. My entire body, my whole being, held. I’ve never been able to talk or write about this without feeling the good kind of chills.

It was that pleasant experience that kept coming back to me. With all the devil’s lies and his trying to take advantage of bad circumstances to tell us to give up, the week before my operation I was reminded that God wants to protect me because He loves me and He has a purpose for me. During that week one phrase kept with me: “I was the one who hugged you.”

I came through the surgery okay, but word to the wise: If you are ever offered a pain pill for the ride home do not, under any circumstances, say no.

I started my new job on time. Better still, the biopsies came back. The tumor in my bladder was low grade cancer, the surgeon got all of it, and tests on the bladder wall came back negative. The other scary piece? Negative.

A hat trick!

Final score:

The Nelsons and Jesus – 3

Perennial loser Satan and his pathetic devils – 0

Ladies and gentleman, Elvis has just left the building.

Later on today two kids are coming over to stay with us. So now you know how we got here and you know why.





Photo: “Hockey 5” by Kriss Szkurlatowski

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