I didn’t realize how easy it is to ignore things my body was literally blaring at me. How is it possible to overlook an extra 27-pound cyst that was growing like crazy? I don’t know, but I sure did it.
It started before I even knew. I think, in actuality, this thing was growing from about the time I moved to Texas in 2014. Yeah. Almost 4 years.
When I look at how God worked in this, it is really amazing. First of all, He provided a lucrative consulting job for me in downtown Dallas. So, I moved from Prosper, Texas into downtown Dallas. Of course, before I had the consulting job I would never have been able to afford the rent at Upper East.
Sammy and I were happy there. It was a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing apartment. I felt safe. All good things.
Mainly though, looking back – I was close to Baylor Cancer Center. The doctors there performed a miraculous surgery to get Pluto out of my abdomen.
On August 16, I met my friend ME who had flown in from Seattle the night before. I braced myself, because I was sure she was going to be horrified and disgusted just looking at me. I was wrong. What she said was, “You have to promise me you will go to the doctor. This isn’t right, Rosey. This isn’t good.” I’ll never forget the look in her eyes. In one of my rare moments of obedience, I promised her I would, and I did. It took me all day Thursday, but the doctor’s office worked me for a sonogram and appointment the next Monday. That’s how I met Dr. Farris.
During the whole summer, things were peculiar at First McKinney. Something was going on with Myron, but I didn’t connect the dots until the night he asked me to please come to a Wednesday night rehearsal. During our call he confided he would be leaving…rather, he had been asked / told to step down. I still haven’t gotten my head around that one.
So, the Sunday before my surgery, I went for the last time to First McKinney. It was emotional, and I pretty much hated every minute, but I did it for Myron and Stacy.
Three days later I was in surgery. It was Wednesday August 30th.
When I woke up after, I remember asking what time it was. I could tell it had gone longer than they expected, which didn’t bode well. What I didn’t know was they had run pathology on it during the surgery and everything came back clean.
A couple of things happened prior to surgery. Another dear friend drove over to be with me. That was a blessing. It was a comfort and encouragement. ME really wanted to be there, but the grandbaby was due any minute. In fact, she left very early the next morning. And there was the hurricane…
Also, in New Mexico several of my friends gathered at CATB and prayed for me. Isn’t that cool?
When I was reading my devotion at home early the morning of surgery, I had a very frank conversation with God. “Look, I know what anesthesia is, you are ‘this far’ from being dead. It’s really possible that I’m done. If so, I’m all Yours. If not, I’m all Yours.”
And, keep in mind, this whole process of sonogram, CT scan and surgery happened in about 10 days. There wasn’t much lead time for any of this. The afternoon before surgery, I took Sammy to the vet to board. That was emotional. I honestly wondered if I would ever see her again. I mean, in these cases you just don’t really know what’s going to happen. The drive home was pretty damp.
The hospital is very nice. In fact, I jokingly called it the Baylor Bellagio. There are so many miracles here, I am not really sure where to begin.
First, the cyst – a full 27-pounder – was encased in my right ovary. How is that even possible? I had no pain, no bleeding, no blockage – nothing except an enormous belly prior to surgery. My dear friend, Jeanette, after finding out the size said, “Girl – you didn’t give birth to a baby, you delivered a toddler!”
Doctors could not fathom how I was functioning at work the day before surgery. I’m not sure I know, either.
The cyst had not really attached to any other organs – which is also miraculous. How it managed to have its blood supply I will never know. I saw a photo of it from my doctor. It looks like the death star from Star Wars. Another friend, Maryam, said, “That thing was so big (sitting in the pan) it had its own muffin top.”
The incision is long. They basically had to cut me from the top of my rib cage to the end. I have had sisters and friends who have had c-sections. Mine was the mack daddy. And here is another crazy thing. I had surgery Wednesday afternoon and was home by lunchtime on Saturday.
I didn’t take pain pills. Not even Tylenol. They gave me a prescription for morphine pills, but I threw it away. I only used pain meds when I was in the hospital.
Jeanette came and stayed with me that first week. What a dear, sweet friend! Her prayers and care were such a blessing.
I remember my first at-home shower on Sunday morning. It felt delicious. Of course I couldn’t get the incision area wet – but it sure felt good on my back.
Labor Day was Monday, and I was back working from home on Tuesday. I didn’t put in a full day for the first couple of days – but I was working over half. My coworkers couldn’t believe it!
I discovered after surgery there are times your body doesn’t want to get back into gear, if you take my meaning. Using the restroom became a high priority. It’s funny how you never think of these things when they are automatic. I have a much better appreciation now of our outbound systems God has put in place for us. They are very important!
Did I tell you about figs? Figs, I discovered, are a wonderful, natural way to help nature help itself along. I woke up one more and Jeanette had left a post-it note next to the figs. All it said was, “dangerous”. I guess she discovered the same thing!
So – back to the hurricane.
I was watching the news and a Category 5 hurricane was targeting Punta Gorda, Florida. That’s where my Mom lived with her husband, Ian. The forecasters were saying the storm surge was going to be catastrophic. All flights out of Ft. Meyers and Tampa were sold out. I desperately wanted to get them to Texas.
Kathi, Ian’s daughter was also in the mix with her dog Thomas. So, that would not have worked at all. I had gotten Sammy home the Saturday after my surgery. My staples came out on that Friday. Dr. Farris literally shook her head saying, “I can’t believe how fast you are healing.” And she gave me permission to get the dingo and drive. Believe me, I was super happy! I felt like I was starting to rejoin the human race!
I continued to work from home with one eye on the scary weather reports. Finally, at the last minute, they managed to get flights to Washington DC. I was so relieved!
The trip, however, took a toll on Mom. She became weak and ill. I was hoping it was temporary. In a sense it was.
Two weeks after my surgery I returned to work at the office. Originally, they told me I would miss 4-6 weeks. There were times my back hurt from sitting, but that was really the only side effect. I was able to tell people I am a walking miracle. It’s true!
In the meantime, my heart was sad about Myron. With him gone from First McKinney, my anchor was gone. He was my pastor, so my “cover” was blown. What next?
I agreed to play at Waddill St. Baptist for worship. Nick Sanders asked me, and it was an outlet to serve. But I still felt restless and at loose ends.
My friend Maryam had decided to leave consulting in August. She said she disliked fluorescent lights, starting at a computer monitor and taking ADD meds. So, she signed up for massage school and kissed the corporate world goodbye. She was like a bird let out of a cage. It was such fun to watch.
Little did I know the effect her decisions would have on me.
After four weeks I got an all clear from the oncologist. There were some rogue cells, but not cancer and the likelihood of any recurrence is minuscule. Dr. Divine (isn’t that great?) asked me if I was worried. I told her no. I was more apt to be a grease spot on US 75 than to have another beach-ball sized cyst. She agreed. Step 1 of my physician clearing was complete.
Dr. Divine looked at me and said, “You have a beautiful spirit. God has a lot more to do with you…”
Six weeks after surgery Dr. Farris cleared me. I could audition for Cirque du Soleil if I wanted to! That was Thursday, October 5th, 2017. My remarkable progress was duly noted by everyone I met in the doctor’s office. Again, I was able to say with a grin, “I am a walking miracle.” Nobody ever disputed it.
I called Mom when I got in the car to tell her I was good to go. I was very concerned. She sounded hoarse and weak. She said, “That’s the best news I’ve had all day…”
The next day I called her to check on her. I really thought I should hop on a plane and go to Florida. She insisted I not come. In true Mom fashion she said “Honey, I wouldn’t be any fun right now.”
Fun? I just wanted to hug her and told her so She told me I had just hugged her.
I called her the next day almost begging. I actually thought about not telling her and just getting on a plane. But I would need to board Sammy and there were some logistics that weren’t working out. I was frustrated, to say the least.
I decided not to call her on Sunday, because she would get kind of winded when we talked. She said her doctor had adjusted her meds and she hoped that would help.
Little did I know…
I never talked with Mom again. She went into the hospital very early on October 9th. About 4 hours later, she was gone.
My brother, Doug, pointed out the only time in Mom’s life she had been in the hospital prior to that was to have babies. Heck, I had been in the hospital more than she had – just a few weeks earlier.
I look back on it, and I think she just wanted to make sure I was ok. During one of our last conversations she said to me, “Rosey, I’m winding down.”
I really didn’t want to hear that. I still don’t.
So, there is my Trifecta. My health back. Mom gone. Myron out.
What is next?
Suddenly all of the data analysis and Excel reporting started to actually cause physical discomfort. And that’s pretty funny when you consider a foot-long incision didn’t make me blink. Every day my shoulders, neck and back would feel like they were on fire. I hurt. My brain felt like it was being slowly, but surely lobotomized. I kept thinking about how Maryam decided to take her journey into her own hands. There is more than corporate America. There is more to life than having a big 401k.
Then, there was Friday evening with Maryam when we did an NLP session. It was crazy in the best possible way. I felt like I reached my own personal launch velocity. Blast off!!
Mom’s memorial was the end of October. It was a beautiful day in Florida. Hardly any vestiges of the hurricane remained. The storm surge hadn’t materialized after all. The only hurricane damage I had was Mom was gone.
I met some lovely people during those couple of days. I am glad Mom was so happy. As I write this it’s almost more difficult now, because the missing is there, and I can’t call her. It feels like it’s been a very long time. Still, I know she is completely well and happy. She found her launch velocity, too!
After I returned to Texas, I kept hearing the litany that had been chanted since about the middle of June. “We’re rolling off the project.” There was no stability at work. It felt like the rug was going to be pulled out at any minute. It was unsettling, but cathartic at the same time.
Now I stopped an evaluated.
What am I doing? Why am I doing it?
So, I made the call. I picked up the phone and told iWorkZone I really wanted to work with them. What I didn’t know was what a state of flux they were in. It didn’t really matter. I was sure this was what I was supposed to do. When I make up my mind, I am tenacious, that much is certain.
ME came to visit for Thanksgiving. She, Maryam and I had a blast. It was interesting seeing how the years and generations didn’t matter at all. It was a grand time.
After Thanksgiving I touched base with Brad again. He was a bit evasive, but I chalked it up to the end of the year and holidays. We finally met on the 26th of December in Georgetown. It was a rainy, foggy, generally miserable day. I didn’t care. I was all in.
What I didn’t know was his original intent was to “let me down gently.” Can you imagine such a thing? HA! Instead, he came away convinced I was supposed to work with him.
We came to an agreement and I would start on the 15th of January.
My lease wasn’t up until the end of July, which was a problem. They complex wanted to ding me for $3,400 for early termination. Yikes! Then they suggested if I stayed in a Lincoln property, there would not be any penalty. Praise God!
The long and short of it is I was able to get back my deposit. February rent was free. March rent would be $500 off. And EVERY month I’m saving $700. My apartment isn’t as luxurious as the one in Dallas, but it’s just fine. And it got me here.
Now, I found the church I’m supposed to go to. One Chapel. On the 28th of February I am meeting the pastor who is a musician and author. Coincidence? I think not.
My next 3 books will be released this year. I’m back writing on the 5th one. Work is good. My neck and shoulders don’t hurt any more. I get to work from home.
I am closer to ME.
Life is good.
It has been exactly 180 days since my surgery as I write this. I give God the glory and thanks for an amazing “fast track” of prayers that started 5 years ago or so. This 6 months life has been a Ferrari – but it was all built on a series of lawn chairs, tears and eventually coming to terms with many things. There were days in New Mexico I felt like I would literally die there – but as you can see, I didn’t. God had other plans. Hindsight is kind of like that, you know?
I am grateful. Stunned. Blessed. Healthy. Worshipful. Strong. Optimistic. Joyful.
Inhale Grace – Exhale Gratitude.