The Surgical Encounter

By LaTosha Jones

Photo by Dreamstime
 
It's quite interesting how one moment can shake an individual's world. One minute everything is fine, and then the next minute your mind is abruptly consumed with lots of jumbled thoughts and fear. This was my story in the fall of 2014. 

Over the course of several weeks I noticed a small swollen gland in my neck. I didn't think too much of it because it wasn't causing me trouble, other than a little tenderness. I passively thought that maybe I was about to come down with a sore throat, but after a few weeks the gland remained swollen so I decided to make an appointment with my doctor.

During my appointment, the doctor scheduled for me to have an ultrasound on my neck. In addition to the small gland, another swollen gland deeper in my neck tissues was discovered. The gland I had been feeling was only one centimeter, but the newly found gland was three centimeters in size. The news of the significant difference made me feel very uneasy, and before I knew it I was referred to a surgical oncologist. Although a little nervous, at most I thought the doctor would order a needle biopsy. At least with that I knew what to expect from a previous experience, but when he suggested surgery to remove the gland for a full biopsy my heart sank. 

I really struggled with the unknown for the next couple of weeks. For one I never had surgery outside of getting my wisdom teeth extracted, and two depending on my test results my life could change forever. I couldn’t imagine what I would do if diagnosed with cancer. I also wondered why my surgical oncology doctor said that he didn’t want to delay treatment, as if he was already drawing the conclusion that my test results were sure to return positive for cancer. A thousand thoughts ran through my mind, and to say the least I was feeling fearful and frustrated. I tried to counteract the negative thoughts through recalling scriptures, such as "God has not given me a spirit of fear" (2 Timothy 1:7) and "He will never leave me nor forsake me" (Deuteronomy 31:6). Deep down I knew that no matter what my results would be I had to remember that God is still God; however, keeping a focused mindset remained a challenge. My optimistic thoughts were, “Hey maybe they will say I don’t need surgery after all” but if I did need it my prayer was for God to bless my health, grant me His peace, see me safely through the procedure, and for Him to guide the minds and hands of every health-care provider who cared for me. I needed to encounter Christ through them. 

After being admitted to the hospital the morning of surgery, I went to pre-op where I was prepped for the procedure. My assigned nurse went through a series of questions for charting purposes and then he started my IV. Amongst all of the tasks that were protocol and general conversation my nurse unexpectedly mentioned how much he loved God and was a man of prayer, then I heard him speak healing over me in Jesus’ name. I believe it wasn’t by chance that God allowed me to have a praying nurse! I was in complete awe. I also had to be intubated during my procedure. This means I had a tube placed down my throat that was connected to a machine (ventilator). The ventilator helped control my breathing since the anesthesia I was given would not only make me unconscious, but also impact my breathing. I was not fond of this news, but the medical team thought it would be best since the surgery would require them to operate near my wind pipe and more than likely deeper than the surface level neck tissues.

I marvel at God’s faithfulness and have no doubt that He and His angels were with me in the operating room and in the mist of everything else that happened that day. I could see His presence in everything from the time I entered the hospital to the time I left and beyond. Although I experienced certain discomforts for the next couple of weeks, my recovery went well. And the best news of all, my test results came back negative. The doctor could not explain why my gland swelled. They said that when this happens it's rare that it’s not connected to some form of cancer or sickness. I however knew an explanation and His name is Jesus! I am beyond grateful and cannot thank God enough for seeing me through this difficult situation. Praise God, for His faithfulness is great!