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  • Jess Haag

The Big Ask

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2 Kings 20: 1-5   In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death.  The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the Lord says:  Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, "Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes."  And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him:  "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says:  I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.

Last Thursday, I had my first "Mother's Day Tea" with my daughter, Emma, and the rest of her 3k class.  I dropped my youngest 2 off at my sister-in-law's house, and took her 2 kids to school with me--they all go to the same school.

Just as I was drifting off into thinking about what transpired at our Tuesday appointments in Madison, I heard my niece say,"  Sure!  We have enough time for this story so I'll read this one to you."  She started reading to Emma, and a tear rolled down my face.  Which story was it?  Well.... do you see that story above?  It was that same biblical story you see above about Hezekiah.

Why the tear?  I just cannot get over how often I hear things at the exact moment I need to hear them.  It happens often and I'm in awe every single time.  There I was, thinking about those appointments...thinking about what is to come....thinking about what the heck is going to happen down the road?  As much as I try to live in the now and not worry about the future, it just doesn't always happen. IS something that I pray I continue to get better at.

You see....even God changes His mind. Hezekiah is an example of that.  God told him he was going to die and soon.  But Hezekiah prayed & prayed...requesting God have mercy on him basically.  And you know what happened?  God heard him and changed his mind.  Now does this mean I believe that everything I pray for is going to turn out exactly how I want it to?  Nope.  Not at all.  I know that His plan may not be what I have planned and hope for.  I trust He knows what is best.

What I do that it's OKAY to ask God for BIG THINGS.  In fact, He wants us to.  He wants to show us what a powerful & loving God He is.  He wants us to fully trust in Him, and that means no more worrying--man, it's so tough.  So tough.  But it's definitely one of the many things I am hoping to get out of this journey--I pray for a "Thy Will Be Done" mentality all of the time.  I WANT to feel with every part of my being...THY WILL BE DONE.  Wanna hear something kind of funny?  I say it in my prayers, "If it is your will..."  and then I do the 'bite the inside of my cheek, look up and say in my head, "yeah...I know that you know that I don't really mean that 100% right now...I just pretty much want you to heal me sooooo.... let's be real here.  You hear my thoughts, see my heart, and yeah..."  But I do believe in affirmations--what you talk about you bring about--I'm a work in progress but I'm getting there.

So you're probably like, "Okay...what the heck happened in Madison with your appointments already?!"  Well, first, I'm going to take you back to the consult with the first surgeon here in the Valley.

So after meeting with my oncologist about my CT scan, I had a PET scan done as well.  The radiologist could really only pinpoint one spot on my liver, the rest was kind of difficult to make out basically.  So, Dr. referred me to a very skilled surgeon and off we went!

The surgeon walked in the room, introduced himself, and said, "Your scans look really, really good."  Whew.  We were told that by the Dr., but whenever you meet someone new to talk about these things with you can have that fear of "what if they tell me something entirely different and it's not what we heard already."  He did go on to say that it's difficult to know what exactly is going on in the liver and we won't know until we're in there.  Well...that didn't sit all that well with me.  I get it, I do.  You never really know anything for sure until you can see...but we had something else in mind as well.  And that?  A second opinion.

That is when I felt the need to reach out to my favorite dude--the very first surgeon we met...the one who did my colonoscopy and both of my port placements.  He referred us to a liver specialist at UW Health in we ventured to Madison on May 1st.

May 1st, 2018.  Madison here we come--a little nervous but more so excited just to see what's next and get this show on the road.  First, was the MRI.  Then it was off to meet with the surgeon.

The surgeon came in to talk and the first thing she said?  "The MRI showed much more activity in the liver than what the CT scan showed."  My heart sunk.  "Okay,"  I said with about a hundred head nods, staring into her eyes with a 'just give it to me straight, I can handle it' kind of look (at least in my head it was that look ;)  ).  I honestly don't remember exact words but in a nutshell her opinion was that resection (surgery) of the liver was off the table at this point in time and more chemotherapy is recommended.  That's when she let us know that the oncologist would be in next to further discuss options and give his opinion on what needed to happen next.  "Okay, thank you."  And off she went.

Well then...we waited.  And waited...and then waited some more.  Honestly, I teared up here and there.  It wasn't what we wanted to hear at all.  I go into those appointments hoping to hear, " holy crap.  It's gone.  It's just...all gone."  ;)  Am I absolutely crushed that that is never the case?  Ha, nope!  I kinda just figure, eh, why not hope for it.  But this is why second, third, fourth, and fifth (this will be our FIFTH oncologist consult) opinions can be tough.  But...I guess I'm just not comfortable going with just one opinion.  I value multiple opinions.

While we were waiting, my friend Amber texted me asking if I had looked into the oncologist we were about to meet with at all.  I said, "No, I didn't even know who I was seeing until I got here and it just didn't occur to me to look into him."  She sent me an article....and my jaw dropped.

The Dr. I was meeting was 2 weeks into his dream job as a gastrointestinal oncologist when he was diagnosed with his specialty--colon cancer.  He was 31 years old at the time of diagnosis and had a 3 yr old child and 6 week old child at the time.  Enter the jaw drop.

After 45 minutes of waiting, the oncologist came in.  I'm not going to go into complete detail of our discussion, but all I will say is-- WE LOVED HIM.  Loved him.  He, too, felt that liver resection was off the table at this point as well, but that removing the primary tumor from the colon was needed.  He then said I would go on maintenance chemo after that, and we basically just go from there

At the end of our meeting, he looked at me and said, "I would love to be a part of your team if that would be okay with you."  Ummmm....YEAH!  So, just like that, we added another member to our team and are super excited to have him.  GO TEAM--right, hunny? ;)

We went from feeling a little down, bummed with what we first feeling more comfortable and confident in our new game plan.

So.... surgery to remove the primary tumor from the colon is set for Thursday, May 10th in the afternoon--here in Appleton with the first surgeon.  It's a little nerve racking.  You never want to hear the "well it's worse than anticipated" or "we found more cancer elsewhere," but I am trying my very best to just "Be Still" and give it to God.  After surgery and recovery?  Maintenance chemo...and taking even better care of myself to be the healthiest version of myself that I can possibly be.

Thank you all for your love, support, & prayers.  I mean it when I say they mean a lot to us & they're something we never take for granted.  Love you all.

Hope & Pray.

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