This morning, I chose to go alone. It turned out to be a decision from the Divine.
I could have asked for some one to accompany me.
Yet, deep within the reaches of my soul, I knew that I needed quiet, meditative time with my God for the thirty minute drive of courage.
I set my song list to ‘shuffle’ and decided to reflect upon whatever lyrics were played. The first song, “Take Me to the Beautiful” by Cloverton, set the tone for my day in the most wondrous way.
I can’t say I prayed all that much during my drive to Dr. Ritz’s office. I just soaked in the lyrics of each song and praised my God for His Presence and asked for His peace.
I walked up the three stories of stairs, took a deep breath, and then entered Dr. Ritz’s office for the seventh time in two years.
To my surprise, a friend that I had not seen in over a year, stood up to greet me. She was at The Bone and Breast Centre for her annual mammogram. We caught up briefly before her name was called to go and change into the examination frock. A few minutes later, I was asked to walk back to the waiting area as well. My friend was there.
We chatted some more as the minutes ticked away our waiting time. It was nice to catch up. Finally, it was my friend’s turn. Alone again, I decided to pray for my friend.
She emerged moments later with a pained expression on her face and tears welling in her eyes. I knew that look. She didn’t have to say all that much. I understood. Something suspicious had been identified. An ultrasound was required. She was called into another room. Then, awhile later, she was led back to the mammogram room for another set of images to be taken. I dedicated myself to pray for my friend even more in that hour.
She returned to the waiting room and sat beside me. Brief words were shared and I took hold of her hands. Then, she was called again, this time for a biopsy.
All the while, I sat. I waited. I prayed.
There is a sign posted in the waiting room that says, “Please be patient. The next emergency could be yours.” It’s an appropriate reminder. Because, over the course of time, the waiting room filled with even more women. Soon every chair was occupied and the sofa had four women sharing the space as well. In the center of our small gathering, there is a basket of yarn with sets of knitting needles, along with stacks of magazines, and breast cancer awareness pamphlets on the table. Knitting provides an outlet for nervous energy and the blankets that are created are given away as gifts. The women sometimes feel comfortable enough to chat. Some just sit quietly. A couple decided to knit. A few glanced through magazines. For almost two hours, I smiled, chatted a bit, and prayed for my friend. And all the while, I waited for my turn.
Finally, my friend appeared. All of the current rounds of tests were complete. Now, it was time to wait in a different way – for results from the biopsy. I followed my friend to her dressing room and prayed with her; understanding the barrage of emotions, the battery of questions, the assault of all the probes, piercings, and scans, and the circling ‘what-ifs.’
And then, my name was called. I hugged my friend farewell.
It was my turn.
I was asked to have another mammogram in order to compare the images with the ones taken six months earlier. Then I was led back to another room and asked to lay down for the tomography session.
Dr. Spiegal, Dr. Ritz’s associate, asked me to look at the ultrasound image as she showed me the scar tissue. She circled the area which had been classified indeterminant tissue six months ago and said, “This area has settled down significantly. It is stable now.”
I asked Dr. Spiegal about some pain I was experiencing in another area and she said, “Heather, this area was stretched and pulled during your surgery. When you add radiation on top of that, your body must adjust. That is what is happening now – even two years since your surgery and treatment.”
“We’ve certainly put you through the ringer the past two years, but we’ve needed to be sure there is no reoccurence of cancer,” she added.
And all of a sudden, I was done. From start to finish, I had been there for almost three hours. As I reflected upon this visit, I honestly felt that the central reason I had come that day – was not for me – but rather for my friend.
By Divine Providence, my appointment had been scheduled six months ago to determine if some mysterious tissue was anything of consequence. What I did not know, was that my friend would make an appointment for the very same day. She thought her mammogram outcome would be like all the others and was not expecting anything otherwise. That was me, two years ago.
How grateful I was that I could be present for my friend. I was given the privilege to care, to pray, and to demonstrate the tender compassion of her Heavenly Father at such a perilous, uncertain time in my friend’s life. I hadn’t planned that. My God had.
Isaiah once wrote: I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ New International Version, Isaiah 46:10
He saw this date. He knew who would be waiting as I made my way to Dr. Ritz’s office. And He asked me to wait and to pray during this divine and pivotal moment in my friend’s life. How grateful I am.
Thank you, my friends, for all of your prayers. Truly, our God and Heavenly Father knew that many prayers were needed this day – not just for me – but for the courage, comfort and support of my friend as well.
Image retrieved from Google