Friday, May 26, 2017

Fifty-Four Hours

Stephanie walked through the front door and set her things on my kitchen counter "I think that something is wrong with my eyes." What do you mean I asked  "I can't see out the sides. Everything is super blurry." We discussed it a while longer before setting the subject aside to start the binge watching process on Netflix, our new routine for when my husband (and her boss) is away on long trips. "also" She added, "I got a call today from Mayo for an appointment coming up that I never made!" We explored this mysterious occurrence and because of her eyes she decided she might as well keep the appointment coming up in a few days anyway. It was just a wellness visit, insurance would cover it and it couldn't hurt to just mention the strange and sudden blurriness she was experiencing. Little did we know this would be the first of many miraculous provisions and occurrences that God had already ordained to take care of his wonderful daughter.

When she asked me to go with her to her appointment yesterday it was just to hear "the results." I remember thinking if her appointment is at 8am and the next at 8:45am I'll certainly be home by 9:30am. I didn't know her doctor had sent her to an optometrist for eye testing, and that he had sent her to get an MRI the night before. Now that I think back I don't know what I was doing there, and I'm not sure Stephanie did either. It was all kind of a blur. We sat in the waiting area talking, full of faith, full of hope that this was nothing. That's the last clear thing I remember hearing her say as I looked at her talking with her dark messy top knot on her head. "I'm sure this is nothing."

The Optometrist walked us to his office and Stephanie took a seat in the patient chair as he sat at his desk facing her. They discussed the progression of her vision problems, the eye testing and what has brought them to this point. He very graciously clicked on the MRI scans on his desk top. "Do you see this spot here?" he asked as he circled the grape size spot on the screen with his mouse. Stephanie nodded her head, "This should not be here." Of all the doctors we'd see that day, although each very kind and warm, he was the most thoughtful with his words. Perhaps even he realized he was out of his field of expertise on this one. "This is a tumor pressing on your optical nerves, its on your pituitary gland. This is why your vision has changed." I didn't want to look at her. This was what we were so sure it wasn't, and yet here we were and there it was on a 26' inch screen in black and white. It's so difficult to find words to express such profound moments, like the look on her face as he spoke. I guess it was the look of grief. Of realizing your plans are about to change, whether you want them too or not. Afterwards she looked at me as if I also had a say in the matter. Her eyes almost searching for the good news we needed to hear instead of this. "It's all going to be okay." I said. "Now we know what it is. We just need to keep going and get this dealt with." She nodded her head speechless as we made our way down another hallway to our next appointment.

Next was the endocrinologist, a retired Army soldier. "Tell me Stephanie what do you understand as of this point."  "I can't see, because I have a tumor." This appointment felt a little more heavy. Turns out the pituitary gland is quite a big deal for being so small. This visit had lots of words like, substantial, urgent, risks, neurosurgeon and so many others that for peace sake I wont even bother repeating.One thing huge he did do though, was make a call upstairs to his buddies. He requested more blood work to be done in 10 minutes and said he'd make a call to see about us being seen by a neurosurgeon today if we could wait. We sat in another lobby, Stephanie's arms already bruised up from yesterdays appointments and waiting for her to give more blood. She was in shock. Maybe we both were. We got a call while we waited and we'd be meeting a neurosurgeon at 4pm. We were thankful, and also scared. The weather today was dark and cloudy just like we were as we made the long walk to the parking lot. We picked up Chinese food and my daughter, headed to my house to pass by the next 4 hours.

We actually waited 1hr and 40 minutes before being seen. The surgeon had an emergency and we'd need to wait. Earlier we'd passed a man in the hallway in light blue scrubs. "If he's my surgeon I know I'll be fine." Stephanie says as they take us back.After waiting what felt like forever, in walks our guy, the man in the light blue scrubs. He exuded such peace and gentleness, exactly what we needed at this point. Maybe it was because of that, that Stephanie cried for the first time. He was so kind and safe as he explained the procedure to remove the tumor. "You'll be asleep, and we'll go up through your nose." He showed us that in the tumor was actually 2 small cysts full of fluid. "We need to drain and carefully remove these as quickly as possible. If they were to burst, you could go blind." and I thought in amazement, how many people on this earth could share such difficult news without causing any fear, and he did. "I'm scheduling the surgery for Tuesday."

Stephanie's mind totally checked out at that point. Next came consent forms to proceed with the surgery, pre-operation instructions and a waiver to release "remains", we actually laughed really hard when she read that part, shock is such a strange thing. It was 6:30 pm at this point and I wasn't sure how much more she could take. She couldn't even speak when it was all finished. We walked towards the elevator, feeling like the only ones left in the building, sounds of someone playing a piano somewhere floated through the air. She pressed the down button and leaned into the wall, as heavy as I've ever seen another human being. She looked at me eyes full of tears. "I just need to weep." were the words that fell from her lips. But she didn't, not yet, we kept going. "We just have to keep going." would be the mantra for another 24hrs.

So this brings me to today. Right now. After 6 doctor consults, 2 MRI's, 1 CAT scan, and 6 different veins giving blood she is done with appointments and having her procedure Tuesday May 30th at 7:30am. It'll take a few hours, with an overnight stay and 4 weeks of recovery, but she's as ready as she could possibly be. Thinking over the last 48 hours its quite incredible how difficult the situations have been, and yet so miraculous the peace and grace to endure them and call him faithful over and over again as he so clearly made a way for her at every turn. Before our last appointment today we sat outside the building having lunch discussing how surreal and wild this whole thing seems. "What is the Lord saying to you Stephanie? What has he been saying?" She pulls out her phone and reads the notes she had quickly jotted down last Saturday, before all of this. She reads off to me the encouraging words of a heavenly father who sees it all "I've got you Stephanie. I've totally got you."

Please pray for continued peace over her and her family as they wait, that the tumor is easily removed with no remains and for her recovery time that she would truly find rest and every financial need would be met. Everyone who knows Stephanie knows just how exceptional she is. It was truly an honor from God to be with her during this time, and I now pass that baton over to you to each play your role as the Lord leads. With that being said prayer is the best gift you could give, and she asks that you be very gracious during this time. Allow her to process, make this about what she's going through not you, and please send only encouraging words.

I'll be updating again following her procedure. Until then grace, grace.


  1. Dear Sharon,
    Blessings to you for sharing with such profound wisdom and love this challenge that Stephanie is in the midst of.
    I love the words, "I've got you, Stephanie, I've totally got you".
    I will be repeating those words every time she comes to mind and heart.
    Please give her a hug from me when you see her.
    No weapon formed against her will prosper.
    Lots of love,
    Beverly Banta

  2. When you walk through a time of medical challenges, there are new terms, new realities, new frames of mind. It is so helpful to have someone with you who can hear what your mind cannot hear, what your understanding cannot seem to grasp.

    I imagine Stephanie feels so blessed to have such a friend. For others reading, if you can be that person for someone else, do it. It makes a world of difference.

    1. Absolutely.

      It really was SO helpful to have a clear mind present that could ask questions that would have come up later. Or their were several things she misunderstood at the time that I was able to explain to her when she had time to process. The Lord knows just what we need. Like Dan said, if you're reading this and going down that medical path, have someone with you who can pray, bring peace with you and ask the right questions.

  3. Know that I will be praying for you and I know you will be ok because GOD has you. You have done so many wonderful things in your life and will continue to do so, there is a plan for you and always has been. Just remember you are loved by so many and we are all here for you.