Garbage Miracles

There are two ways to live. One is as if nothing were a miracle. The other is as if everything were a miracle.

I’ve always been a miracle sort of girl. It’s like a game to me, to try and find God in all the details of my life. But all of a sudden, it’s seems less like a game and more like a lifeline.

The biopsy yesterday afternoon sucked. No other way to put it. The doctors had to get several specimens from two different spots. For one of the spots, they could give me local anesthesia, but for the second spot, they could not. And it hurt. Bad. And the drug they gave me to stop any bleeding made me nauseous and totally tanked my blood pressure, so I ended up fainting. And I got the chills. And started shaking. Epinephrine or whatever it is called is permanently off my list of safe medications. Yuck.

But. There is always a but.

I delivered chocolate to the nurses’ station right after lunch- just before the biopsy. So as I was struggling to regain my equilibrium and fighting off the torrent of tears caused by the pain and emotions of the day, one by one, the nurses started coming in and thanking me for candy. I gave it to them as a thank you for their kindness and yet, they hunted me down in my feeble state and lifted me up with words of appreciation. My mini act of kindness came back to me ten fold, just when I needed it most. A miracle.

Saul and I pulled into the driveway after a 2 hour drive home and the first thing I noticed is that I had forgotten to take out the garbage that morning. Now we were going to have stinky, overflowing garbage hanging out in our garage for another week. I was annoyed at myself over something small that seemed monumental in my eyes. I made a comment and Saul gently assured me that he would magically make the garbage disappear. I love that man.

Anyway, early this morning, I noticed all of the neighbors dragging out their recycling and garbage bins. A day late. Then it dawned on me that the garbage schedule was a day late because of Memorial Day. All of a sudden, as I looked out my kitchen window, I felt the sweetest peace and presence filling me. God softly whispering, “Yes, Nic, I can even take care of the garbage for you.”


Saul and I are at THE JAMES. Don’t you just love that huge, imposing name? THE JAMES. It’s a cancer center in Columbus and based on the people around here who know about THE JAMES, this clinic has a lot of experience dealing with cancer.

I made the receptionist cry. She had the most beautiful smile and radiant spirit. So I told her so. I told her I could see Jesus shining through her. She looked stunned and then said, “That’s what I pray for every morning before I come to work… that people would see Jesus through me.” After she checked me in, I pulled out a $2 bill I’ve been carrying around for the past several months. I’ve been waiting for the perfect person to give it to. Someone gave it to me and told me Jesus thought I was “too” special. I wanted to pass along the sentiment to someone else. Anyway, when I gave it to the receptionist and told her the story, she started to cry. And then she asked if she could give me a hug. It was a nice start to the day. It sure feels good to be kind to people.

The doctor seems brilliant, the nurses are nice and the number of women sitting in the waiting room in white and pink robes is TOTALLY freaking me out. I don’t feel sorry for myself, but my heart is absolutely breaking for them. I wonder if they feel the same way about me…

Saul and I got a break between my ultrasound and the biopsy, so we headed to a nearby patio restaurant for some fresh air.

Right away, the waiter asked what brought us to town. Saul mumbled something about healthcare, but was very unspecific. Just before bringing our check, the same waiter said, so you guys are here for something at Ohio State’s medical center?

So, because I’m a little naughty, I looked the guy dead in the eyes, smiled brightly and said, “No. I’m at THE JAMES. I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Clearly the diagnosis has not affected my appetite.”

The sweet young man got a little misty in his eyes and said, “I’ll pray for you. My aunt just went through it. She’s doing well now though.”

I went on to tell him how God uses every trial as an opportunity to draw us close to Him and how He watches over us and works all things for good.

My waiter tilted his head to the side and said, “Oh! You’re a Christian?”

This is the second time in two weeks someone has asked me that. Yep. I’m a Christian. I love Jesus. And kindness. But not breast cancer. But I’ll deal with it, if it brings me closer to Him.

Saul and I walked out of the restaurant and broke down into a complete fit of laughter. I’m not sure if we were laughing because the waiter was pursuing my medical history like a honey badger or if we were laughing because we just needed to let it all out. Either way, it sure felt good.


Heading to The James

I head to The James Cancer Center tomorrow. I really don’t know what to expect. I suspect the doctors will do more tests and then I’ll be sent home to love up on my family while we wait for results. There is a part of me that wonders if maybe they will do the biopsy and find out there is nothing wrong with me– that all this hoopla was for nothing. If that ends up being the case, I will know that 1) God sure does pull us in close when we’re facing trials and 2) my friends love me fiercely.

I have to share an email I got his afternoon from my friend, Teresa. She played hooky from work for a bit to go to lunch with me today. We had a great time talking about our husbands (it’s her anniversary) and how good God has been to both of us throughout the years. As much as I hated to hear she was hurting for me, it was touching to know she was feeling all of those things… just for me. Here’s Teresa’s heart:

Ok. So lunch was wonderful and I enjoyed it more than I can say. BUT, now I am a mess. This entire day I have been a mess.  I did not let you see me a mess.  I was strong and funny and calm for you but now I am again a MESS!  I can not concentrate on one single thing today.  I have NO desire to work and do ANYTHING productive. I have not done anything today correctly. I don’t care about ANYTHING today but you my friend.  I want you to know the truth because I want you to know how much you are loved by me AND our group.  I am sure all of the girls are a MESS!  I can’t say how much I HATE that you are having to go through one single minute of this.  I keep trying to tell you how well so many others are doing after they have been through this to keep you positive and I KNOW GOD will do the same for you but right now I HATE THIS FOR YOU and I want you to be spared from this ridiculous, terrible thing called cancer.  My heart is broken for you and yours that this word is even being spoken at your house.  I trust God with ALL my broken heart right now for your good, but still I AM A MESS and will be so glad for you to have tomorrow over with and any other days that you have to deal with this.  
So right now, right this very minute I am being so very very real.  Right now this very minute I am being so very very mad at CANCER!  Right now this very minute I want you to know that HE is strong but I AM SO weak.  Right now this very minute I want you to know that you can take a break and let me and your girls be REAL, MAD and WEAK!!!  Right now this very minute I want you to know that we are TRUSTING GOD to keep this a quick, easy and simply fixable problem!  But right now we are a MESS for you so you don’t have to be.  WE ARE YOUR MESS!  Your special, crazy, silly, funny, loving MESS!
We will be a MESS tomorrow so you can relax with those doctors and Saul.  We’ve got this.  Your Mess has your back.  We are not afraid, we are just A MESS!
Just had to let this out and I know you well enough to know that you GET it……….
Love you bunches, Teresa