Yesterday we started writing of Sarah's journey that began four years ago. If you did not read that post, please do so now, because we are not going to review. You can find it here. We will just jump right back in.
It was my journey, too, and that of our entire family. It changed all of us. Some in good ways. And some in ways that we could not have imagined.
I stayed with my daughter day and night as they ordered test after test. Sometimes they would let me stay with her the entire time. Sometimes there would be radiation or a grouchy tech and she would still be holding tightly to my hand as they wheeled her through a door that would close on me.
After several days of seemingly endless testing, a doctor came into the hospital room with whom we had not previously met. He closed the door behind himself. He was a little older than me and he had an air of confidence about him that told me right away that he was a big deal.
Dr. Charles Boice introduced himself and then told Sarah that he was interested in her condition and would like to take her case. I still don't know who called him or where he came from. Well, of course I know. I just don't know what person God used to arrange for such a meeting. I learned from his office manager weeks later that Dr. Boice had a long waiting list of hopeful prospective patients, and she had never in her fifteen years of working for him ever known him to volunteer for a case.
But he came into that room and asked Sarah if she would agree for him to be her doctor. She did. He sat down on her hospital bed. I was sitting next her in the chair that was also my bed, holding her hand. He made several opening statements that sound in my memory like this:
"Blah blah blah extensive testing, and blah blah blah blood analysis that blah blah masses blah blah blah tumors ten centimeters each in size blah blah diagnosis blah blah blah..."
Then the words that I DO remember, clearly:
"...the cancer indicators from your blood work confirm conclusively that the tumors are from advanced ovarian cancer, and that you have advanced pancreatic cancer, as well."
And then time stood still.
My husband was on the floor. He was the only other one in the room. But I barely noticed. Now, all I could see was Sarah's sweet face as her grip on my hand tightened and our eyes instantly filled with tears.
I had spent thirty years doing everything in my power to protect this amazing young woman. She was the kindest, most giving person I knew on the face of the earth. She possessed the spirit of my grandmother, who you met here. She had graduated from Bible College and had never even had a serious boyfriend. She loved the Lord with all of her heart and was waiting for God to send her the man with whom she would serve, if that was His will. Otherwise she would live happily single and serve Him alone, if that is what God chose for her. This girl.
But there was nothing that I could do to soften this blow as I looked on her sweet face as she absorbed the news. I've never felt more helpless in my life as I did at that moment. My precious girl.
Then she turned to me, looked me in the eye, and said, "I might die."
I opened my mouth, and God forced out the words, using my voice, "Yes, Baby, you might." Because I certainly did not possess the ability to say anything at all.
Time was frozen again. Dr. Boice sat patiently, waiting. He was very kind. And then, after what seemed like minutes but I'm sure was only seconds, Sarah spoke again:
"Well, if it has to be one of us, I'm so glad that God picked me."
And that, I believe, was our defining moment. Sarah's immediate response was complete acceptance of whatever God's will was for her. Not a doubt. Not a question. Just complete surrender. Just Sarah thinking of others, unwaveringly. Typically and predictably. If you ever wonder about someone's sincerity in their relationship with the Lord, put them to this test.
And that moment will forever be one of the proudest and most cherished of my life. My sweet girl.
The doctor spoke again, and there is more blah, blah talk in my memory. I remember him saying that he was going to arrange for surgery, and he would remove anything he could. And then we would know how to proceed with further treatment. He said that it would be a couple of days before the surgery, and that he was going to send her home because he knew that she had the support and care there that she needed and that he wanted her as strong as possible for surgery. Hospitals wear you down, he said. Huh. Ya think?
The doctor looked at Sarah and asked her if she had any more questions. She nodded that she did. "How long do I have, Dr. Boice?", she asked.
His response was gentle and filled with compassion. "We'll try to get you to Thanksgiving", he softly replied.
So we went home and waited for surgery day.
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