(I apologize ahead of time for the icky pictures of my radiation-wrinkled upper chest, but merely describing this thing wouldn’t make as much sense. And yes…I did circle my bump with a pen to see if it was growing in size each day.)
Yes, we’ve named him.
We kind of had to. The alternative would have been a weeping mom for weeks while we figured out why a golf ball-sized bump emerged from my upper sternum. I’m not going to lie, this growth was freaky-weird, which pretty much explains my medical journey for the last 20 years, so I guess this means I shouldn’t be shocked by now, right?
Pedro popped up on a Friday, the day after I played volleyball for 10 minutes with my 15-year-old daughter.
(Can I just admit…I’m out of shape, ya’ll? I haven’t huffed that hard in years from chasing so many missed balls.)
In case you didn’t know, I have wires that protrude a tad from the center of my chest from where my heart surgeon sutured my ribcage back together after my aortic valve was replaced. Since then, I’ve always had a teeny bump that juts out from the wire. On Friday, August 30, 2018 a round bubble formed over this pointy nub, and by Sunday, the bump had morphed into the size of a golf ball. This was when I became a tad worried, but not worried enough to run to the ER like any other sane person.
I mean, the bump didn’t hurt and I was already creating my Dabney-isms for why it had appeared:
But there was no pain, and I hate the doctor’s office. If I could finagle a way to avoid such a place, I would. Instead, I decided to call my cardiologist the following week…you know, just to keep him in the loop. And that’s when his office insisted I visit the following Thursday.
My cardiologist quizzically examined me. “It’s too hard to aspirate the growth,” he gently pushed against it. “I recommend a CT scan.”
“No, please,” I begged. “I just had one three months ago from a weird pain I was having, and it ended up being nothing.”
“The only way I can properly diagnose you is with a CT.”
I bit the inside of my cheek. “Ok,” I relented.
For seven days I examined this oddity, praying this thing would shrink, and I could cancel my test.
That didn’t happen.
After my CT, my cardiologist concluded, “It’s a cyst. We can do one of two things. Drain it, or wait it out…”
Before he could finish, I blurted, “I’ll wait! Pedro can shrink on his own. I don’t need another needle sticking me.”
He looked at me funny.
“Oh,” I pointed to the bump. “My kids named it Pedro,” I snickered. “Sometimes you have to laugh or you’ll waste your days crying out of fear. We chose laughter this time. It’s supposed to be the best medicine.”
I drove home that day with many things on my mind. I’m honestly not trying to sound foolish, I realize that Pedro could have been a tumor. This made sense. He was in the middle of my chest right above where my mass had grown 20 years ago, but the old Dabney keeps learning new truths with each medical hiccup. This was the first time in a long time where I didn’t freak out over a medical issue, especially since I could visibly see this one. All the others were merely something I felt.
But my sickness is not my god, and it should never be an altar I bow down to.
I can’t anymore.
The alternative is fretting my days away, wasting my time and energy—two things I have very little of.
And, ironically, the day after I had my CT, Pedro started to shrink.
Of course he did.
The Lord is the Lord of my life. He’s the Lord of my health. My marriage. My children. My finances. And even the Lord of how many days I have left on this broken earth.
I can’t change that.
Deep breath in…and out.
I’m not in control. Honestly, this thought is beautifully refreshing.
I have a choice each day. I can make my uncertainties my god, or I can surrender each morning to Him and say, “You are the Lord of my life, God. Whatever you allow, I’ll accept.”
What a freeing feeling releasing control has made. I pray that it will do the same for you, too.
Peace is worth a million bucks, sweet friends. And peace like a river only comes from One source (Isaiah 48:18).
The choice is yours today, even in the midst of seemingly yucky news. Give it to God, and sigh out your release. Handing it over to Him is the most freeing experience.
So long, Pedro.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5