My mother just called. Her baby sister, Aunt Marty, was found unresponsive in her home. She is in a coma now and on life support! She can still respond to pain stimulus, but nothing more. The doctors aren't sure how much brain damage may have been done.
Entrusting her to the loving care of Mother Mary, I ask for your prayers. There are SO MANY WOUNDS in the family and those wounds run deep... PLEASE pray for healing from trauma (the healing of memories), the ability to FORGIVE, for LOVE (the Holy Spirit) to find a home in the hearts of our family members AND for Marty's PHYSICAL and SPIRITUAL healing!!
Thank you for your prayers! Please know that Our Lady and Our Lord are already at work... It was an amazing gift of God's grace that my mother called with such a request, so PRAISED BE JESUS CHRIST for this gift!!
I've been asked how it is that we discovered cancer. That's a good question.
About 5 years ago, during a season of the year when I had little to no sun exposure, I noticed that the skin on my nose was turning white and peeling off (such as you'd normally expect to see after a sun burn). This worried me, so I made an appointment to see a dermatologist.
By the time the appointment rolled around, my nose had healed. The doctor said that what I described sounded like pre-cancerous cells, but as he could no longer see them, we settled on a simple check-up/exam that day. This was the first skin exam I'd ever had. He explained that with my skin type (very fair-skinned) I should return every year for a regular exam.
Sadly, I'd had an unpleasant experience as a teenager that - somehow - was triggered by my encounter with this particular dermatologist, so I must admit that I did not return.
Fast forward a couple of years...
About 3 years ago, I began to notice a small, red patch in the orbit of my right eye. The patch was light red in color, but that color never seemed to go away. From time to time, the patch would scale a bit and bleed, then heal up again, but that light red color remained. About a year and a half into this, I must (again) confess that there was a moment when I looked at the patch and thought, "I wonder if this could be cancer." I dismissed the thought as quickly as it had occurred, telling myself that I was worrying too much.
Fast forward a couple more years...
About a year ago, I began to experience a similar patch of skin recurring on my forehead. However, when this patch would heal, the redness would disappear. The last time it healed, it scarred over and never returned.
I believe it was in August of this year that a similar patch of skin appeared on my nose. (Now remember that my nose is where all of this began so long ago.) Again, I'd had no real sun exposure and the red, scaling patch that was bleeding was below where my glasses sit on my nose, so I couldn't blame them. This time, I did not hesitate. I went online - asked the Holy Spirit to guide my selection (as you'll remember my difficult experience last time) - and found a dermatologist at a hospital I trust. I called to schedule an appointment.
Unfortunately, when the day of my appointment arrived, my nose had healed and the redness was gone. With my permission, the doctor did a regular skin exam.
Doc came across the light red patch above my eye and asked me about it. I told him the story and he was immediately concerned. He told me that it could be cancer and asked if he could biopsy the site. I agreed. I remember him saying - as he took the sample - that when the site healed it would look like the scar on my forehead. I didn't give his words much thought until I was driving home. I thought to myself that he must have thought that I'd had a similar biopsy on my forehead at one time. I, of course, knew that I had not.
When the biopsy results came back malignant, I told the nurse the story of my forehead. She agreed that the doctor probably thought I'd already had a biopsy of the site and so she became concerned. This was a Wednesday morning. By the end of the same day, I was back in the doctor's office and he was looking at my forehead. This time, his eyes showed even more concern. He told me that if this was cancer, then he was concerned about a more aggressive form of basal cell carcinoma. With my permission, he removed the scar and sent it to the lab for biopsy.
Two days later, the results came back malignant.
As two surgeons' offices must work together to schedule my surgeries, you can imagine that there have been some challenges along the way. At this point, the surgery that was anticipated to take place in November has now been pushed back to January! Unfortunately, that also means that the third biopsy (that the first surgeon was going to take on the day of surgery) has also been delayed. :(
This is unacceptable to me, so I've called the original dermatologist back and will be going to see him on Tuesday. (His office would have worked me in on Thursday or Friday of this past week, but I just couldn't see making others wait for me, so I told them that Tuesday works. After all, how much worse could it get in only a few days?) If this sample is malignant, then I will more than likely ask him for a different referral so that we don't wait any longer.
I'm so thankful that this is only a basal cell carcinoma, but having it in three places at one time is not a comforting thought. There is just something about the "C" word, I guess. No one wants to tote cancer cells around with them - in any way, shape or form!
Please pray that the biopsy on Tuesday will come back benign. God bless you for your kindness!
O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire.
I desire to use you as best I can.
And although I am weak and small,
You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence.
And so, trusting in Your mercy,
I walk through life like a little child,
Offering you each day this heart
Burning with love for Your greater glory.
St. M. Faustina Kowalska
The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His Holy Name, anointed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
~St. Francis de Sales
St. Michael the Archangel...
...defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all of the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. AMEN.