Sunday, May 1, 2011

When People Pray

Does God answer when people pray ??
Let me tell you ... YES YES !!!!

Several months ago I was diagnosed with a large substernal thyroid mass with suspicion of cancer . There followed seemingly endless blood tests, scans, biopsies, ultra sounds, x-rays and referrals to thyroid and thoracic surgeons. I was told to expect something beyond a simple surgery.
Friends, acquaintances and even an atheist rallied around me assuring me of their love and prayers! I was overwhelmed with the love and concern poured out toward me. (the photo above depicts my own 'private nurse' knit for me by a neighbour)
Finally my surgery was booked and on Tues. of this week we left our house at 4:00 am for my 7:25 am surgery appointment at Vancouver General Hospital.
Right to the last minute, complications were expected .... but people were praying!

God answered every single prayer !!!

Medical Concerns Wiped out by Prayers

1. Breathing Tube -- because of the substernal mass , my trachea tube was somewhat compressed and curved. In my pre-surgery appointment with the anaesthetist he advised that because there was doubt whether the tube could be safely inserted after I was put out, it would have to be inserted while I was still awake. He called in a second opinion and his diagnosis was confirmed.
I was nervous about being awake for it.... but as I lay in the pre-op ward the two anaesthetists came to see me. Two very sweet young women. They stood at the end of my bed reviewing my charts and then said... "It would be soooo much more comfortable for you if we put the tube in after you are asleep. We think we can do it... If not, we'll just wake you up again. We will have to put in a larger tube though, which will make your throat more painful in recovery." The thoracic surgeon stopped by and briefly discussed with them the procedure and agreed, adding however that the larger tube would hinder the surgeon's space since she needed all the room she could get. So, he advised the smaller tube! The girls agreed.

2. Neck Opening not Enough
My surgeon advised me that because of how far the mass had grown down into my chest there was a real concern that she would not be able to get it out the usual way through a neck opening. A thoracic surgeon would attend and he would make three openings in my ribs through which two cameras and an instrument would be inserted to push the mass up toward the throat opening for the surgeon to pull the mass out. Failing that, there was a slight chance that my breastbone would need to be broken. I was prepped for the more complicated procedures -- which were not necessary!! The surgeon told me the morning following the surgery that the mass was not down as far as she had believed it to be.
Either all the scans/x-rays were deceptive or God in answer to prayers, shrunk the mass up to where the surgeon could reach down to pull it up through the throat opening. I am convinced it was the later. I had the best surgeons who certainly know how to read test results and examine pictures.

3. Nerves for the vocal cords - My surgeon warned me because of the close proximity to the nerves for the vocal cords there was a good possibility my voice would be affected, hopefully only temporarily. The nerves are often difficult to see. The resident surgeon who was in the operating room came to see me that evening and said with delight in his voice... "Your nerve was just lying there in the open !!" So my voice was not affected at all.

4. Pericardius Attacks
Because I have re-occuring pericardius attacks triggered by my rheumatoid arthritis and because surgery can trigger the attacks in healthy people, there was concern that I would suffer an attack after the surgery. Precautionary drugs were injected into my IV before surgery.
I had no attacks !

5. Cancer - while the mass was sent to the pathology lab for analysis, my surgeon feels that judging by sight she does not expect it to be cancer.

Personal Comfort
1. Vic --One of my biggest concerns going into surgery was was my husband. He was very concerned and I worried about him sitting waiting for me to come out of surgery. A couple of days before my surgery, he had a break-through... He found that place where He could trust the Lord for my well-being. And then my daughter was able to come with us on surgery day to keep him company .. Again, God taking care of the details. It was such a comfort to me to have them both with me!

2. Going, going, .. The last thing I remember in the operating room is looking at the speckled ceiling and watching the plaster specks quiver. Immediately after, I heard a voice drawing me awake. "Julianna, you are in recovery!"
I murmured ... "I was dreaming." I don't remember my dream except for the last scene which was vivid in my mind. A pastoral scene of a meadow... grass, trees , a grazing black and white cow, and sunshine. I opened my eyes to look out the window to see the weather had changed. The picture window revealed a large blue patch of sky bordered by bright fluffy white clouds. When I told my husband, he smiled a big smile remembering a vision he had had before I went into surgery of a blue sky and white clouds and the Lord impressing him with joy!
"So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture will give You thanks forever, We will show forth Your praise to all generations!" Ps. 79:13

3. Pain - Though I was in a fair amount of pain when I awoke, pain meds were quickly administered and those in the recovery room were the only pain meds I have needed.

4. Hospital room -- I had at first requested a private room, but I became uncomfortable with that decision, thinking that spending the extra money was maybe not necessary and we decided that we would just trust God to chose the room for me.
My room was beautiful!! Very quiet... just me and a little old lady.

My room was on the 9th floor and my bed was positioned so that without moving my head, two large windows allowed me to have a view of Vancouver city back dropped by the mountains and eastern sky.
I lay for hours in the Lord's Presence, relaxed and peaceful, enjoying the changing scene before me.
God and I have a code word - 'wings' - that God tucks into a verse or a song or a written/spoken word... to bring me His message of comfort or assurance of His Presence with me. Here ... the 'wings' were real -- the seagulls swooped and soared eye-level , beautiful in their feathered colours of striking shades of black and white. I was mesmerized as I floated with them in the sky and smiled when one and another would soar , wings extended, making a deliberate pass-by almost grazing the window panes.
The clouds formed and reformed, the late afternoon sun edged the clouds in brilliant white, then brushed them with pastel pink as slowly the day faded . Lazily, one by one the lights of the city came on until they sparkled like countless jewels against the night sky.

5. Care - I could not have asked for more gentle, hospital caregivers ... from surgeons, to nurses, to support staff.

6. Friends/family - Sometimes we take our friends/loved ones for granted or don't really realize how many friends we have. I have been overwhelmed with the love of those who share my 'space' in life.

I want to thank EACH ONE OF YOU !! for your expressions of love and for your heartfelt prayers ! Know that God heard and answered !!
May we all be encouraged to pray more , full of assurance that our loving God is listening , ready and willing to answer above and beyond what we can think to ask !
Truly ... "We have not because we ask not!" (James 4:2,3)

"To God be all glory and thanksgiving!"


Karin said...

So glad to hear such a positive and God glorifying report during your recent huge challenges!! Yes, God answers prayers, many times even before we ask! You sound like you are well on your way to complete recovery. Feel His constant embrace!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Julie I am so happy for you and thankful for all your medical team who surely must have worked under the supervision of The Great Physician.

Elsie said...

Great news! How wonderful that the Lord answered prayers beyond expectations! May his grace and peace rest on you and give you strength as you heal.

ellen b. said...

Praise God for his love and care for you and all the answered prayers on your behalf. Still praying for your recovery and hoping to be able to give you a hug on Friday!!

Betty said...

Sooo happy to read this! God is good and I´m so glad you have come through the operation so well. Praise the LOrd!!

charlotte mgcc said...

I rejoice along side of you to all the answers to prayer!

Lovella ♥ said...

Thank you Lord. .so happy that you are doing so well and so thankful for your support through out this long ordeal. Now rest. .and we'll see you Friday.

Anonymous said...

Praise God for the wonderful outcome. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. Miss you.

Hugs from Dorothy(Broadway)

Sara said...

Dear Julie, I have just read your story of God's wonderful, amazing, loving, tender, beautiful and powerful care of you in your time of need. And not only of you but of those who love you! Thank you for sharing such hope and assurance with the rest of us. He is amazing!

Julie said...

Hi Dorothy, how sweet to hear from you ... I so miss you, hugs back to you!!

Thank you, one and all, my dear friends for your comments. Every one warms my heart and makes my day! You are indeed gifts in my life!

Anneliese said...

Dear Julie.. what a beautiful testimony of God's provison and care for you! I appreciate how you listed all the specific answers to prayer . . . so good to know that God cares about the details that concern us. Thanks be to God for His great love for those who trust in Him. I know you do and I want to learn from your experience. No, I do not ask for any kind of surgery. I'm a wimp. But this is so encouraging. Thank you.

Kathy said...

Giving God the glory in all of life's situations. We praise the Lord for His care and love for you during surgery and recovery to this point. We ill continue to pray for you and Vic.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Julie...I'm not sure how I missed this post earlier...but what a wonderful tribute to the power of prayer and an Almighty God. It was so good to see you yesterday...looking so well! Blessings to you as you recover.