One Month Post Surgery

It was just a month ago that I was headed into surgery to remove the rest of the lymph nodes in my neck in order to contain the melanoma that made its micro-presence in the sentinel lymph node under my jaw described in the previous posts. The hematoma under the incision disappeared in just hours leaving me wonder where the blood went. The swelling is mostly gone. I am now able to raise my arm out horizontally and bounce it to full extension. No more narcotics, I am glad to say. I still do a combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen a couple of times a day to control pain as I go to sleep and in the early morning. I still try to force myself to sleep longer. But I still find sleep pretty boring. Sherry did laugh at me last night when I fell asleep on the couch just after 7:00.

I met Rob Karch at last year’s World Venture Renewal Conference and we quickly established a theological and missional friendship which went into a different dimension when he discovered enlarged lymph nodes in his neck just as I was having my first surgery. He had surgery to remove lymph nodes in his neck the day before my second surgery to do the same thing. We met face to face at this year’s Renewal Conference to connect and pray. His biopsies lead to a diagnosis of “T-Cell/Histiocyte-Rich B-Cell Lymphoma” with a nasty regimen of chemo that will keep him from extending his mission work from Quebec to France. His story is here.

I spoke at Corban University’s chapel, reflecting on Jesus’ command, “do not worry.” I exposited my thesis that He wants us to worry like a bird – don’t worry about if God will make seeds or what climate change means all the trees die, but do seek after (a nice worry word) seeds so you don’t starve and about cats! I ended with a reflection on my melanoma journey, concluding with four points:

  • Go to the past looking for lessons, not regrets.
  • Go toward the future with a plan built from what you know.
  • Satan lives in the “what if’s”. Reject his temptation to live there with him.
  • Jesus lives in the present. Look for the glimmers of His grace in dark places.

Sherry Atkins, the other half of the Sherry twins, had hip replacement surgery yesterday. Since she was betrayed by her husband and her children do not live near, she is alone in a very difficult time. My Sherry took her to the hospital, met with the doctor for the post-surgery consultation. She will live with us for the six weeks or so while she can’t drive. What does “do not worry” look like for her?