In the history of this blog, I have never told people about what occurred in that waiting room for almost 10 hours. It has taken me two years to process that day and be able to talk about it.
We were given a private waiting room. I never broke down once, I did not shed a tear. I simply prayed. All 20 of us, with a few pastors popping in and out prayed. We set a timer for every 15 minutes, when it went off, we prayed. We sang worship songs to pass the time. some people were quiet and contemplative, others engaging in conversation to distract us from the fact that a little boy we all knew and loved had his head open in a room with a surgeon, who’s hands I prayed over before he cut into my sons head, and were in my sons brain. Trying to dissect brain from tissue from the tumor and blood vessels could be clipped out without our son bleeding out on the table.
During discussions the day before with the surgeon, Dr. Storm had said that the biggest risk and obstacle were the amount of blood vessels interwoven into the tumor. It had created its own blood network to feed it, and had tapped into major veins in the brain. It was very risky, we were told he had a 50/50 chance of dying during the surgery.
One of the hardest things I had to do was sign the consent form with all of its listed risks for surgery. There was only one complication that jumped out at me, it was death.
At this point we had been told it was possibly cancer, and after the surgery and the preliminary pathology was back, we would know that day if it was benign or malignant. In other words, something that would not kill him as opposed to something that didn’t have the potential to kill.
In that room different people involuntarily cried and we all just kind of tried to stay together and lift each other. We knew it was going to be a long surgery and we had hours to go. None of us ate. Water was passed around, along with coffee.
The nurse was updating us hourly as to the progress of the surgery. The first time she said, Dr. Storm is trying to begin removal of a section of tumor. The second hour she came in and said 5% of the tumor has been removed. The third hour, she came in and gave a very generic answer. Things are progressing. And the 4th hour the same generic answer, and the 5th, and the 6th, and the 7th, and the 8th.
We all knew this could not be good. We knew that there was a reason the nurses updates were so vague. After 8 hours, I took to pacing the floors and staring into the windows on the double doors to the operating room hallway where they transported the patients back to the pediatric intensive care unit to see if I could see my son being wheeled by. I paced. I paced. Several people joined me. We were all waiting for the Dr. to show up and tell us the news of what had happened with our son.
At some point we went back into the private waiting room and I sat down. Now, I needed to be practical in this moment. When the Dr. came in, I needed to have my questions answered. I knew in the emotion of the moment there was no way I would remember what to ask. So I bounced off everyone in the room and created a list of questions to ask Dr. Storm.
We paced a little while longer and sat back down again. Then Dr. Storm walked into the room.
He said John was alive. Clapping all over the room ensued. The Dr. said, not so fast and shook his head. There was more.
John lost more blood than his body held and almost died several times during the surgery. He said at that point that our son really only had a 20% chance of coming out of that surgery alive. And there was a lot of bleeding, we needed to be prepared. I pounded out my questions and found out every spec of information I wanted. I asked about the pathology of the tumor. He shook his head and dropped his chin. He said the tumor was definitely malignant and the final pathology report would take a month to know exactly what kind of cancer he had.
The room was silent. No one said a word. there were silent tears. there were hugs. there were promises that they would be there for us.
If you would like to hear the sermon after one of the pastors present, please click here.
It was hard to walk out of that waiting room and into the new nightmare of cancer. I will never forget that those hours of waiting were my last hours of peace to this day.
That day changed me. I saw what community should look like. what Church should look like.
That day broke me in so many ways. It is life shattering and emotionally shattering and spiritually shattering.
I don’t think I can be unbroken from that day.
I have never looked at life the same.
Enough for now, Faith