Last Updated on March 20, 2018

On the first day I was supposed to have surgery to remove my melanoma, I sat in the waiting room of the surgical center for what seemed hours before being called back. It was close to noon. I was hungry and thirsty and felt as though I could jump straight out of my skin. And I kept checking with my husband that the children would be all right — he would leave me if the kids needed something, and did he have all the numbers of our backups, especially for our autistic daughter? He looked at me and smiled. “You are such a mom. Here you are about to have surgery to remove cancer, and all you can think about are the kids.”

When they finally called me back and got me prepped — including an IV, which I hate — the doctor announced he was “throwing us a curve ball.” He wanted to do some more testing before he did the surgery. He said, “This is cancer. It’s serious. I’m not taking any chances with your life.”

While I appreciated his words, I almost looked behind me to see to whom he was talking. Those words shouldn’t be used about me. Serious? Cancer? My life? And did that mean I’d have to get another IV?

The next week sped by, and I could see God’s plan in action. My sister and parents were able to come into town, word spread among my friends and they rallied around me, and a ton of people made plans to be available and prayed for us. And that was good because what was supposed to be a minor tissue removal in a surgical center ended up taking place in a hospital and left me with several incisions, including a long railroad track of staples down my thigh, lymph node removal, and a drain.

Just as I had before my first trip to the surgical center, I opened my Bible before this operation. This time it landed on Psalm 69:2b, 18a. These words (from the NIV version) stayed in my mind during the long day:

“I have come into deep waters, and the floods engulf me. … Come near and rescue me. …”

And that was my prayer. “Come near and rescue me.” Though I felt overwhelmed, I knew the Lord would come near and rescue me. And He did in many ways. The entire ordeal has been humbling and emotional. I’ve felt so loved, as have my children. This has also given me some new perspective on dealing with my autistic daughter. I will take things with an even lighter heart. Since I’ve had a tiny peek at the shadow of death, the little things, like two jumbo rolls of toilet paper piled in the toilet, won’t bug me so much.

Life and love are gifts. May you be blessed with both, dear sisters. Thanks for traveling with me on this journey!

Editor’s Note: Jennifer is recovering from her surgery at home and doing well. This is Part 1 of a 2-part post she wrote this week.

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