“So we draw nearer, nearer, nearer, nearer; Lord, nearer to Your throne.” Nearer by Tommy Walker
First thanks to all of you for your prayers, words of encouragement and support. The surgery to remove my thyroid a week ago today went very well! Jesus, the Great Physician, was faithful in guiding the hands of the two surgeons and everything went as planned with no complications. I ended up being hospitalized two nights and was released last Wednesday afternoon.
I am now adding to the list of benefits from this prolonged ordeal a greater empathy for those who have to be hospitalized. The only other time I had ever spent a night in the hospital prior to last week was when I was five years old and had my tonsils removed. I was comforted by the fact that my father spent the night in the room with me. You see he not only shared my room but the experience as well, because he had his tonsils removed at the same time. I can still remember the fun of having ice cream together the next day. I do not recall having any pain and with my father present it left me with very pleasant memories of hospitalization. It was an idyllic experience.
This time in the hospital was quite a departure from that one. Being in intense pain while tethered to a bed with an IV in one arm, drainage tubes from my neck and pulsating leg pumps wrapped around both lower legs fighting off blood clots is not an idyllic experience. And then there is the sleep deprivation brought on by incessant blood pressure checks and blood draws. Necessary yes, idyllic no.
But the one stabilizing commonality with my childhood hospitalization experience was Father’s presence, my heavenly Father, not my earthly father. The Bible promises that the Spirit of God would be with us even if we end up in a bed in hell. (Psalm 139:8) I’m not saying the hospital bed was that bad. But the point is that no matter how dire our circumstances, God promises to be there with us. And I experienced that. It was as real as if my earthly father had been in the room. I felt His nearness and His grace and His peace. It was palpable.
Worship of God invites His presence because He has promised to show up wherever He is worshipped.(Psalm 22:3) One of the songs on my iPod that I chose to listen to repeatedly while lying in that hospital bed was Tommy Walker’s song “Nearer.” It is a very anointed song that literally ushers you into the presence of the Lord. That song was my hospital anthem of salvation.
Be it ever so humble there is no place like home. What a joy to finally get the word from the doctor that you can go there. Freedom! I now know the best part of a hospital stay – it’s the wheelchair ride out of your room, down the hall, onto that elevator, through the lobby and out into the warm summer air to a waiting getaway car chauffered by my darling wife, Susan! Oh the joy, oh the freedom!
On a Friday follow-up visit to the doctor I got the pathology reports on my thyroid and the fourteen lymph nodes they removed from the right side of my neck. Thankfully, only the thyroid and one lymph node, closest to the thyroid had cancer cells. The standard follow-up treatment for papillary thyroid cancer surgery is a radioactive iodine treatment. I am scheduled to have that treatment in five weeks which consists of taking a pill and spending three days at home in isolation.
Please join me in believing God for the complete eradication of any residual cancer cells from my body through that radioactive iodine treatment. Thanks again for your prayers and support. I am feeling it! And remember – God is nearer than you think!