January 14, 2009

Why I'm Happy I Had Appendicitis

So this is why I'm so happy I had appendicitis:

Appendicitis is a very excruciating predicament. Fortunately, I knew something was wrong early enough to get to the hospital and be diagnosed before the severe pain came along...by the time I was immobilized with pain, I was only minutes away from the operating table.

So I had appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix) and they removed it in surgery. For the next few days, I had to deal with very uncomfortable pain from various aspects of the recovery process and I could barely walk or roll over in bed. Tedd and I were also facing a "painful" hospital bill, and to top it off, the whole event butted into our travel plans.

To call this a major suffering or "trial" is quite a stretch in light of what people suffer through, such as loss of family members, tragic illnesses, imprisonment for their faith, abuse, depression, and so on...so I really don't want to make this sound like I went through anything awful, BUT, it was still a very sucky event that I would have preferred never to have happened.

Regardless of the mess, Tedd and I still had a lot of things to be thankful for:
1. I was near my family
2. It didn't happen in a foreign 3rd-world country
3. We have some insurance to help out
4. 100 years ago people just died from appendicitis, but now it's only a matter of a simple operation.
5. It was a little wake-up call to both of us, very humbling, realizing how vulnerable we are as humans, that we can't control our state or the health of our spouse, and that anything can happen at any moment and we have to be spiritually ready.

So these are some things we were thankful for, but I still wasn't exactly thankful for the appendicitis itself. Sure maybe I learned a thing or two, but I was still better off without it, right? Well...

Yesterday was a follow-up visit with the surgeon. You know, "yeah, you're healing just fine, keep drinking lots of fluids, and don't lift weights..." that's what I expected.

However, the doc. walks in and says, "you had a tumor." 

"A tumor????" I ask, thinking I didn't hear right.  "Yeah, you were lucky," he replies.

I had a 7mm carcinoid tumor in my appendix and if it had continued to grow in there undetected, there was a chance it could have spread (cancer) and caused damage. BUT, because of the placement of the tumor, my appendix became inflamed (appendicitis) and therefore when they removed the appendix, they discovered that they had removed the tumor as well.

So...thanks to my appendicitis, the tumor was discovered and removed. Done.

To make it even sweeter, the tumor was 3 millimeters shy of being placed in a category that would have caused me to undergo another surgery to have part of my colon surgically removed!

It's a small story to perhaps encourage you in a small way. The Lord saw the big picture and knew exactly what to do to work out my ugly situation for my good. I've learned a little more about what it means to praise God even when we're suffering, even FOR our suffering. I'm grateful that in this circumstance, the reason for my "suffering" is obvious, but I hope that in the future I'll be able to embrace my hardships because I know they are first being sifted through the hands of my Creator and Father...

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