Today is Valentine’s Day, which always brings to mind that small four-letter word, “love.”
The word, love, is used in so many different ways and is the most overused word in the English language. It’s a word that has been given a lot of mileage for being in the dictionary, just like any other word, that don’t have the same effects or outcome as the word love does. Love never wears out, fads away, or leaves us.
This Valentine’s Day, this column was saved specifically for some people who put love into action a few months ago on my behalf.
Being a health care provider, serving others daily, suddenly changed and flip-flopped. As I wrote, previously I was diagnosed with uterine/cervical cancer in the 1-2 aggressive stage, and in need of medical attention. I was now going to be at the receiving end of needing care.
I made a continuous trail of medical visits. I stayed on task, keeping my chin up and a good attitude. Many people contacted me with cards, phone calls, facebook, e-mails, house visits, or saw me on the street or store wanting to chit chat. Some offered their service for anything I wanted done on a continuous basis. Some, whom I have never met before, acknowledged this medical situation.
My first priority was to turn to Fr. Tony Hesse of Holy Trinity Church for anointing of the sick. He respectfully prayed over me, offered the anointing of the sick, shared words of encouragement, and extended a warm hug in dignity and respect.
One positive thing I did experience was people praying for me all over and keeping me in their thoughts.
Nov. 18 was surgery day for me at the University of Minnesota. It was looking me square in the face. I got to meet all staff involved and was hooked up ready to go to surgery.
Minutes before surgery, my doctor stood at the end of my bed in complete silence, with my mom on one side of me and a friend on the other side, I got to hear the words all cancer patients want to be told, “Pam, I do not know how to tell you this. I am happy for you, but I do not know how to tell you this.”
The other two raised their voices and said, “Just say it! What are you trying to say? Just say it!”
The doctor paused and slowly said, “Pam, you do not have cancer.”
My head dropped as I was in total shock.
A pathologist and a highly-recommended cancer care specialist explained I had a rare diagnosis and there was no cancer in the fibroid tumor.
I signed papers allowing the university to learn more about the diagnosis and my blood type. I am the second person having this diagnosis at the U. of M.
Family members and friends came to visit me at the U of M and found themselves amazed by the change in medical news. I was, and still am, amazed by the wonderful news.
One nurse told me, “This is a perfect example of God’s grace given to a person for others to be a witness to.”
Upon coming home, I felt restrained to my freedom. I couldn’t do anything for myself. I used a walker to take those first small steps, a huge achievement for me at first.
Some found the time to travel with me to many of my doctor visits, called me, visited, brought gifts, made food, vacuumed, cleaned, went Christmas shopping for me, wrapped the heavy gifts for me and brought communion to my home, making my soul feel better.
Due to the slow healing process, the doctors kept me in their care and watched me closely ‘till the very end. The hospital and insurance companies called just to listen to anything I had to express about my feelings.
As I write this article, it describes different feelings, different things, different emotions, and different feelings of affection.
There is not one of us that can say we can live without love. We can exist without love, but we can not live without love.
If we take the time to think about it, Jesus did the same thing for many people some 2000 years ago. He touched, cured, prayed, shared his grace, and loved them unconditionally. He extends that example to others to do the same, for it is Christ-like.
1 Corinthians 13 “There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.”
You all demonstrated a Christ-like example, while taking care of me. Continue sharing that love.