Ann Voskamp says…
"Grace holds you when everything else falls apart — and whispers that everything is really falling together."
It's always the little things. The Birthday Cards that arrive, unexpectedly in the mail. She is the coolest of friends from Texas, and she loves us big. The boys, with neither of their Grandma's with us any longer, have felt the empty space in a tangible way. They still hovered by the mail box, hoping for a little Birthday acknowledgement. The day after they stopped looking anymore, cards arrived, from Texas. I may have been the giddiest one of all. There is an ache within me, for me to fully know, the boys will celebrate birthdays. That they will be loved, and cherished. That the community that has surrounded us, will keep them at their center.
Last Tuesday I met with the Neurosurgeon, Dr. Adam Jackson. He shook hands with us as he walked into the room, swiftly striding over to the computer on the desk next to me.
No moments of small talk. No getting to know one another, conversationally. He jumped in, with the hardest words, right away.
"Well, you are stuck between, a rock, and a hard place, aren't you?"
I've stopped being able to absorb more sadness. I'm detached in a way, but facing forward, listening to the stark reality of his words.
All I can do is stare blankly, and blink.
I'm sitting rather precariously on my seat, observing. Wondering where he is about to take me. He is going to go on, despite anything I might say. So I sit.
He flips on the screen and my scan springs to life in mere moments.
He begins to tell me, anatomically, where my tumors reside. As he begins pointing out the structures of my brain using terms I have vaguely heard before, I suddenly flash back to Graduate School.
The professor was Dr. Dahlhouse. He was short statured, but had a booming voice. He had moved from Jamaica, and his accent was thick. He was funny and warm. He was passionate about the human body. And despite our limited time together, he wanted us to have an in-depth look at the complexity of the human body and how it all worked. So our Anatomy & Physiology book, was a Med School book, used at UND.
I literally used to sit with a dictionary, trying to decipher the words being used in each sentence of that book. The amount of sheer memorization in that class, made it feel like a full time job, on top of which, we had to decipher some of Dr. Dahlhouse's accent.
Suddenly, Dr. Jackson, wheels back in his chair.
I'm jolted, back instantly, in the exam room. Dr. Jackson is no longer verbally dissecting my brain.
Instead, he is asking me a question.
"What do you want to do with your life?"
"Because if you want to sit in a boat, and fish all day long. I might be able to help you."
"We can make a long incision along your hairline, and peel it all back. Then we'd make the hole and drill through the bone and resect whatever we can of the tumors."
I'm suddenly feeling more Grey's Anatomy, and where is Dr. McDreamy anyway?
But Dr. Jackson goes on.
"But if you want to talk. Or form sentences. Or use words. Or think. Then this is probably not the procedure for you."
"Blink, blink, blink."
"Because you look like you're highly functioning right now."
And since the first rule of medicine is to "do no harm." Then I shouldn't do surgery on you. Its far too risky.
"As is any needle aspiration of the tumor for a biopsy. Too risky."
Do you know how hard it is for me as a brain surgeon, to tell you I can't do surgery on you?"
Do I know…? No, I know nothing.
"I'll tell Dr. Foster I think we should watch and wait. "
"But if you should decide you do want to proceed, than please feel free to contact me again."
"Grace loves us when we are at our darkest worst and wraps us in the best light."
A week later, and I still don't have any answers. And neither do the doctors, so far. I've tried to do some internet research, but I've clicked away each time, because "darkest, and worst" are in bold face everywhere I turn.
So I turn back to Ann Voskamp, who is prose-worthy, as well as praise worthy.
And she says:
"You don’t have to know how to do it all.
You just have to choose to be all here, right where you are.