Monday, June 21, 2010

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Psalm 139:14: I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

When our son was born almost twenty-five years ago, we used this Psalm on his birth announcement. I had chosen that verse before I knew that he would be born with a cystic teratoma the size of a man's fist on his neck and would undergo surgery when he was three days old to remove the non-malignant mass. Today, the tumor would have been detected via sonogram; in 1985, sonogram technology wasn't there, yet. It was a scary time for all of us. I think it must have been far worse for my precious husband. There we were with an almost-three-year-old at home, I was in one hospital, the baby in another for the surgery. Yikes; it makes me squirm, even now, to remember that stress. He says that was when his hair began to turn gray.

It still makes me sad to look back at the pictures of that baby boy with that mass on his little neck and tubes down his throat. I have often described that event as a time in our lives when God wanted us to hear him say, "Hey; I'm in charge here. I love you, and you still need me." There have been other times in my life when He has had to slap me up beside the head to get my attention. He'll do it, too! Not because He is a mean or angry Father, but because He loves me. I would worry if he was ignoring me.

Melanoma gets my attention. It's a nasty little cancer. During my first visit with Dr. Sharma, he was explaining how the lymph system in the body operates, and said, "The body is a magnificent creation." Yes, it is; and, we must still rely on the Creator to fix it when the smartest of humans cannot.

There's been a lot of interest in the process since detection: Here is the back of my leg after the dermatologist removed the mole by slicing. (I'm allergic to adhesive, and they put a band-aid on it; that explains the red rash-like dots.)

Based on the initial pathology evaluation, I knew that the removal site would be large and have a graft. My dermatologist niece warned me, repeatedly, that it would be large! Amazingly, Dr. Saint-Cyr, my plastic surgeon, was able to create a flap from skin below the excision, and rotate it up to cover the gaping hole. That meant that the graft didn't have to come from my abdomen--a welcomed result. So, the end result of five hours of surgery:

Amazing, isn't it? My stitches will come out on Friday, so my mobility will continue to improve. I am still sleeping with pillows behind my leg so that the flap doesn't rest on anything. After the stitches are removed, I will begin wearing an ace bandage around the flap so that the skin will begin to lay flat. When someone talks about the appearance of the scar and what it will look like later, I just have to tell you ... I don't really care! I am beyond vanity with this little battle scar. I am more concerned with what's going on inside my body.

And, once again, God, I get it.

1 Samuel 16:7 ... for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.


  1. You have such a positive outlook! I'm sure it is a daily struggle, but you obviously make the choice every day to live life to the fullest. I'm praying for your health.

  2. I think that those photos should be posted in every tanning salon, don't you? I think it is brave of you to post them. Hope you are healing well each and every day.

  3. I had melanoma in a weird place under my arm last fall. They cut a big slice out to get clear cells (thankfully they got the clearance they were looking for) and nothing had spread.

    Is it because of the lymph node collection your scar runs vertically like that? Also, how large was your melanoma prior to its removal?

    You're a very brave woman, and I am sending you my very best thoughts! :)