When it Matters

Some things have become all too familiar: the apprehension of having an easy handed nurse place my IV in my good arm (left), park in the Green garage but don’t worry because the hospital will give you a voucher, wear comfortable, warm clothes, put on the laundered blue gown with the opening to the back, verify with the nurse all of my surgeries and medications, sign procedure release form, tell my mom I’m going to be okay, go to sleep, and wake up.

The only evidence of the biopsy on my body was a small poke in my chest and a healing needle would on the arm. Through the haze of the fading anesthesia, I kept reaching for Daddy’s arm to my right. My mom watched me through teary eyes at a scene all too familiar. It’s been almost exactly a year since I was admitted for cancer, and I’m sure the scenes of washing blood out of my post-surgical hair upstairs on the fourth floor bulleted through her mind.

"엄마 걱정하지 마. 나 안죽어," I said. 
Don't worry Mom. I won't die.

I watched my mom have to step out of the room, and I clutched Daddy’s arm again before I fell back asleep – waiting to be unplugged.


The phone number is saved, but after March 27th I moved it out of my favorites. I know I called before the result of the biopsy was supposed to be released, but I needed to know. I needed to know if what was growing in my chest was trying to kill me – if my life was on the line again.

When “MAGOPSA” blinked on my screen, I quickly snatched my phone up and swiped to answer. I knew her voice – the reassuring tones in Darlene’s voice could make the worst news sound like I can survive it all.

“It’s benign!” She said quickly.

That’s all I needed to hear. Anything after that didn’t matter – what the tumor was didn’t matter – and that fact that I didn’t need another surgery didn’t matter.

I will live.

I will see my son grow up.

I will grow gray with my husband.

I will be an aged, feisty English teacher.

The tumor was caused by chemotherapy but will go away on its own. I do not need another surgery or another scar.

It’s easy to believe in God and that He still heals with a clear CT scan. It’s harder to hold on white knuckled and rest in His peace when a scan shows a mass in your chest – but that’s when it matters. That’s when it matters what you’ve been feeding your spirit – discouragement or life giving scriptures. I’ve been that person who when disaster hits thumbs through the Bible hoping to find something relevant to heal my situation – to make me feel safe, but this time I was already equipped.

God’s character didn’t change from a clean scan to a chest tumor. He’s always been the same – from cancer diagnosis to healing.

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