From December 16, 2019
Dear Friends --
At long last, we are nearing Game Day eve. Tomorrow I will spend the day prepping for surgery, which means fasting, interrupted occasionally with a cocktail of jello, gatorade, apple juice and water. It's all good.
And then Wednesday morning I'll leave very early for the fancy new Stanford Hospital, opened now only a couple of weeks. I strolled through the lobby last week and decided it looks like a mini version of the atrium entrance of the Louvre. All light and possibilities.
Dr. V and Dr. K are the big stars of this part of the story, and they will take turns over eight hours to remove the tumors in my colon and liver, plus my spleen for extra credit. I have every confidence they will bring their A games, and I will be surrounded by extraordinary care.
By late that afternoon, I'll move to several days of recovery in the hospital, which I understand will include a few rather brutal days while my gut moves from from a state of shock and awe to let's start working again. I'm told from fellow mountain trekkers to be prepared -- this part of the climb is especially painful and exhausting. Courage, perseverance, and pure grit will be in order.
In the hardest moments, I hope I'll remember exactly how I felt this past Saturday night when I took Connor and Lucy to hear Handel's Messiah at the SF Symphony. One of the mysteries of the mountain is how the familiar can find you in new and revelatory ways, and so as we settled in the balcony I heard the opening refrain from Isaiah 40:
"Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill made low,
The crooked straight and the rough places plain."
And while I've heard those lines a thousand times, it all became new. The prophecy came alive as a timely promise, even though none of us know exactly how it will all be fulfilled. For me, cancer is crooked and rough, and will ultimately be made straight and plain. When and how? I have no idea.
But what I do know is that nothing is wasted in God's economy. Every step up this mighty mountain -- which one day will be made low -- has mattered. Learning to wait, to receive, to endure, to listen, to celebrate, to marvel, to cry out for help, and to see miracles throughout is exactly how the valleys of our lives become exalted.
As the final Amen chorus came to its mighty crescendo I saw a look of wonder in Connor's and Lucy's eyes, perhaps the most joyful moment I've seen yet from the trek -- everlasting light moving through even these darkest and most hopeful of advent days.
It's time now to lace up my boots and climb even higher. I'll be grateful for your prayers; each makes every step more sacred than the last.
It's time. Upward.
ps -- my fabulous sister Mindy will likely post a Game Day update Wednesday evening with the latest!