Five years ago today, I was wheeled into the operating room at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. The pulmonologist who diagnosed me with Stage 1 lung cancer said it was a mercy they caught it so early—doubly so since I never had any symptoms.
Like happened to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose Stage 1 lung cancer was discovered during X-rays for a fractured rib, my cancer was “accidentally” discovered when doctors were checking for something else.
Every day I am profoundly mindful of God’s mercy to me.
Next Thursday, April 18, the little girl who turned Frank and me into grandparents will be wheeled into the operating room at Seattle Children’s Hospital. I must admit I dread that moment. But Arden is under God’s mercy too. A severe problem that remained hidden inside her little body for her first four years (still could be hidden) was mercifully caught in time for surgeons to do something to correct it.
Reconstructive surgery will take place at Seattle Children’s Hospital, one of the world’s most advanced children’s hospitals. Her surgeon, Dr. Todd Blumberg, was trained at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (CHOP), by Wudbhav N. Sankar, MD, CHOP’s specialist in orthopedic surgery for hip dysplasia.
The road ahead won’t be easy for our little one. Anyone who has ever loved a child will know this is exactly the kind of journey you’d do anything to prevent. Thankfully Arden’s journey is already bathed in mercy. We keep reminding ourselves of that. Only think of children with hip dysplasia who don’t have access this kind of help.
When we were first blindsided by Arden’s diagnosis and her medical crisis lurched into full gear, a close friend sent us this timely reminder—by Anglican Bishop Steven Charleston of the Choctaw Nation from his book, Hope as Old as Fire:
In heaven on high, a hand unseen turns a page, and your life changes. How much of life is spent changing? Waiting for a change, surprised by change, riding change like white water through an uncertain canyon. . . . In all things know change for what it is: your teacher. Do not be afraid for the Changeless One never turns a page without a purpose.
Friends and family who are praying us through this ordeal are part of the mercy. As one friend said, “You have a whole army of people praying for Arden.” Mercy is also showing up in those who are contributing to Arden’s GoFundMe which is almost at the half-way mark.