On October 12, 2020 I had a three level ACDF (Anterior, Cervical Discectomy and Fusion).
The pandemic was at the point where surgeries were being allowed, but hospitals still had strict rules about who (if anyone) was allowed to enter the facility. At the facility where my surgery took place, no one was allowed to come in with me for any of the pre-op things. I was told that after my surgery I could have one person who would be my designated person to enter the hospital. I did get the hospital to relent so that I could have two people (but just one at a time). Also, no overnight visitors would be allowed. This experience was clearly not going to be like any hospital experience I had ever been a part of. In our family, we believe that a loved one should never ever be alone in a medical facility. We strongly believe that a patient should have an advocate on hand at all times.
That wasn’t going to be the case for me.
To say that I was anxious would be a monumental understatement. When people would ask me how I was feeling about the surgery, the word I would say back to them is that I was RESOLUTE. To me, that word meant that I would do what I had to do. There was no way through it but through it, and I would get through it.
The morning of the surgery (which took place in Houston, so we were in a hotel near the hospital) I left our room to go walk and pray as I anticipated what would be happening that day. As I was walking, I was asking God to go with me as I entered the hospital alone, as I interfaced with all of the medical personnel alone before my surgery. I lifted up everything about the surgery and the following days and weeks.
As I prayed, the verse in Psalms 139 came to mind, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me…….”
God spoke into my heart, “You know, Cathi. They can’t keep me out of the hospital. I’ll be with you the entire time.”
I pulled out my phone and found the chapter and read the entire passage. It continues: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be…….. When I am awake I am still with you….. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
I continued to walk…and pray…and read. I felt like God was speaking directly to my heart through this passage. He was letting me know that he knit my body together to start with and that he would be right there in the operating room with Dr. Cyr as he took it apart and knit it back together. All the days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be. Even this one.
As I walked and prayed, I knew God was searching my anxious thoughts. They were certainly there on display.
I continued to walk, pray, cry and read. I walked up to a small shop right across the street from the hotel where we were staying. The hotel was in a lovely pedestrian shopping area. It was early in the morning, so it wasn’t open yet but it was a t-shirt shop. My eyes were drawn to a t-shirt inside that said “Fearfully and wonderfully made”. I couldn’t believe it. The very passage God was speaking to me through, He put a t-shirt on display to further underline His message to me. On top of that, as I got closer to the shop, I noticed that the name of the shop was “139 Made”. The entire company name had to do with the passage I was walking around reading over and over.
I lost it.
At this point there were tears and snot running down my face. I felt so seen and so loved and so protected by God. With everything He has to do to keep the world running, He saw fit to see me and make Himself known and comfort me that morning.
I can testify that He did indeed enter that hospital with me that day. He came in, He stayed, He walked with me through that day and every day since.