by Robert Earl Houston
Today Jessica and I spent her birthday at my surgeon’s office. I met with my surgeon in our get acquainted appointment and pre-op before surgery.
My physician has been doing this type of surgical procedures for about 20 years. Chicago born, educated in several medical institutions across the nation, and not only that, I discovered she’s a woman of faith. Praise God.
She explained to us that skin melanoma (the infirmity I’m dealing with) has two different directions. It can go either horizontally (topically, on top of the skin) or it can go vertically (into the bones or lymph nodes). She also explained that she observed a small speck of remaining cells from the biopsy and her opinion is to operate and remove a good amount of skin from the area and transplant skin from my hip to replace the skin that’s removed, via a skin graph.
I appreciated her patience with Jessica and I as we asked a multiplicity of questions. I’m not one that’s known for going into anything with blinders on, so I had a lot of questions in mind – especially about complications, recovery, post-surgical care, etc. She fielded every one of my questions and when necessary broke it down from the medical dictionary to common terms.
No surgical procedure is without risks. This surgery has it’s share: First, there is a risk that the skin graph will fail; Secondly, there is a risk that infection could set in; Third, there is a risk that I could develop potentially dangerous blood clots; Fourth, there is a risk that not enough tissue will be removed after pathology and additional surgery would be required. However, I had to continually remind myself of something that Dr. Bernard Sutton reminded of it – don’t claim the illness; don’t call it by it’s clinical name – call it by its biblical name, an infirmity. And remember that Jesus heals infirmities!
After about two hours, we left the doctor’s offices more encouraged than ever before. She said the big positive in my prognosis is the early detection of the infirmity (melanoma), which means an advantage. I’m so grateful for those in the medical profession – and grateful for my unseen doctor, who will be in the operating room with me.
So the surgery is set for Friday, May 31, 2013. I’ll be in recuperation for several weeks. I’m grateful for the leadership of First Baptist Church who have been prayerful and have given loving counsel. Their concern for me, my health, and my wife – makes me grateful for the Lord’s assignment to this church and community.
I’ve heard from civic leaders, church leaders, fellow pastors and ministers, and friends across the nation who are concerned. I’ll be okay – by the grace of God.
The next step is a major step. However, the good news is that I will not make that step alone. I’ll be going into the operating room with my help in a time of trouble. I ask you for your prayers between now and May 31, 2013, which is the next step.
Your comments are welcome.