Well, I know so many of you have been waiting for me to update you on the port process, so I will.

On Wednesday, Lisa and I went to Little Rock to the Surgery Pavilion in the Hickingbotham Building at the Baptist Hospital. Please let me insert a little side note here about Mr. Hickingbotham. Frank Hickingbotham attended Ouachita for 3 semesters and was not able to, because of finances, finish his degree at Ouachita. While he went on to finish his degree at another Arkansas institution, he has always had a soft spot for Ouachita. Our School of Business has been a benefactor of his generosity for several years, but last year as we dedicated Hickigbotham Hall on our campus, I was reminded again of his generosity and then as I listened to his closest friends share about him that October morning, I was even more impressed by the way they described the way he lives out generosity. So, as I tour students on campus and walk across those sidewalks everyday at work, I am reminded about the responsibility that those who are successful have, but to see “vision, integrity, and service” lived out, it is truly overwhelming.

Then, on Monday as I walked into that building, I saw that name on the outside, of course I recognized it, but then as I entered the lobby and saw that ever familiar portrait hanging on the wall, I was somehow comforted. Again, another Ouachita connection in the process. “Cast your burdens upon the Lord” are the words above the corridor as you walk to elevators and it was a promised I claimed both Monday and Wednesday morning as I began a new part of this journey. So, thanks Mr. H for your generosity and for living that out for people like me that you may or may not ever meet. Seeing you at the next board meeting will mean so much more.

Thanks for letting me digress. One of the things I’m learning through all this is a new prospective of generosity and caring for others. Being creative in the way you give and do for others has become a new life priority…even more than it was before.

On Wednesday, I got to fill out more paperwork. I’m beginning to wonder how it is 2008 and I can buy a service to pre-fill out an application for a student, but the doctors office who called you the day before to confirm your appointment and listed off all your “personal statistics” (address, social, phone # that they called you on, referring doctor info, etc) makes you refill out all that information. Like I actually moved on Tuesday night and changed my phone # and filed for a new social. Sorry, it is just something they should think about. But, I have all my info memorized, so its cool. After that, we sat and laughed. You know I love to people watch and there were some to see. The sweetest older couple was sacked out on one of the couches in the lobby with their inside arms intertwined. It was so cute. I really wanted to take a picture, but refrained. They finally called me back and gave me a VIP suite…now you know better than that, I’m sure they tell everyone that, but it was station #1 and it was at the front, so I could see everything that was going on…you know I loved that. They hooked me up with an IV and all the juices they needed to give me to get ready for surgery. Of course, they come in and ask all kinds of questions. This was my first surgery and they wanted to give me some “I don’t care what you do” juice, but you know I care and only wanted what I had to have. Again, like the biopsy I wanted to know as much about what was going on as I could. One of the first things you do to get ready is get in that lovely hospital gown (open in the back!). They give you a little white bag and you have to put all your clothes in it. If you know me, you will appreciate the fact that I folded all my clothes when I put them in there. Then, they put in on the bottom of your bed like it is your last regards and it just floats around with you.

So, they let Lisa come back there and we sat and laughed and took pics. I really think they were worried about us because we were having so much fun. But, lets be real. If Lisa and I are together, thats what we are going to have and why not make it fun. It has to, afterall!

It was a busy day in the Surgery Pavilion and the OR was running and hour and a half behind, but there was a gap and they worked me in. Thank you Lord, these people already understand me. The lady that came and got me was names Irene, she was my kind of gal. She came in and said “I’m Ms. Irene and I’m the mama around here”. We were instant friends. She wheeled me back into the Operating room…No it doesn’t look like it does on Grey’s or ER…I’ve been cheated all these years. Hollywood! I moved over onto the operating table and they got me ready. Dr. Sessions was my anesthesiologist and he came in. As soon as they knew Dr. Tucker was in the building, they gave me the medicine to make me “sleepy” and I took three breaths from the oxygen mask and was gone. The next thing I knew, I opened my eyes in the recovery area. Mrs. Shirley was there. She was great. They gave me a medicine that made me parched and I was ready for some water. They only let me sip a little because they had to do a x-ray. While I was waiting for the x-ray results I started to get sick. I called her name and she came quick. I’m not usually one to get nauseated, but it was coming. You see they had this really neat thing to keep you warm. Again, I’ve not had surgery before, but they had this thing they laid over you and then laid the sheet over that. If you got cold, they attached it to a heater. The heater ran warm air over you body. I’m sure since heating blankets can be dangerous, they do this to keep you warm and be safe. I’m not usually one to get cold, but it was cold in the surgery room. So, they put it on me while we were in there. Well, that was the first thing we cut off when I got sick and started pulling the covers back. She got me a wet cloth and wiped it on my face and let me get a small sip of water. Finally they brought the x-ray results back and they were ok. So, finally I could have something to drink. Then, they took me back to my VIP suite and let Lisa come back. When it came time for a refill, they let me have a soda.

I remember hearing my mom say that after she had me, they offered her a Dr Pepper and she said that was the best soda she had ever had. I absolutely know what she meant!! That was so yummy. They also gave me some crackers. I was so hungry. The recovery process took way longer than we thought, so it was about 2:30 and I had not eaten since dinner the night before. They gave me crackers. Crackers and Dr. Pepper are foods I could live on forever…or at least at that moment you would have thought I was eating a steak dinner at the nicest restaurant. My sweet little RN came in and walked me through all the things I needed to know when I got home. I will never forget her telling me that my first meal needed to be liquids. I looked at her and smiled, knowing in my head that Lisa and I had already planned to stop and get Hawaiian chicken sandwiches at Backyard Burger on the way home. I knew it would be breaking the rules, but this girl gotta eat and I had a plan.

She took my IV out and let me get dressed in my bag of “last regards” and we were gone. Of course, you have to go to the bathroom one more time before you leave! I guess that is a good thing. They wheeled me out. I thought about telling her I was going to walk, but then I thought. Hey, I paid a lot for this, at least I can get a free ride to the curb! So, Lisa came around and got me and we were off. They said I needed to be observed for 24 hours, so I went to her house and sacked out on the couch. Those Berry’s are amazing. It is not everyday or at any body’s house that you feel like you could just take their remote and lay on their couch while they are gone to church, or stink up their bathroom if that is what you need to do, or walk into their kitchen and open the fridge and know that anything you see, you can have. I knew that Lisa would be a special friend, from the moment I walked into the Admissions office for my interview, but her family is as close as it gets without swapping blood!

I spent the night at the Berry’s and got up. I was really sore. They put the port in the left side, b/c I am right handed, but it was hard to even lean up out of the bed. I was glad Austin was there on Wed night to get me up off the couch to eat dinner. That could be bad! Thank goodness through all this I haven’t lost my appetite. I’m sure it could come. So, I worked half a day yesterday. And then this morning I went in for Tiger Friday and came home and took a nap and then went back for the Legacy Dinner. So. It has been another good week. I know that word is relative, but it could be so much worse. I have been very fortunate in the timeliness of my diagnosis and treatments. Some are not so fortunate, but God is in control.

Tonight at the dinner, one of our counselors did an amazing job singing one of my favorite songs. It walks through three very specific stories in the Bible; David and Goliath, Abraham and Issac and The Crucifixion. While I reminded the parents tonight at the legacy dinner, that this was a reminder to them that the God who was in control and present at each of these situations is still the God who is in control of their student and loves their kids more than they do and has bigger plans and purposes in mind for them; I feel the same way about all of this for me too. He was there and helped a small teenage boy kill a big ,tall, mean warrior. He provided a way out for a dad who had to learn a hard lesson of obedience and He was there when His Son stood on the cross for us. He is the Power, the Calm, the Victor and the King and for those reasons, we continue to praise Him for his faithfulness and provision:
You Were There

I wonder how it must have felt
When David stood to face Goliath on a hill
I imagine that he shook with all his might
Until You took his hand, and held on tight

‘Cause You were there, You were there
In the midst of danger’s snare
You were there, You were there always
You were there when the hardest fight
Seemed so out of reach
Oh, You were there, You were always there
You were always there

So there he stood upon that hill
Abraham with knife in hand was poised to kill
But God in all his sovereignty had bigger plans
And just in time, You brought a lamb

‘Cause You were there,You were there
In the midst of the unclear
You were there, you were there always
You were there when obedience
Seemed to not make sense
You were there, You were always there
You were always there

So haven’t I learned that my ways
Aren’t as high as Yours are
And You alone keep the universe
From crumbling into dust
You are God and though we would
Not have understood You

There You were
Hanging blameless on a cross
You would rather die than leave us in the dark
Every moment, every planned coincidence
Just all makes sense
With Your last breath

You were there, You were there
During history’s darkest hour
You were there, You were there always
You were the Victor and the King
You were the power in David’s swing
You were the calm in Abraham
You are the God who understands
You are the strength when we have none
You are the living, Holy one
You were, You are and You will always be
the Risen Lamb of God

You were, You are and You will always be
The Risen Lamb of God