August 4, 2014
For me, it was just another day on the 8th floor MD Anderson diagnostic lab waiting for my blood draw. This time it was to check out what could be going on with this rash that keeps reappearing.
But sitting across from mother and me was a gentleman, a good ten plus years older than I, his wife, and daughter. He was holding “the packet.” I KNOW “the packet.” And I know that look. The “deer in the headlights” look! It was his first day.
I quietly listened as they talked amongst themselves, asking unanswerable questions. I saw the fidgeting, the long stares at others around them. I knew everything they were thinking. We, too, had a day one.
The nurse called my name and I took my turn getting vials filled to be tested for one thing and another. When I walked back to join mother, I stepped across the aisle and smiled at the gray-haired man. “Is this your first day?” I asked. With a lost look of appreciation, he smiled and said yes. I asked what he had, and his wife (the newly appointed caregiver) said that they have had a difficult time diagnosing him but had finally decided on…and then rattled off one of the long, rare acute leukemia’s. :( I gave my biggest smile and said, “Oh, you've got one of the long named ones!!” :)
They asked me a few questions about my disease and treatment, and I simply tried to encourage them with the experience that I have had. To take one day at a time. That he’s in the best possible place. To hang on to God and family. Drink! Rest! Walk! And do whatever the doctors ask you to do…and then some.
Mother was so funny. She ran a bit ahead and started asking about things that he had no clue about yet! It was only his first day!! One step at a time.
Paul and I feel very strongly that anytime we’re at MDA and see a “newbie,” we should be open to God’s leading to talk to them. We remember how we felt. Lost. Afraid. While the team there is so incredible, it would have been great to talk to someone who had actually walked the walk!
God has given me several of these opportunities over the past months, and the folks have always embraced the conversation (and me) and seemed genuinely appreciative. I guess God made me a talker for a reason!
After a few more questions, we exchanged names. His name is Edward. I told him that I would not have any trouble remembering his name since my daddy’s name was Edwin and my husband’s middle name is Edward. :)
So I have added another name to my prayer list. I don’t know if I will ever see Edward again. But God placed me there at that moment for a reason. I believe He wants me to Pay It Forward. For all He has done for me and for all who have blessed, served, and prayed for me during this journey of ours, I will continue to "do unto others."
For you, Edward, know that you are being prayed for. Take one day, one step, one prayer at a time. Hang on to God and family. Stay positive. You are in the right place. And perhaps this past Monday, God had us in the same place for a reason.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4:11