(UPDATED June 7, 2017: See update at bottom.)
I woke up to this text from Connie:
Connie, my workout partner and friend, also known as Miss Adventure, Miss MisAdventure, and my personal hero, is experiencing yet another “adventure” this morning. As I type, she is at the hospital undergoing surgery, this time to remove a lobe of her lung, which encases a nodule.
(Connie beat breast cancer in a month, but the CT scans that showed her body clear of cancer also showed this strange nodule in her lung. So then she went through the ordeal of a biopsy, which had a positive result, but she ended that ordeal knowing she had a foreign body in her lung. Her doctor wanted her scanned again in three months. This scan indicated the nodule had grown a few millimeters, enough to warrant removing a lobe of her lung to get it out.)
“I asked the doctor how much it weighed so I could count how much weight I would lose,” she quipped just yesterday in the locker room, because, of course, she continued to work hard at the gym.
“It’s filled with air,” I responded, ever the encourager, “so you’ll likely gain weight because you’ll have less air holding you off the ground.”
“I told the doctor it was a good thing I was so full of hot air,” Connie had told me earlier. “I have so much hot air I won’t miss the lobe they’re removing.”
My dear friend is undergoing surgery in a “beautiful green print gown” that is “a bit drafty” — which I know because she snuck her phone in with her. That was her final text before “going off air,” as she termed it.
As I drove to the health club this morning, I heard my cell phone chirping in my trunk, where I keep it for safekeeping while at the club. Every couple of seconds I heard texts arriving on my phone — from Connie and whomever she placed in the group message.
Please pray for Connie. I know she’s in good hands; I know she’s in God’s hands.
I exited my car in the health club parking lot this morning and saw “the guys,” as we call them: Ken, Kevin, Prince, and, today, Calvin.
“Is it prayer meeting time or what?” I called to them.
I scooted across the lot to them, and we all grabbed hands as Prince led us in a resounding prayer for Connie. No tears, no fear, just a firm knowing that Connie is getting rid of that nodule once and for all, surrounded by prayers and thoughts of so many who love her.
Please add your prayers to the mix. I’ll update this when I know more.
June 1, 2017
Connie survived her first 22 hours, anyway. I haven’t heard from her since a barrage of texts about 4 this morning.
When she awakened after surgery, Connie felt she had an elephant on her chest, but pain meds keep that feeling at bay. Connie sent me texts this morning saying she’d slept little because of alerts sounding and nurses caring and other nuisances you should expect in a hospital. She is hungry, which is a good sign, and she walked a little and is able to get up to use the bathroom (after the 10 minutes it takes to remove all her hookups so she can do so). The pain is pretty rough, so Connie is using the “magic button” quite often. She doesn’t want flowers (because they’ll make her sneeze), and she isn’t ready for a parade of visitors. She’s feisty (and wonderful) as always and says she is causing trouble, and I take that as a good sign.
The nodule doesn’t appear to be cancer, her surgeon said, but the lab will biopsy it so she will know for sure. Thanks for your continued prayers on Connie’s behalf.
So to give you a more detailed of how much people love Connie, let me describe my day so far (and it’s not even 8 a.m., still June 1). After conversing via texts with Connie this morning, I went to the health club to swim. The pool was cold and murky, and I couldn’t bear the thought of just getting in for a swim. So I ran the length of the pool (in the water) and back — and midway down the lane, I heard “Sara! Sara!” until I finally noticed Coach, a friend, tucked behind the pillars shielding the warm pool from the lap pool.
“How’s Connie?” he asked.
I called the details over to him, then continued my run back to my starting point and grabbed my kickboard, intent to kick for a good 500 yards. I made it to the end of the pool when Phoebe arrived, wanting to share my lane. I gave her the Connie update, which turned into a five minute conversation about all Connie has endured this past half year.
As I returned to the wall, 150 yards completed, Kaylen appeared in the pool area, and as the pool was crazily crowded, she and I squeezed into one half of the lane and kicked for a good half hour or so, chatting, updating about Connie, and, eventually, praying for one another.
“… but, Father, first we pray for our sister Connie,” Kaylen began. And so we did.
In the locker room, Penny and Margaret and Rosie and Theresa and Susan… and everyone who saw me asked for the Connie update.
Connie, my friend, you are much loved and covered in good thoughts and our prayers.
June 2, 2017, 7:58 a.m.
I snuck in to see Connie at the hospital yesterday; she is my locker room sister, after all, so, truly, family. She is doing great! By the time I arrived about 3:30ish (I took some vacation time from work to go see her), the tubes in her neck had been removed. She was sitting in a chair, rosy cheeked, and had she not been wearing a hospital gown and tied to machines via tubes and such, I would not have thought her ill or injured. She has maintained good spirits throughout.
This is a picture of Connie via words:
Connie is practical: She drove herself to the hospital for surgery Wednesday morning — because why bother someone else at 5:15 a.m. when she was perfectly capable of driving? She had no one with her, no one waiting as she underwent surgery — though she certainly had offers from family and her numerous friends.
Connie is positive: As I sat with her yesterday, the anesthesiologist passed by her room, smiled, and then came inside.
“Connie is the most positive person I know,” he said to me. “I’m fairly certain if the room was burning all around her, she would simply say, ‘We’re going to be fine.’”
After he left, Connie said:
“I guess some people are nervous about anesthesia. Been there, done that. No problem.”
Connie is more fit than her nurse: In the hospital room, a white board records when Connie walks and how far:
She walked 400 meters the day of surgery; after that, her distance is recorded in laps with ever-increasing distances and associated exclamations of praise.
“I just kept going around, and each time I passed the nurses’ station I’d say, ‘It’s me again.’”
The nurse had to walk with her, not to support Connie’s body in anyway, but to accompany all the paraphernalia connected to her tubes and wires.
“The nurse looked at me as we continued walking and said, ‘Aren’t you breathing hard yet?’ and I said, ‘No, are you?’”
Yup. Connie going to be just fine.
June 7, 2017
Clearly, I didn’t worry that you would worry about Connie, since I haven’t bothered to update the blog post in multiple days. She is home from the hospital, being nana/sat by her 8-year-old granddaughter, walks, takes Tylenol for pain, and is bored. While Connie indicates that our “good vibes” worked, I attribute her success to her wonderful attitude, her commitment to physical fitness, and to our powerful God who clearly loves my friend.
Thank you for your prayers! Now I feel free to write about topics other than Connie and her adventures, so check in soon.