The miracle I promised to share

The miracle I promised to share:

When I went to the hospital on 1/14/23 with abdominal pain, suspecting diverticulitis (because of an urgent care visit back in November where I was told that’s probably what I was dealing with), the doctor ordered a CT scan and found an abscess, perforation, and possible malignancy in my colon, as well as a suspicious spot on my liver.

I was also told that since diverticulitis and cancer can behave the same way, they wouldn’t know for sure what it was until they could do surgery six days later on 1/20/23. In the meantime, I was admitted, put on IV treatment to help get me strong enough and ready for surgery, and sent down for an MRI to check the liver.

Gratefully the liver showed no sign of cancer, so we’d just wait for surgery to rule out cancer of the colon. They couldn’t do a colonoscopy because of the perforation.

Also gratefully, Trevan and I felt at peace and worked to keep that state to stay in optimism for the best possible outcome. (I already talked about that in my post on 1/21).

With a week to wait until we’d know if it was cancer or not, we were careful about who we told. We only shared it with a few people who we could trust to only be optimistic with us between there and surgery. We also decided that the kids didn’t need to know it might be cancer until we found out for sure one way or the other.

But on the day before surgery, we had a wonderful visit from our Bishop who said, in essence, “I understand why you would want to protect your children from unnecessary worry, but I would encourage you to consider perhaps giving them the opportunity to get on their knees tonight and exercise their faith with you.”

The more I thought about it, the more it felt right to do just that. I won’t make them worry for a week, but I’ll give them an evening to understand the potential gravity of the situation, and the opportunity to petition the Lord with their own faith.

So we decided to have a pre-op family conversation and prayer that evening (the night before surgery) at 6pm. Three of our children were in town and could meet us at the hospital. Three of our children were out of state and planned to join us via Zoom. One of our sons (Nicholas) was serving his mission in Barbados and, it not being a p-day (preparation day), I knew I’d need to contact his mission office and request special permission for him to join us that night.

The challenge was that we only had about 3.5 hours before 6pm and I wasn’t sure I would be able to get a response from the mission office that quickly. I didn’t have a phone number, I only had an email address (and I didn’t realize until much later that I could expedite a request to his mission office through our local Stake President). There was a time difference involved as well, so I wasn’t sure if or when they would even check their email.

Regardless, I sent the email explaining the situation and kept checking my inbox for a reply throughout the day. As 6:00 pm approached and our local kids were in the room with us, it seemed apparent that the office wasn’t going to see the message in time to grant the request, track our missionary son down, and help him get connected for our family meeting in time. So I let it go, thinking we’ll just have to update him individually later.

At 6pm, our girls were with us and our out of state boys started popping up on Zoom. As we were waiting for everyone’s videos and audios to load up, my phone buzzed, and I saw that it was Elder Householder Face Timing me. “Hey! It’s Elder Householder!” I answered, and held up his face for the room and everyone on Zoom to see. “You made it! Look – everyone’s here, in the room and on Zoom!”

He was like, “Heeeey everyone!” and I just felt relief that we’d only have to have this conversation once, with everyone present.

“We weren’t sure if you were allowed to do Zoom – but it’s okay I’ll just hold you up so everyone can see you.” He replied, “Oh, I can do Zoom – that’s okay…” so I think his brother sent him the link and before long everyone was either on Zoom or in the room, and we were ready.

We explained the situation, caught them up on all that had happened that week that I was in the hospital, and asked for their faith and prayers that night. It was a bitter-sweet and sobering experience, but it felt so good to have everyone there for it.

We prayed together before signing off, and as everyone started to bounce, I said, “Elder! Before you go – I’m just curious… when the mission office contacted you about this meeting, how much did they share? What did they tell you to get you to call?”

He said, “Oh, the mission office never contacted me… I was just calling to wish you a Happy Birthday…” 🤯🥺

(It used to be that missionaries from my church serving around the world could only call home on Christmas and Mother’s Day. In recent years, the policy changed to allow them to call home once a week, and on some special occasions. Yes, it was my birthday, and I like to think that maybe the Lord orchestrated things just so, putting me in the hospital and scheduling my surgery for the day after my birthday, so that even when my attempt to reach the mission office on time failed, there was already another way in place to ensure that our whole family could be all together for that special moment.

He could have called me any time that day. I am just so amazed and grateful that he showed up right on time for our special evening together. I count it as a tender mercy from God to help me go into surgery with an added measure of confidence that He was aware of me and my family, and that He would help me through all this.

After everyone signed off and left, I began to feel uncomfortable again, and realized that, with all the flowers that came in and a few special visitors who had stopped by, I had not been feeling any symptoms all day. It was the first time I had felt normal in weeks, and counted it as just another little tender mercy – God gave me a pretty special birthday that I will never forget. ❤️

Leslie Householder
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