For the last few weeks, I have thought through how to write about a lady I met whose name is Nancy. While this is a “touchy” story, and I really don’t want to have any theological comments tossed at me. In fact, if I could turn off the comments, I would.
So, regarding my theological friends: just let this go and enjoy the story.
I met “Nancy” around my third to fourth visit to chemo at Northside Forsyth Hospital. The hospital’s infusion area is large but not too large. It has a cozy feel with each of the patients being in a separate room with large windows that look out to the sky.
Fast Paced Care
Nurses scurry around behind you, and you never have to think about what is coming next or at least, I never did. At this point in my journey, I felt like it was a gift for me to be a patient. But whenever chemo is involved, you can always expect the unexpected.
Nancy was a cheerful person, who on this particular day was visiting each patient, spreading joy and hope. I heard her talking with the lady next to me and thought, “I’m next.”
Sure enough, she burst into my little room smiling and told me her name and asked mine. My nurse was getting ready to give my pre-meds to me but stopped long enough for Nancy to ask how she could pray for me.
When people ask things like this and you are sitting in a chemo chair, it is pretty obvious what the need is. But in my case, I was already NED (No Evidence of Disease), so my need was for the chemo to kill any remaining or undetected cancer cells. I mentioned that to her, and then I threw in a silly “wish” that most women have: “Pray that I don’t lose my hair.”
The moment I said those words, I felt selfish. So many people lose their hair by their fourth or fifth treatment and here I was ready to ask God to let me get through 18 treatments and still have hair! What was I thinking?!
Looking for a Miracle
When you pray, you might as well pray big and pray for what is in your heart! God already knows it so why try to hide it.
Nancy seemed to understand and said, “Let me pray for you.” I closed my eyes, and suddenly, I felt her body over mine. I was leaning back in my “chemo” chair, and she prayed. My thoughts immediately turned to Elijah praying over the widow’s son in 1 Kings 17:17-24.
I guess I was halfway in shock because I didn’t remember the prayer as much as I remembered her praying that I would keep my hair. . . basically a miracle. As quickly as she had descended on my room, she was gone.
The nurse who was with me blinked and said, “She just prayed over you!” I agreed and thought, “Well, I had rather have prayer than just “good thoughts.”
Prayer is faith in action.
Good thoughts can include anything. I have good thoughts about my Boykin Spaniel, but prayer climbs down into the trenches. It is motivated by the fact that Someone greater is in charge of this out-of-control world. I’ll take prayer any day!
My Nurses Really Do Know Who We Are
I saw Nancy one other time outside the infusion area and spoke to her. Her husband was in a wheelchair, and she told me he was receiving infusions two times a week. That’s a lot. People know you when you are there every week.
I mentioned that I was praying for her and thanked her for praying for me. That was it! I never saw her again.
As the weeks “marched on,” I continued to think about Nancy. My hair thinned but after my sixth treatment, I began to wonder if I was going to keep it.
Mike who was over the infusion area at the time, popped into my room one Friday and told me, “If you haven’t lost it by now, you probably are not going to lose it.”
I thought about Nancy and ask my nurse if she had seen her recently. My words were met with a blank stare. “Who?”
This nurse out of all the nurses in the infusion center knew everything about everyone. We are not talking about a large number of patients—just a few at a time. So, if you come to infusion twice a week and go from room to room meeting people, you stand out.
I explained who Nancy was and again, I got the same answer. “I don’t know her, and I have never seen her.” Realize these nurses remember a lot. Some of them, remember me from over six years ago! So, remembering Nancy should be an easy thing, but it wasn’t.
Was Nancy an Angel?
I didn’t stop with this one nurse. I asked another and another and until finally I asked Karen who was the nurse with me on that day. You guessed it: she didn’t remember Nancy!
I finally stopped asking.
Amy Grant recorded a song years ago about Angels watching over us. I know we live in a spiritual realm. Period. So, I’m not going to go on about this.
I never lost my hair . . . Nancy was there. Was she an angel? I feel like she was.
Around this same time, I was struggling with my faith. I was wondering why cancer had returned after six years and I had been given the “cured” word to carry around with me.
Did Nancy encourage my faith? Not at that moment. But her presence did break into my thoughts and challenged me to think broader and beyond this earth-bound world. Maybe, simply God knew I needed something more and He was not put off by this. He saw me “struggling at the oars” (Mark 6:48) and broke into my life.
Whatever it was, it has turned out to be step one in a process of me returning to a call that He had given me many years ago. We are working on that even now.
I just want to say that it is easy to have an anchor put down and still drift around on the surface. Sometimes that anchor drags along the bottom of the sea until we realize that we have moved beyond the place we need to be. Time to swim back, get centered, and focus on what is truly important.
Thank you, Nancy, for praying for me. Thank you for stepping away from heaven’s realm and stepping into my tangled mess of a life on this earth! In case you were wondering, I still have my hair! (Smile!)