My Hurricane on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans - Surgery Day

Hurricane by Band of Heathens

I was born in the rain on the Pontchartrain Underneath the Louisiana moon I don't mind the strain of a hurricane They come around every June The high black water the devil's daughter She's hard, she's cold and she's mean But nobody taught her it takes a lot of water To wash away New Orleans

June officially kicks off hurricane season. 

It’s also kicks off a bit unease in my soul. May 31st is the day I received my cancer diagnosis. June 22nd is the day I had my surgery. They told me about the scars everyone would be able to see. But it’s the unseen scars that leave a deeper mark. 

Recently, I heard this song and was taken back to all of those emotions three years ago. It was awful. It was a really hard time and the devil’s daughter came at me at every corner.

I rode in the passenger seat of my car, quietly staring out the window. Chase was driving and my parents were in the back. Five-month old Maggie had stayed at our house in Petal with her amazing grandparents, BB and Dot Dot. We were headed to New Orleans to spend the first of five nights. I had to be at Tulane Medical Center by 5am for surgery the next morning. We made several trips to New Orleans leading up to this one for pre-op appointments. Every time we drove across Lake Pontchartrain, Chase would play the song Hurricane by Band of Heathens because he knew I loved it. I couldn’t explain it at the time, but it somehow would always calm my nerves as we entered Orleans Parish. I remember thinking I should probably be listening to praise and worship music instead, but that song is where my soul has found rest before any doctor’s appointment, procedure, or surgery.

As we drove across Lake Pontchartrain on June 21, 2017 and listened to this song like we always did, it was so ironic because an actual hurricane was making its way toward New Orleans. Rain pelted the car, the wind blew, and the sky was a mixture of dark heavy clouds. But a little hurricane doesn’t scare New Orleans, so my early morning date with the surgeon never wavered.

I didn’t sleep the night before surgery. I stared at the ceiling of our AirBnB and listened to the mix of sirens and drunk laughter that perpetually come from the streets of New Orleans. I remember thinking I should’ve drank more wine at dinner and maybe I’d be asleep. I tossed and turned and my chest ached because I had to quit breastfeeding cold turkey before the surgery and radiation. So I looked through every single picture and video I had taken of Maggie on my phone and quietly cried.

I didn’t think 5am would ever come.

But it did.

And then I was sitting in the smallest pre-op room EVER with Chase, Daddy and Mama. I was feeling ok, Chase and I even snapped this picture as we waited. #thyroidcancer Then the door swung open.

In a matter of moments, that tiny room was full of what felt like 50 doctors and surgeons and nurses and anesthesiologists and their cousins. All telling me all of the awful things that could happen to me during my expected 4-7 hour surgery and I needed to quickly sign the endless forms thrown in my lap so they wouldn’t be held liable if they messed up. The nurse started my IV with a saline flush and asked me questions about my sweet 5 month old baby girl who was 2 hours away. As soon as I could taste the salt on my tongue, the panic set in. My chest got tight, my hands shook, I started sweating… they kept telling me I had to sit down but if I had to wait another moment I thought I might die. Chase kept his arm around me, comforting me, telling me everything was going to be fine and it would be over soon. My mom harassed the nurses and doctors with every question possible. My dad tried to tell awkward stories to distract me and get me to laugh.

As the army of eager residents started to wheel my hospital bed out of the room, I saw tears in my family’s eyes as they told me they loved me and would see me in a few minutes. I felt such guilt for putting them through this awful day. But praise the Good Lord for Propofol because seconds later, I was out. And would be for the next 7.5 hours.

Little did I know what I was in for when I would wake up. The days, weeks, months and now years following that day would bring pain and weaknesses I never before experienced. They would also bring a desperate need to live life more abundantly. 

After that surgery, I would be humbled and stripped of any pride or belief that my achievements define who I am. I would experience pain and God on a deeper level than ever before and I would not be the same. God would become greater in my life. I’d gain a greater awareness of when the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy me. My family would become greater. All the little shiz that used to get to me, would become less.

I couldn’t have made it through that day and every day since without God and my family and friends.

Since that particular drive across Lake Pontchartrain, I have had my ups and down… but the one thing that remains the same is my faith continues to strengthen. So I guess it will take a lot more water, to wash away this ole girl.

The high black water, 
the devil's daughter
She's hard, she's cold 
and she's mean.
But nobody taught her, 
it takes a lot of water
To wash away New Orleans.




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