I paced back and forth in the hospital’s small changing room, my arms crossed to keep from shivering in my thin gown, waiting for the orderly to come and escort me to the pre-op room. A few weeks earlier following a sonogram of my ovary, my doctor told me that he’d found a tumor. I’d have to undergo surgery so they could do a biopsy. “It’s not time to worry yet,” he said. “Not until we know more.” But I was scared for a number of reasons.
I had never needed surgery before. And a tumor? It reminded my of my Dad’s battle with cancer, a battle he’d lost just a few years earlier. Willie Ray Owen–everyone called him Ray–was the rock in our family. Someone I could always lean on. I’m scared, Lord. I prayed. I need someone like Pop to make me feel okay.
Sitting in that stark white room, I closed my eyes and thought back to when I was five years old. A particularly fierce thunderstorm had settled in over our town and back then thunder and lightning made me tremble.
As the flashes lit up our house, I found my dad kneeling by the screen door in our foyer, watching the storm in fascination. I was almost too scared to get near the door, but I inched closer. Without saying a word, I reached my hand out and placed it on his shoulder. Immediately, I knew everything would be fine. Just being close enough to touch him assured me that I had nothing to fear.
I opened my eyes again at the sound of a knock at the door. My body was trembling still. I took a deep breath and tied to be brave. I opened the door and reached out to shake the orderly’s hand. “My name is Jana,” I said.
“Nice to meet you, Jana,” he responded, taking my hand. “My name is Ray. Please, follow me. Everything will be just fine.”
I knew it would be. And it was.