UPDATE on Sept. 22, 2015 — Carla Offenburger’s liver surgery has now been re-scheduled again, and is now set for its original date and time — 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. We got the call early Tuesday morning, Sept. 22, from the staff of Dr. Qasim Chaudhry, saying he and his team are now available Wednesday morning, and Carla decided to proceed with it. So the following column is now dated.
By CARLA OFFENBURGER
COOPER, Iowa, Sept. 21, 2015 – My friend Pastor Deb Griffin reminded me late this last week of Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans of hope and a future.”
It was just what I needed after getting a call on Thursday afternoon from Christina, the nurse of Dr. Qasim Chaudhry, the liver specialist scheduled to do my surgery at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. Christina called to tell me that my surgery must be delayed until Tuesday, Sept. 29. Recall I have been planning for it happening this week, on Wednesday, Sept. 23, the date it was initially scheduled.
Talk about getting hit in the gut – which is already in some pain. I was really, really bummed. But, at this point, we can just be grateful that it isn’t about me and any change in my adenoid cystic carcinoma and the large cancerous tumor it has caused in my liver. Rather, it’s about Dr. Chaudhry and an unforeseen emergency he must handle.
So I want all those prayers to keep coming strong all this week and into next week. And, especially now, for my surgery on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Pray for my medical team, the removal of all the cancer and for my successful recovery. And let’s say a little prayer for Dr. Chaudhry and whatever has entered his life that required the change in my surgery date and that of a few others.
While the wait for surgery was extended, Carla (right) and her sister Chris Woods and husbands had a get-away to Lake Okoboji and the Clay County Fair in Spencer. Here Chris and Carla were hooded up for a boat ride on a chilly late afternoon at Fillenwarth Beach Resort.
After I was notified of the change, I checked in with my new oncologist Dr. Matthew Hill on Friday to confirm that delaying my surgery is not causing undo harm to me. Alas, it will just be enduring the pain and discomfort that I’ve been managing with pain medicine. Mostly though, it’s the ongoing mind games that can take over when something so life changing is about to happen. It’s best to just get “it” over with, and now I’m waiting another week. The cancer roller coaster is a mean one.
Anyway, Pastor Deb sent me the verse from Jeremiah, reminding me that God has a plan for me. And I’m happy with that. Everything happens for a reason.
I didn’t let the news bother the little get-away Chuck and I had been planning for some time to head up to Lake Okoboji for a few days and stay at Fillenwarth Beach Resort. My sister Chris Woods and brother-in-law Tony Woods, of Des Moines, went with us. And with the exception of Tony thinking he could get away with ordering ahi tuna tacos at the Okoboji Store, a new restaurant on the lake, we had a wonderful time. After being reminded of my big tuna lament in an earlier column, Tony quickly changed his order.
We did some serious shopping at The Three Sons clothing store in Milford, home to all things University of Okoboji; we had a nice walk along the lake near Arnolds Park Amusement Park; enjoyed the lake view from our Fillenwarth Resort room; and had a chilly, but still fun, boat ride on Friday late afternoon. Saturday we spent the day at the Clay County Fair in Spencer.
After Okoboji, Carla and Chuck headed to New Melleray Abbey near Dubuque for mass Sunday morning and then some time with our favorite monk, Father Jim O’Connor.
Chris and Tony dropped Chuck and me off in Gowrie to pick up our car late Saturday afternoon, and Chuck and I headed over to New Melleray Abbey, the Catholic Trappist monastery located near Peosta, about a dozen miles southwest of Dubuque. We got up Sunday morning and attended mass at the monastery and then spent precious time with our pal Father Jim O’Connor, the 91-year-old monk who has been a spiritual mentor to both of us for years.
Father Jim blessed me and prayed for my healing. To be held in prayer by a monk like him is indescribable.
Years ago I remember him telling me, “Carla, it’s the job of those of us here at the abbey to pray for you in the outside world.” It is a great source of strength to know there are monks like Father Jim praying for all of us, don’t you think?
So this switch in plans for surgery has me with a few more days to plan my reading strategy, get my pajamas and lounging clothes packed, and wrap up a few more lose ends before I head to Des Moines for the surgery on Sept. 29.
She is getting her reading ready for surgery and recovery, including some books that her friend Lisa Turner sent her, and that gift included the special surprise you can see in the middle of the stack.
Cancer is always throwing a curve ball or two, and I guess this is one for me.
We’ll keep you posted on how things progress. We sure appreciate knowing we can count on all of your prayers happening, along those of Father Jim O’Connor. Together all things are possible through Him who gives us strength.
And thank you for the continued notes, messages and cards that keep coming my way. I feel truly blessed that each of you is in my life.
You can write the columnist at carla@Offenburger.com or comment using the handy form below here.