Prostate surgery with lymphadenectomy
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing.
Psalm 23 (NIV)
Associated images: sick, haggard, pale. But I don’t feel like that, I’m actually feeling fine?!
The Lord is my Shepherd!
Associated images: Sheep following the shepherd, meadows, streams, trust.
I shall I lack nothing!
How many shortcomings are there in my life and how often am I lacking?
How do I meet the shepherd?
His goodness and mercy flow in abundance every single day, I lack nothing!
He is enough, I am enough!
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.
Rest – I find my peace, “letting go” is my big topic:
- Family – my children are independent, have families of their own and are busy taking care of their own responsibilities.
- the profession in which I have been a passionate auditor for the last few years. It can cope without me as well. My successor has become well acquainted with the job and can now manage on his own.
- the church in which I was an elder for so many years. It is no longer “my baby”. It has established itself, has grown up, acts and decides differently than I would.
- the garden, no, it still needs me! It keeps on growing and flourishing and if I don’t keep at it, everything will grow so fast that I can’t manage it.
He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
After prostate surgery in 2017, two infected lymph nodes showed up on a PET/CT scan and were successfully removed on 03.07.2020. There was a risk that an ostomy would have to be performed, but this was not necessary thanks to the excellent work done by the surgeon. However, the day after the operation there were complications. My bowels refused to cooperate any further and stopped working. Suspected ileus: a CT scan was taken. At 11.00pm on Sunday night an endoscopy was carried out. The suspicion was not confirmed. I feel a little better, but in the course of the next day my condition worsens again. The bowels need to be stimulated. The stomach can no longer pass anything on to the intestines and a gastric tube is inserted, which is rather difficult, thanks to my adenoids. Finally, after several attempts, the tube is in place. The night nurse closes the door behind her and just at that very moment I suddenly have to vomit. The stomach tube comes up too and gets caught in my throat. I ring for air and alert the nurse. The other patients in my room are bed-bound and can’t help me. I can’t shout out. How long a minute can be when you can’t breathe! Dying is hard, it is not romantic, like my idealism would have me believe. The door opens, the nurse pulls the tube, I gasp for air.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
It does not say: evil will not harm you, but: I will fear no evil.
The shepherd was with me all the time. There’s no doubt about it! No question: “Why?”
What kind of God is this, who is so very close in such situations?
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
I spend the night, connected to so many tubes and wires, sitting on the night commode in the middle of the room. The bowel stimulation is successful – with the other patients on the ward watching and listening. How humiliating!
The next few days drain my strength, I can hardly eat anything. Wednesday morning is my absolute low point, I can’t go on, I am exhausted, there is no strength left in me! I phone my wife, tell her that I am at the end of my tether. She cheers me up a bit: but we’ve come so far, get up, have a shower, do something to take your mind off it all. Strangely, it works. I feel better after a shower.
After the intravenous drips have been removed, I can move freely again. My first walk: to the hospital’s lovely little park. The sun is shining, every step is hard, but I manage it! A few drops of water from the fountain hit me, tears come to my eyes: what a blessing! How beautiful it is to be able to experience nature, the birds, the flowers, the people around me!
I have my first meal, a “puréed” broth. What is it? Tomato, vegetable? Very puréed, that’s for sure – even the taste! I receive a WhatsApp message from a friend: “We’re thinking of you and pray that the good shepherd will lead you to green pastures and prepare a table before you!” I send him a photo of the puréed broth with the caption: Still a few problems preparing the table…!
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Friends are on holiday nearby. They come to visit me, and we go to the café next door. They wonder how quickly I have recovered. We thank God for his goodness, for giving me a new life, for filling my cup until it overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
All the days of my life: something has changed, a switch has been flipped. I am different! I have met the shepherd!
He touched me! Was it the rays of the sun, the drops of water?
I suddenly feel a deep peace and gratitude: how would my life have turned out without the latest PET/CT technology without which the lymph nodes would not have been found, without the professor who made the right decision, without the encouragement and advice from my wife at exactly the right moment?
It is by his grace that I can and may follow him, no matter where the path takes me, whether through a dark valley or into green meadows or to a place where no bowels can cease working. Where the sun of justice shines down on me and I am forever in the presence of the shepherd.
Now I have been given a new life here and now I must continue to trust and follow the shepherd each and every day, with a grateful heart and his praise on my lips.
Now I realize that letting go sets you free – it makes me wonder what is yet to come.
Translated by: Karen Kersten