What an overwhelming feeling to be sitting in that room, the one where women were congregated in a half circle. We all sported blue gowns with strings holding them together, normally in the back, but this time in the front. I had tied these on patients hundreds, maybe thousands, of times as a nurse. This time I tied one on myself.
I had just been there three days prior for my first one ever, but they called me back to be rechecked within the same week.
I wasn’t nervous. Peace overwhelmed as I prayed and released it to God. And as He would have it, a close friend insisted on showing up to be by my side.
They quickly took me back, and the sweet hospital staff reassured me that I would be leaving soon if this test showed nothing. She informed of the small possibility of needing the radiologist to take a closer look, if it was still questionable. I sat relieved that this would probably be over soon!
A little uncomfortable to be letting it all hang out in the beautiful (sarcasm), light-blue, un-sequined gown, I heard the words, “Mrs. Douthit, we need to have you come back for further testing.” I could feel my tears churning in my throat. By the time my friend and I got to the next waiting area, the tears were forcing their way to the surface through my eyes.
I thought, “This is really happening! In the next few minutes, the trajectory of my life could be significantly different.” I thought of my mother-in-law and how scared she must have been to actually be diagnosed and go through treatments.
Wow! Now here I sat, exposed and wondering.
I felt her hand grab mine. She softly began praying peace, and I felt the warmth of it wash over me. Thankful, the fast pace of my anxious heart began slowing. God kept reassuring me He was there.
They called us in. Yes, I said US. It didn’t occur to me that I would soon be lying partially topless in front of my friend until we were already both in the room. When I was asked to lay down and remove my gown on that side, I thought, “Really Lord, really! What is going on here? This is humiliating! How different to be on THIS side of this gown!” Then I thought, “Maybe God wants my friend in here with me for some reason. Maybe there’s something I don’t understand yet.”
The stripping of the gown brought the stripping of pride. With my arm over my head, I was exposed as the ultrasound tech and radiologist checked.
God spoke sweetly in that moment, “Rivera, I’m here. Either way, you are going to be ok. I want you to understand how this feels, so you can better relate to others.” He hushed my thoughts. He calmed my spirit. I knew no matter what the result, He had me.
The radiologist, who didn’t look old enough to be out of high school, assured me there were no masses and nothing to be concerned about. A huge sigh of relief swept over me, and on the inside I was jumping up and down praising God! I knew how different this moment could have been, and I didn’t take it for granted for a single second. I couldn’t help but reflect and ache for all of those women with a different word from their doctor.
As we were exiting the building, we sat down to talk. I wanted her to know how thankful and blessed I was that she had taken the time to come and be with me.
We began sharing our hearts, and hers was mostly about family. I loved hearing, so I listened intently, asking questions here and there.
Then, there it was! The knot in my throat was back. I began realizing what God was doing. This whole chain of events was for healing, the emotional kind.
God was prompting me to tell her. I listened as she talked. Then her words faded into the background as God said, “Tell her.”
He wanted me to share my story, the one very few people know in full.
I questioned God, “Are You sure?” My heart pounded, and I knew He was sure!
I allowed myself to be vulnerable to tell her, risking rejection and judgment. I had no choice. God said to do it. I had to.
There I was again, exposed! But this time it was a revealing of the inside, not the outside. She loved me through those regretful words, no questions asked.
As God always does it, this conversation led to a growing intimacy in friendship.
He knew what He was doing when He stripped me down in humiliation with that radiologist! He always does. He was preparing me for this moment, a stripping again, this time to be transparent about my past.
I’m not sure we’re ever completely healed of it all until we’re in heaven, face to face with Jesus. But for me, this was just healing on a deeper level. My willingness to be vulnerable, in turn, helped her share.
Our Healer Himself was clearly in our midst…gently cleaning the wounds of our exposed hearts.