Snow patches dot the roof as gray clouds obliterate any hint of sun. Despite the drab skies, floor-to-ceiling windows usher light into the laboratory waiting room of Mayo Clinic’s Gonda Building. People file out of elevators, line up at the reception desk, and then take a seat in the sea of chairs. They wait to surrender their blood, the vital fluid that will direct diagnostic and treatment decisions. My friend K similarly hopes that her what, why, and how medical questions will be answered by laboratory results.
I join K to chauffeur, support, and take notes during her visit to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. My God-given responsibility is to pray for her as she faces two days of tests, scans, and appointments. Injected with radioactive materials and other chemicals for picture-taking, K undergoes hi-tech scanning. I pray for clear-cut, sliced-and-diced pictures of K’s tumor that will map out cancer treatment options. All that information will be funneled into the final evaluation by the world-renowned oncology surgeon. He will decide whether he can excise the tumor—or that he cannot offer surgical treatment.
After K marches back to meet the vampires, I become distracted from praying by the eclectic architecture. Outside the third floor window, the hospital’s exterior structure consists of gray marble panels and steel window frames. These surfaces intersect a narrow flat roof that obscures the streets below. Beyond the roof, Gothic arches line the top floor of a grand old building. That limestone structure reflects in the wall of windows across the street. The windowed modern building contains a vertical panel of concrete that brutally contrasts with both of its antique neighbors.
Finally, I tear my focus away from the inanimate to pray for K—only to be distracted again. The next architectural masterpiece in my line of vision holds gargoyles, griffins, and other statues. A rooftop flag ripples in the pre-blizzard winds, providing the only visible movement above the urban street. Tiles, mini-balconies, and other bric-a-brac ornamentation embellish every visible horizontal and vertical surface.
My excitement over urban architecture fades when K comes out of the lab. K, a strong woman who survived an intense triple regimen of tumor-poison, chooses the stairs over the elevator. I join her march up the seven flights to her surgical oncology appointment. In the exam room, the primary surgeon surprises everyone by arriving an hour early to the appointment. Other professionals enter the room. The moment of truth arrives as photos of K’s innards fill the computer monitor screen.
The practitioners describe the tumor’s response to chemotherapy in glowing adjectives. The surgeon presents the outcome of K’s chemotherapy: surgery is now an option. Briefly, I raise my hands heavenward to the God who answers prayers, and then I resume my note-taking. Looking at the scan as if it were a map, the surgeon plans and describes his surgical path. He traces his intended journey into the organ, around the tumor, and through neighboring structures. K smiles along with the entire team.
Thank you, God, for guiding K’s chemotherapy, making it work, and providing the previously unthinkable option of surgery. Please keep your healing hand on K. Guide her medical team and give her the treatments and care that she needs. Help me to love, support, and pray for K as you intend. Thank you, dear Lord, for miracles that don’t depend on feeble human prayers easily distracted by urban architecture. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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