Yesterday I had an upper endoscopy done at Mayo Clinic here in Jacksonville. First of all, I want to thank all of you who prayed for me. It means a lot when facing anything like this to know that there are many who are lifting you before the throne of grace. Yes, it means a WHOLE lot.
I have been suffering from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) for over 10 years now. In the past month or so, my symptoms have increased significantly. This despite a fairly regimented management plan I had been living under for some time: nothing to eat 4 hours before bed, prescription medication ($145 a month), and elevated bed.
So last week, I called Mayo Clinic to see if I could get an appointment in their Gastroenterology department and was able to go in on the afternoon of Good Friday. After hearing my history, the doctors conferred and agreed that since I had been struggling with this for so many years, it would be a good idea to go inside and take a look.
If you were not aware, in addition to painful symptoms, GERD sufferers have a risk of developing esophageal cancer, which is the fastest growing cancer in the Western world. In other words, it is not something one should take lightly. Hence my visit to Mayo.
As I shared with the congregation on Sunday, this procedure was something that I dreaded. There are a lot of things that people fear that don’t seem to phase me. But anticipating this procedure created a considerable amount of anxiety in me. I didn’t lose sleep over it, but I did find dark thoughts distracting me throughout the day.
As a pastor, I have spent a good amount of time praying with people over very serious health issues for several years now. While I would not classify this procedure as “serious,” the anxiety reminded me of something I remember a professor in seminary once saying regarding the difference between major and minor surgery: “Major surgery is when it is you; minor surgery is when it is someone else.” And while perhaps my procedure, which including cutting some tissue out of my throat for biopsy, may not even be technically considered “surgery,” it was major to me.