I thought it appropriate to post a few things I observed during this surgery weekend.

An extended hour: The day of surgery, there was going to be some time between Dan’s pre-op and the actual surgery though we weren’t given specifics from the doctors beforehand.  It ended up that my Dad could spend an hour back at the hotel with friends and family before returning to Duke. When I got the call from my Dad heading to the hotel after pre-op, I thought that an hour seemed too short… but I was wrong.  That hour could better be described by the likes of CS Lewis but I will give it a try.  The Lord extended that hour so that it seemed much longer.  This was not a painfully long hour (I am not talking about how “time flies when you are having fun” or drags when it isn’t).  But it did seem like there was plenty of time for everything: prayer, small talk, serious discussion, and kids playing with an imaginary juicer.  Plenty of time for everything but just enough time for what was needed - the perfect amount of time.  I saw God’s hand in the maximum life squeezed - but somehow fitting easily - into that one hour. (The pre-op hour was important because of the small but significant percentage of people that did not survive the whipple surgery.)

Surprised doctors: I have learned that God’s favorite answer to multiple choice questions is “E) none of the above”. The creativity of a God that created an entire universe to peer out at during the night, will not be content with doing the expected. The multi-staged operation had several critical points but no one thought that the surgeon would discover that the pancreatic cancer pushing on the small intestine would turn out to be intestinal cancer pushing on the pancreas.  Call it surprise or something else, I saw it on the face of several doctors over the past few days.  You see, the goal in cancer treatments is to cut out the tumor before it spreads.  If that can’t be done, the only option is maintenance chemo treatments.  So I witnessed several doctors launch into the “maintenance chemo” talk in recovery (before reviewing the file) because second operations aren’t done.  Inoperable tumors are -well- inoperable. But then surgeons don’t often discover that the cancer is actually a different form mid-surgery.  The surgery was supposed to go one way or the other, but God didn’t like either of those options and took it a third way.  Whether the new treatment can further shrink the tumor and a second operation can succeed remains to be seen.  But while some people would despair to see the experts surprised and confused, I can just smile because I know the one that is in control.  He seldom does what we expect but usually keeps thing interesting.