The Day My Life Changed

Editor's Note: In this story with a purpose, Doris Moody remembers the day that changed her life forever, the day when she realized that God is in control of her life and all our lives. Doris is a longtime member of St. Patrick who has served many years as the church keyboardist.

The pain was there but it didn’t seem to matter that much.

I was sure that the recent workouts caused a bit of stiffness and muscle groaning. It was very uncomfortable to sit for long periods of time on the piano or organ bench. But in the days that ensued, the discomfort remained despite the lack of physical activity. And so my better judgment told me to seek a doctor’s advice.

It was pretty much a routine check-up but one that had followed more closely than the normal “annual visit.” At the time, my doctor of nearly 30 years said, “We’ll do this test and, if it’s negative, we’ll conduct an ultrasound to see what may be causing the pain.” 

After the usual exam and his careful scrutiny, I was again on my way out of town for a three-day conference. The pain got a bit better but still did not leave me. I trusted that the recent test would prove helpful and that medication would take care of the problem. Once the conference was over, I immediately returned to see my doctor.

The previous test was negative so the ultrasound was the next step to determining the cause of the pain. The technician was very friendly as she made conversation but I knew that something was a bit peculiar.

Another unexpected exam later, my doctor looked at me in his office quite puzzled and obviously distraught. “You have a mass on the left side of your abdomen,” he said holding his hand up as if to demonstrate the size. “It’s about five inches in diameter. I don’t know how I could have missed this one on earlier exams."

Doris Moody

Be still, and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

For one brief sobering moment, I was trying to grasp what had just been explained to me. I was in reasonably good physical shape. I exercised regularly and for the most part, felt pretty healthy. What could have caused such a mass? And what was the next step?

It didn’t take long for me to understand how insignificant that work was in the grand scheme of things; nonetheless I still had commitments. “You will be in the hospital next week and we will have to operate to see what this is,” my doctor said. 

I was escorted into the nurse’s office as she asked me all kinds of questions and explained to me what would happen next. They drew some blood to run a preliminary test to determine if there was some cancerous involvement. I called my office to explain what was happening and asked them for their prayers. My biggest fear was the weight of breaking this news to my family, especially since two of my children were away at school. I couldn’t tell them by phone so I planned on waiting to talk with them in person over the weekend.

This is the day my life changed. This is the day that God made it abundantly clear – HE was in control of my life.

After the MRI scan, I was referred to an oncologist who scheduled surgery for the following week.  I remember that the news came on my birthday that year. “We will operate and take a biopsy of what we find,” the doctor said. “Depending on what is there, we will remove what we have to remove to take care of the situation.”

I replied to this compassionate doctor in a very clear and concise manner.  “I believe that God knows what is best,” I said. “And if you believe as I believe, then I put my trust in you and Him.” He concurred and I went home to continue my work and prepare for the surgery.

It was a very difficult week. But at the same time, it was one of the most memorable times of my life. Who would take care of my work?  How would I ever get it all done? Would my children and my husband be okay without me? Is God finished with His work through me on this earth?  Will I be able to join my family and friends who had gone before me?  What did others who had gone through a similar experience think? 

I sought out advice from many acquaintances and friends who advised me in various ways.  “We’re all dying,” said one friend.  “We just don’t know exactly when.  And don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.” 

“Rely on the word of God who tells us, ‘the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  Beside restful waters, He leads me.'” 

Yet another shared an experience of a certain peace that had come over her after a long struggle with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  “I knew the cancer was gone,” she said. 

I missed my Mom so much and I was thinking of joining her and how wonderful that would be. The pain got worse but our Blessed Mother helped me through it. I became very close to her by praying the Rosary and I would often say those prayers in the middle of the night.

Although human nature brought fear, there was also peace. It was God telling me, “I am in control.” 

That Tuesday morning came and I was wheeled into the operating room. My family and some friends awaited the news in the day-of-surgery waiting room.  I remember waking up in recovery and the nurse tapped me on the arm and said, “It’s okay.  Everything’s okay.  It was benign.” 

As I cried at the news, the pain became so much worse.  But then I knew that God was and still is in control. With his help, I was able to heal both physically and spiritually.

We all lead such busy lives taking each day for granted. Just trying to keep up and meet all our commitments is quite a challenge. But there are times in our lives when God tells us, “I am in control.” 

As harrowing and life-changing as this experience was, it was one of the biggest blessings I have ever had. To this day I treasure each and every day that God has allowed me to remain on this earth. Too, I am more aware of my day-to-day living of the hand of God in my life.

Don’t wait until God delivers such a message to you. Know that He is in control of your life and all our lives.  We must let go and “let God.”