An Hour and a Half in a Closed MRI--a Tumor, or Not a Tumor?

We're headed down to Georgia this weekend to spend Easter with my parents, then Tuesday is the big MRI. I'll be going to Emory in Atlanta for a very long, specialized brain MRI that includes spectoscraphi (I'm certain that is spelled incorrectly), a special something that will let them know whether this cyst on my brain is really a cyst filled with harmless spinal fluid, or a tumor.

Up till this point we've been praying that if it's something that needs to be taken out, it will be a tumor. If not, and it is okay for it to remain where it is, that it will be just a cyst, and not a growing one.

A brain tumor or not a brain tumor?--not your everyday kind of question.

I'm not nervous about this one. Well, not yet anyway. I definitely do not like the idea of a closed MRI. I hate being in small, closed-in places. I have recurring nightmares of being in an elevator when it falls. (In fact, I've had so many of those, I remember once dreaming of being in a falling elevator and thinking, Oh, this is another one of those elevator dreams. If I just hang on, I'll wake up.) But though I feel unsafe and terrified in tight spaces, the reality is that no one has ever died from being crushed by an MRI, however small the space may feel. At least no one I've ever heard of.

Makes for a good metaphor on life. There are things I may fear that have no grounds in reality, or that may be ludicrously off balance, like the idea of fearing an hour and a half in a closed MRI more than fearing the possibility of a brain tumor.

Yet God understands that we are just dust. I am amazed at how limitless His grace is. He knows how we fear and fret and make ourselves sick with worry. Instead of getting angry and giving us a lecture, He reminds us not to fear. He put that reminder in His Word over 300 times. He knew we'd need to be told over
and over
and over
and over again.
And then again!

What love that He doesn't mind our helpless humanity, but reaches down with His magnificent grace and touches us with His peace.

After the MRI, that same day, I get to talk with the neurosurgeon, which is a real blessing. I've tried thinking through how I will feel when he gives me the results. If he says it is a tumor, there's the possibility of brain surgery to face, and all the risks involving that. If he says it's just a cyst and therefore not worth the risk to remove it, there goes my last possibility of something that might fix my lifelong condition. Either way, I'm going to need the Lord's help and an eternal perspective to accept and adapt to whatever the outcome may be.

Sounds big, but that's really an everyday kind of need, isn't it? We always need the Lord's help and an eternal perspective. It's just big things like this remind us of that fact.

Just as I don't need to fear that small MRI space, so I need not fear any information that may issue forth from the test. My God is in control of the entire universe--of galaxies so huge they make our entire planet seem tiny, of ants that seem tiny to me, of microorganisms that seem tiny to ants. God is not bound by our perspective of big and small.

So tonight I can pray about things that feel big (like tumors) and things that feel small (like asking God's blessings on the blueberry bushes we recently planted), and He doesn't mind that I brought both things to His throne.

In fact, I think He likes it. In the realm of the eternal, both are infinitesimally tiny. In the realm of our relationship, however, both matter.

I am so glad this God of love knows me, and who, wonder of wonder, wants me to know Him. I long for His presence with me in the doctor's office, in the MRI room, in the difficult and dangerous. He longs to infiltrate my life with His presence in everything--the big and small, the large decisions and the everyday moments.

If I can grasp that, the beautiful fact that God longs for communion with me whether in an MRI or planting a blueberry bush, in the soft whisper of a springtime breeze and the warmth of a child's embrace, in my moments of despair and my highest hopes . . . then I will know Him better, trust Him more, fear less.

Fearless. I like the sound of that.


  1. Kimberly,
    I met you at the Writers Advance book camp a few weeks ago. Your attitude and perspective when facing this next week are inspiring. I will be praying for an Ephesian 3:20 miracle!

    Blessings in Jesus!

  2. Thanks, Dianne!!! Not sure what my attitude's going to be when they shove my head into that tiny space, but I'm praying for peace. =) Your note was a blessing, and thanks for your prayers!

  3. Thank you for sharing, Kim. I'll be praying for you!

  4. Kim, I didn't hear about this situation from Cindy Strickland, who tells me the latest. We have never met or even e-mailed, yet I feel I know you. Cindy gave you my info (MSer)in relation to your interest in writing about chronic illness. By the way, I have read your book "Stolen Woman" (which I couldn't put down) and soon to read "Stolen Child".

    I will definitely be praying for you. Jesus will be with you every second as you know. I pray that you will FEEL his presence like never before.

    In Christ,

    Beth Sefluth

  5. Thank you so much, Beth. What a blessing to hear from you, and I'm so happy you liked Stolen Woman! I'm grateful for your prayers. I've been thinking how I'll just keep telling myself that Jesus can fit into that closed MRI with me, and since He is there, all is well.
    Thanks again!


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