Thursday, April 5, 2012

"I shall leave walking on water to the Son of God. Fortunately, I tripped over an angel." --Leonardo da Vinci from EVER AFTER

James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville
Thank you again for all of the prayers and fasting and love that have come my way from all of you. On Wednesday I went to Louisville to the cancer center. It was quite sobering to be in that waiting room looking around at everyone in there knowing they were either waiting to find out if they had cancer or already knew they had cancer. People were sitting in clusters and you could look at them and instantly tell who it was in the group that was the patient and who was their spouse and who was their friend trying to keep things light and happy. All of the patients had this look in their eyes that's hard to explain. This one lady in particular was gorgeous and in her twenties and had a beautiful little baby that was just learning how to stand up. She couldn't stop shaking her leg because she was so nervous. Her mother was there with her and would take the baby when the baby would fuss so that her daughter could stay semi-calm. It was another one of those places where you didn't have to know each other to be friends. Everyone could relate in there and everyone was focused on what really mattered instead of their phones or their work or trivial things. When Sister Hunt and I got into the elevator to go to the floor we needed, there was already a police officer in there with an inmate in an orange jumpsuit with hand and feet cuffs. They got off at the same floor we did. It's funny which things separate us and which things bring us together. Money, politics, religion all seem to separate us. Usually the scary things or the tragic things are the only things that bring all of God's children together. 


It was an interesting experience being in that waiting room. Dr. Metzinger is a great doctor and I feel really good about him. President and Sister Woodbury have been trying to see how all of this will work, if I'll need to come home to recover or recover in the field or go home now or what. I told them that even if I end up coming home, I'll come back for him because he's such a well-respected and impressive doctor. After my appointment I went to the hospital for some pre-surgery information and every medical person I had to talk to said, "I don't say this about every doctor, but you're in good hands with Dr. Metzinger." When he saw the pictures from last week's surgery he felt pretty sure that I'll be able to have children which is the most relieving and welcomed news! My stress level has dropped drastically since he told me that. Again, thank you for your prayers. He won't know what's causing it or if it's cancerous till he's able to get the pathology done after the surgery. Though he did say that he should know before I wake up if it's cancer. So I won't have to wait too long to know about that at least. He wouldn't really give me any hints as to what he thought it was or if it was cancer which I can understand because he doesn't want to give me a wrong guess and have it turn out the other way. He seemed calm though, so that's a good sign.

My surgery is scheduled for April 20th, AKA Hitler's birthday. I'm not going to let that bother me though. Toby is kind of like Hitler to my body and Toby is going to die that day, so we'll just correlate things that way. I've been really nauseated and have even Sister Ralphed because of Toby and I'm excited for that to stop. I've also been getting headaches but I think that probably has more to do with allergies than tumors. Dr. Metzinger is going to be using a robot to perform my surgery. It's called the da Vinci Robot which has of course made me think of my 3rd favorite movie, Ever After since Leonardo da Vinci (or as Papa Elf would say, "Leonardo da Knuckle-Head") and all of the wonderful lines he has in it. I think my favorite is the one one in the title. Or the one where he says, "I shall go down in history as the man who opened a door!" But, since I'm a missionary and I don't think about worldly things, let me come back to telling you about my surgery.

The robot is controlled completely by the Dr. I'll be in one spot of the room and he'll be in another looking through a camera, I guess, and controlling the robot. He said it's better this way because they can use smaller instruments with the robot and they don't have to cut me wide open, they can just make tiny incisions. He said if all goes well he'll be able to do everything that way. Depending on the density of Toby though he might have to cut me open to get him out. So, I'll wake up with either 5 little incisions or one big cut. Hopefully Mom and Dad get to come out for the surgery. It would be nice to have them there. I always get really blubbery and emotional when I wake up from Anesthesia and Sister Woodbury was so nice to comfort me but I still felt awkward after I came to later and Sister Hunt told me I kept crying and telling the nurses I wanted to see Becky (which is her first name) and then kept calling her Becky till we left the hospital! So embarrassing. Though she was sweet about it. I think that's all for the medical update. 

There's this bird named Meredith who decided to build a nest in one of our windows. She has two eggs and used to get scared and fly away whenever we passed, now she sits and stares and doesn't get scared. I think it's good for me to be able to interact with a bird through glass. My anxiety isn't as bad that way.  


We saw Brother Winslow this week and when we got there he was riding his lawnmower around his yard with a long stick in hand to make sure he didn't hit anything. I didn't know how to let him know we were there. I tried honking the horn but he couldn't hear it. So we just watched and took pictures. When he got to the driveway he could tell something was there because he said the sound waves came back to him differently (I guess he's like a bat) and he stopped and reached out his hand and realized it was a car so he went to his porch and backed his tractor into the spot he usually sits and turned off the engine and waited for us to start speaking. Also, (this information is especially for Teen) he shaved. 

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about being pregnant. I don't think I need to tell you why. There's always been something that's bugged me about the idea of being pregnant. Why, when people see a pregnant lady, do they think that they automatically have the right to touch that woman's belly? Do they know this lady? Nope. Doesn't matter. Are they creepy? Yep. Doesn't matter. In any other situation would that person come up and rub her belly? Nope. It still doesn't matter. I don't ever touch people's stomachs in any of my relationships. Wait. I guess I do rub my dog's belly. But that just proves even more why I think it's inappropriate to touch someone's stomach, especially without permission. If the lady says, "Ooh. The baby kicked. Feel." I think that is the only time someone should touch her belly. And even then sometimes I find that awkward, but I know I'm weird about personal space. So, I've been contemplating what I'll do once I'm pregnant (hopefully) someday. Sister Hunt suggested that I get a shirt that says "Don't touch" on the belly. I think that's a step in the right direction. But not everyone is going to read the shirt before they touch my belly. Too many people will still get to the belly for my liking. That's why I've decided to invent an as-of-yet unnamed product that is disguised as the woman's belly button when it sticks out and looks like a grape. You know how it does that? Well, this is disguised as one of those, but when someone touches the belly that it's attached to, BAM! They get a shock to their hand! That would teach people to ask before they touch. I wanted to call it the Baby Shocker, but Sister Woodbury pointed out that something like that might actually shock the baby and that wouldn't be a good name. So, I've decided to make sure it doesn't shock the mom or the baby and to name it something else. I'm not sure what yet. But, what do you think? I think people would buy it. I know I would.

We've been working really hard on trying to open our mouths to everyone we pass. It's hard. I'm ok with tracting and I'm ok with talking to someone who talks to me. But I get really nervous about talking to someone who seems preoccupied or is in a hurry or with people or whatever. I know this is the most important thing they could ever hear about and I know "God hath not given us the spirit of fear", so I try to remember that as I build up my courage. We've been promised blessings and baptisms by Elder Ballard if we will do it, so I'm trying to make that one of my top priorities as a missionary right now.

I'm so sad conference is already over. It seemed to go so quickly this year. Watching it was a little awkward because for three of the sessions Sister Hunt and I were the only ones at the chapel besides this little old man in our bishopric set up the tv for us. Sunday morning we had the Bishop and a family of three and then Sister Vonnahme has been praying all week that she could watch at least one session of conference so she and Brother Vonnahme were there as well as their 20 year-old grandson who helped Marv get her to the car and things like that. She was so happy to be there. She cried through the first song the choir sang and sang right along out loud and a little weakly with every song they sang. She's such a sweetheart. She kept grabbing my hand and telling me I'm so special to her. Brother Vonnahme, being full German, was very happy to get to hear President Uchtdorf. It was nice to watch it with other people during that session.

Conference was so perfect. Every talk was outstanding. I can't really pick a favorite. I loved how so many seemed to stress that it's never too late to come back and you're never too far gone to return. They also seemed to fight back a little with the negative statements by the media, didn't they? By the way, Uchtdorf reading the sustainings and realeasings was perfect because those can sometimes get boring but it didn't with him reading because of his accent. I think it's funny to have all these foreign names listed and then have a random American name in there. Also, Elder Oaks has the most epic voice ever. I can't wait to get my own copy of the May Ensign because there were so many things I wanted to hear again. How sweet was that story by Elder Andersen about the boy singing "I Am A Child Of God"? And the music was so good, too. Everything was great. Elder Hales looked a little better. President Packer looked a little worse. Elder Scott's talk was so awesome because you know he was telling us all the ways that he has communicated with divinity. I was so happy when I found out Christofferson hadn't spoken at the Priesthood session because he's my favorite. And I had just read both of those stories he quoted from Acts so it was fun to know what he was quoting from. I think my favorite talk this time around though was probably Elder Eyring's. It's hard to pick a favorite. But I just loved his. I was surprised that they didn't announce any temples. But I guess 30 in the works is enough to handle right now. And I loved seeing Elliot in the Mo-Tab, as usual.

Well, my time's almost up. I love you all and am so grateful for you. I loved the talk yesterday about how healthy families create healthy societies. I'm so blessed to come from such a wonderful family full of faith and love.

Extra Blessings: Mom, Sister Roberts, Sister Childress, Camillio Estevez, Judy, Malachi & Otie x 2.
Quote of the Week: "Ask yourself: Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary?"

As we learned in conference, the church is God's way of helping us live the gospel. It's the gospel that is pure in truth. The Gospel is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson
If it was a Hillbilly Windchime those would be moonshine bottles