Tumor scare strengthens faith

Mass originally diagnosed as a tumor puts prayer in perspective

It was weird to hear the doctor say the word “tumor” about what I thought was a simple polyp in my nasal passage. It was even stranger to see the CAT scan of my head and see the growth blocking the left side of my nose and crowding into my eye socket (the obvious source of the headaches and eye pressure from which I had suffered for months).

Even though the doc said the growth “had the look of a benign tumor,” it was impossible not to consider the chances that I was looking at dealing with cancer.

In any case, the doctor said the mass would have to come out quickly, and a week later I was prepped and being wheeled into surgery.

I received a great surprise when I awoke from the anesthesia and learned that the “tumor” turned out to be a huge mass of infection that had grown in my nose for the past year or so. Yeah, pretty gross, but that meant there was zero chance of cancer — a fact backed up by a biopsy.

I’m now home and a few days into a six-week recovery period during which my eyes have to adjust. That recovery, which includes double and blurred vision, has put any photography on hold.

I’m chomping at the bit to get back behind the camera, but let me be clear about something: I serve a great God, who knew what was going to happen long before I knew the source of my problems.

Right up until the time the first cut was made for biopsy, the docs were convinced it was tumor. It looked like a tumor on the CAT scan, the history of the growth’s development pointed to a tumor and it looked like a tumor when the scope was stuck up my nose as the operation began.

So, while my surgeon removed the infection and cleaned everything up nicely, he didn’t do the healing. God did.

I had plenty of people praying for me, and that gave me and my wife much comfort as we moved from diagnosis to surgery. I actually had no real nervousness.

Even as I was prepped the morning of surgery, I felt a sense of calm. I really can’t explain it. There was just this overwhelming sense that everything was OK. That God had the entire situation under control, so I didn’t have to worry.

But I also want this to be clear: I didn’t and don’t think God HAD to turn the tumor to a mass of infection just because of these prayers. The fact is that I actually spent little time praying for healing, preferring instead to ask for strength to face whatever it was God had in store for me.

This attitude comes from a great friend and former pastor of mine, Paul Harris, who is known for saying, “We spend more time praying people out of Heaven than praying them into Heaven.” Hearing that was transformative to my prayer time, but this philosophy was put to the test during this situation.

When I first heard the change in diagnosis after the anesthesia faded, the first thought that popped into my mind was Philippians 4:6, which reads, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

For the first time, I think I really understand that passage. I could have worried over the “tumor,” but it wouldn’t have done any good. By lifting the matter up to God in a way that acknowledged his sovereignty, I could experience little fear or concern as I went through what could have been a really anxious time .

I thank everyone who have lifted up this matter in prayer. I’ll never look at the power of prayer the same again.

And I’m now feeling better than I have in months, with only the issues surrounding my eyesight to hold me back for getting out and creating more images. Believe me: I’m ready. I even have a pretty good idea of what my first location will be — an old, beached steamboat in Mississippi I just found out about from a Facebook friend.

Until then, please join me on Facebook, where I’ve scheduled some of my favorite images to rotate through my fan page until I am able to create new artwork.

About Andy Crawford

Andy Crawford has been a photographer and writer for more than 20 years, with thousands of images and articles published in magazines and newspapers around the country. He now focuses on Louisiana photography, landscapes, HDR photography, urban prints and other fine art photography. He also is a portrait photographer.