All men hate going to the doctor. Maybe all women do, too, but they don’t hate it enough to never go see one. I can’t tell you how many guys I know that should go to a doctor and just never do. I am one of them.
Get ready people. It’s about to get a bit graphic and weird.
I’ve had a lump on my lower back since 2009. I first noticed it around spring break that year. I remember this because I cornered my friend Jamie into a room and told him that I wasn’t trying to perv him out, but I wanted him to touch the lump and see what he thought. After an awkward few seconds of feeling around, he, with absolutely zero medical experience, informed me that it was probably nothing. I agreed and for the next four years I continued to do nothing about it.
Earlier this year I was having some back pains and I thought maybe it was a result of my little friend “Lumpy.” My girlfriend, Brittany, didn’t know that I had the lump, and when she found out, she toooootally went female on me and told me I had to get it removed. So I started the ultra-quick HMO process, and now three months and five different trips to see doctors later, I finally got it removed today.
I came up with a good joke, too—“I need this surgery like a need a hole in my back.”
Now I’ve watched almost every episode of House and Scrubs so I thought I had a pretty good idea of how it was going to be removed. I thought I’d show up at the hospital, lift the back of my shirt up, get a numbing shot, and the doc would just tweezer it on out of me. Then we’d high-five and grab a beer.
I was a bit off.
It turned out to be a much bigger ordeal. I had to put on one of those flimsy gowns that let you really feel the draft coming in; I had stuff taped to me and cords hooked up to monitors. They wheeled me down the cold hallway laying on one of those rolling beds. There were five or six doctors and nurses involved. I wasn’t expecting any of it. And to make it all worse, I heard not just one, but TWO Bruno Mars songs playing in the operating room during it all. One was playing right as I was wheeled in and I thought, “This is not a good start.”
Brittany was there with me before they wheeled me off so I was trying to be mellow so she wouldn’t get nervous, and I wanted to look brave and cool. I also didn’t tell my mom or sister about any of this because I didn’t want them to worry about me. In fact, my mom is probably just now hearing about this if she’s reading this post. I texted this picture to my sister with no context whatsoever; just the picture. Needless to say she was a bit freaked out and mad at me. I didn’t think that one through. I thought me giving thumbs up was a way of saying “I’m good!” but all she saw was her baby brother in a hospital bed.
The funny thing is, in all my (failed) efforts to not freak anyone out, I was the one who was pretty nervous. It wasn’t what I had mentally prepared for. It was bigger. It was scary.
Why is it so hard for us to admit when we’re scared? We’re not in 4th grade anymore getting called words like “Frady cat.” No one is going to point at us and laugh. But fear is not something we ever like to admit. For some reason it’s still embarrassing if we are scared about anything.
I’ve been thinking today about what it really means to be brave in life. Does bravery mean that you aren’t scared of anything, or does it mean that you are able to keep moving forward in spite of your fears?
I think courage looks a lot different than it feels. You could see a soldier run into battle and think, “Wow, he’s brave,” but you don’t know what he’s thinking in his head. Even if he’s thinking, “This is the most afraid I’ve ever been,” does that diminish his bravery? I don’t think so.
To me, courage is merely a willingness to act, not the elimination of all feelings of fear. Life will call on you to do some pretty scary things at times, and if you are afraid it doesn’t mean you are not brave. It means you are human.
If you follow God, you will see yourself come up against things much bigger than yourself: challenges and opportunities. I don’t know if God expects you to have 100 percent faith and think thoughts like, “I have absolutely no fear, and I know exactly what will happen.” I believe that He allows us to say, “I have no clue how this is going to turn out and I’m scared, but I trust God and I’m going to do it anyways.” That is courage to me.
If we never take on anything in life that makes us break out in a sweat then maybe we’re living pretty boring lives. Fear is the ultimate party crasher. It always shows up. But it doesn’t have to stick around. It can be defeated.
I’m just glad my surgery is over, and my experience with it has me thinking about what else is in store for my life. I’m feeling pretty good. I’ll let Michael Scott wrap up my thoughts for me here.