The conversation with Mac lasted less than three minutes, most of which was time spent together in prayer. Audrey Meyers wanted Nikki to come into her office as soon as possible. Nikki had given Dr. Meyers permission to contact Mac while she was away on vacation knowing that Mac would filter out the urgent stuff from the routine that could wait until she returned. Apparently, whatever Audrey wanted fell into the urgent category. So much so that the pulmonologist hadn’t even shared the particulars with Mac, opting to wait until she could talk with Nikki face to face.
Nikki fought against speculating as to what, specifically, was wrong. Audrey had already told her there were signs the cancer in her left lung was staging a comeback. The unwelcome news had been enough to set her vacation plans in motion—plans made some time ago and placed on a shelf for just such an occasion. But as much as she tried to keep the voices of dread at bay she found herself yielding to temptation’s prodding to imagine the worst.
Given her age, it was unusual that she even had lung cancer. She’d never even smoked. But she had been around plenty of people who had, some heavily, turning her into one of their ranks by proxy. The discovery of radon in her basement hadn’t helped. She and Todd had picked up a test kit before he’d left for Afghanistan just to be on the safe side expecting reassuring results, surprised when the test came back at 4.3 pCi/L. Mitigation had been expensive. Both had counted on being unaffected. But as Nikki later learned from Dr. Meyers, the combination of cigarette smoke and radon gas likely proved a deadly combination. Lung cancer was now the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women. More prevalent than breast cancer.
Mac’s prayer over the phone had helped steady her, his words reassuring: Father, we turn to you for both wisdom and courage. Nikki is your daughter. May she take refuge in your love knowing that You will make right all that is amiss in Your own way and time. Help her to lay her head on your Son’s breast just as the disciple John did, drawing deep and abiding comfort from his ever present Spirit within her.