Thursday, March 25, 2021

Dying to Live

 “Can you lie on the exam table for me?”

But it’s not a typical exam table. It has a huge body pillow on it, and the “table” is built to slide in and out of the CT machine.

The techs and nurses start forming the pillow around me, and as they push, the tiny beads inside begin to harden and bond together. 

I start shooting the bull with the team during that, telling them how I wrote an erotic novel that was finally published traditionally. For some reason they think that’s funnier than hell because I “look so innocent.”

“Those are the ones to look out for.” I practically giggle the words. And I realize all of our laughter makes this whole thing a little less terrifying.

“We have to remove your gown now,” they say, and I’m a bit mortified because Mike packed my underwear for this trip to Utah. And when men pack underwear, you end up with fashion—not comfort.

“Oh, my,” a nurse says, blushing. Were they uncomfortable about what my husband had packed? Well—join the club. 

The team pulled a plastic bag around the legless table, over my feet, and then brought it to my ribs. “This is a suction technique we use to immobilize patients during radiation.”

“I promise not to move.” Was the vaccum seal necessary? I mean, I’m not a spastic toddler.

“It’s nothing personal. But this is gonna get tight. Ready?”

I nod before she flips a switch and I become like a human sandwich in a Food Saver bag.

The lights dim, and the table starts moving me in and out of the machine for about a million years (actually 45 minutes). And I get so scared that I tell myself this is a spa treatment, and I’m gonna be soooo toned afterward.... Want cancer AND abs, try this thing out!

But soon it’s too damn tight, my arms are practically glued to my sides, and I’m struggling to breathe normally from all the anxiety.

I slam my eyes shut, trying to remember something good because being vacuumed—in a CT machine—well, it wasn’t on my bucket list.

And then I remembered something that fully took me back in time:

The closest I've even come to touching heaven in when I fell from it. I didn’t dive or jump...I simply leaned out of the plane, right before the wind took me. And when I hurtled toward the Earth, a feeling of freedom completely replaced all of the fear I'd felt moments before.

The wind rushed past, and my stomach hurtled into my throat, but only then could I truly “see” the beauty of the world. I looked everywhere, completely amazed by God's creation. The waters glistened, and the mountains seemed far more monstrous and  impressive than ever before. And when I should have been more terrified than any other moment in my life, well, time just stopped.

After seconds had turned to hours, my tandem instructor pulled the parachute’s ripcord. And I remained amazed, thinking about God and this great gift I've been given. It’s astounding that God created such brilliance and beauty. And yet among all of that He'd somehow seen fit to create me. 

So that’s what I thought of in the CT machine: how being scared of death can truly bring us to life.


  1. I had an MRI a week ago and a panic attack during it, not nicce

    1. They can be so hard. I’m always surprised by how nervous they make me—even though I have them so often now. It’s crazy.