Some people are born without an appendix. Some who have a lot of surgeries (like me) can lose them during procedures. If I didn’t have one, Dr. Pena was going to have to create one, which would add hours to the operation. He most likely wouldn’t have time for a few other tasks he was going to try to do, like fixing a lumpy old scar in my stomach. (I had asked Dad to request that Dr. Pena straighten it out, if possible.)

So for a few hours, my folks just sat and waited, praying for the best. Then at 2:40 p.m. a message came from the O.R.: I had an appendix!

At 4:15 p.m. Dr. Pena was done and I was in post-op. He summoned Dad and Mom for an update. He was very happy. Everything had gone well! Thank you, Lord.

My folks visited me in my room. I had a slight fever, which was expected, and some swelling and pain. Mom’s cool hand stroked my forehead.

“You’re going to have a couple of bad days,” she said.

“No, Mom,” I replied. I knew it was all worth it. “There are no bad days, only hard days!”

Me doing my treatment at 16,000 feet through my Malone port!