By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/September 27, 2017/Kansas City, Missouri
Last week Thursday was Belizean Independence Day. It was also the Feast Day of St. Matthew the Apostle. And it was also the day I went under the knife at KU Medical Center to have a tumor on my lower lip removed. The surgery itself lasted only 30 minutes or so. I came out with a very fat lip and 50 stitches. They asked that I return in a week to get the stitches out and to review the biopsy report.
Having just returned from the Doctor’s Office where I learned the results of my biopsy report, I am happy to say that the surgery was entirely successful at removing the entire tumor. It was a 1.1 centimeter squamous cell carcinoma, stage 1. My lip will never be quite the same, but it does not look bad. I can’t whistle right now and spitting is a risky business, but all things being equal I am very happy with the result of the surgery, and you can’t beat being cancer-free!!!
During my week of convalescence, my mind wandered regularly back to Belize, St. Martin’s and my teachers: I was thinking of my dear friend Encalada who works so hard and yet always has a smile; Reneau is one of the hardest working women I know; and Mama Lino who will not let me pass her class without a hug, which I am only too happy to provide; there’s McKenzie who is the best cheerleader we have; of course Pitts, my Wednesday morning coffee-mate; Little Lino and Ben-Goosh are natural born teachers and I am so happy we have them; of course, there’s Rodriguez who is a wonderful anchor at Martin’s; Ayuso is so quiet but so very good in the classroom; Darcy keeps a happy face while keeping order…and so on and on. I love my teachers, all of them. I pray unceasingly for them and for a great year.