Grace shows up in clever disguises.

Trees are cherished friends. They shade us, produce oxygen, shelter tender baby birds. Their green beauty relaxes us. Our grapefruit tree went above and beyond to help me. It saved my ear.

I was picking up fallen grapefruit from under our big beautiful tree one morning. When I was done and stood up from my crouching position, my head bumped a branch and I caught my ear on a nasty thorn. There was a lot of blood. I never knew how large a grapefruit tree thorn is until I looked at it after it attacked me. Huge! And nasty.

I washed, disinfected and bandaged the wound. A few days later I removed the bandage and it seemed fine. But over time I noticed little spots of blood on my bath towel after drying myself. Then it started seeping and I went to see my dermatologist. The doctor couldn’t take a biopsy of the sore because it was too contaminated with blood and ooze. (Sorry for the gore.) I was very careful not to wet or touch it for a few days and it dried out.

The doctor then did a biopsy, and it turned out that the source of the blood was a basal cell cancer growing under the skin where the thorn pricked me, tucked into and following the curve of my outside ear rim. It wasn’t yet visible to the naked eye.

Two weeks later a surgeon removed the cancer. He put it in a jar and showed it to me. It was more or less the size and shape of a medium-size garlic clove, although it was longer and more slender which was why it hadn’t been obvious. 

If that thorn hadn’t snagged and wounded my ear, the cancer might have gone undetected until it grew large enough to be noticed. And then I would have been in trouble. A large part of my ear might have had to be removed.

In noble beauty, that tree has graced our backyard for 30 years. It has serenaded us when the wind rustles through its leaves, and yielded the lovely gift of its fruit to us. Now it has saved my ear from being ravaged by cancer.

I am deeply grateful. I thank the tree, I thank the thorn, I thank God, and I wear a hat and sunscreen when I’m outside.  


5 thoughts on “Grace shows up in clever disguises.

    • Thank you for the enlightening comment. Indeed it is! In fact, I’ve thought more about this experience and believe its true meaning is how much God loves me (and all of us)! Thinking about the thorn wounding me in exactly that tiny, tiny spot…it’s awesome.


  1. But unlike the man in the book, I hope you won’t cut down your tree. Your story is a much nicer one of mutual appreciation. My mom lost one of her ears to basal cell and had many surgeries on her nose and face as well. I’m glad you’ve been spared this.
    We all have so much to be grateful for; thanks for sharing this with us, your “followers”.


  2. Oh my God, Pat, I’m so glad, and touched that you were blessed with this early detection system. I get a little teary with news like this. I too lived through catching cancer early, twice actually. Many prayers that you don’t have to live through this again.


    • Thanks, Linda. I’m just amazed that the thorn pricked me in that exact, teensie-weensie place! There were a lot of other places in could have struck, God knows. I think the universe loves me! And you… Some people say there are no coincidences.


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