“May 31, 2016
Today, I felt the earth below my feet shift. Chad had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon that he wouldn’t let me attend with him. He called on his way home. He has bladder cancer. I was on the front porch when I got the news. It was kind of poetic that it was raining at the time. Damn poetry. Damn Cancer. Sometimes life just sucks. We were snuggling in bed tonight and I wanted to promise we would get through this; that everything would be alright. I couldn’t. I don’t know what God has planned and that scares me. I trust God. I know his way is always the best, but tell that to my heart right now.”
Cancer. The very word strikes terror into the heart of those, and the families of those, diagnosed. All rational thought gives way to the overwhelming emotion of fear. All of a sudden, memories of everyone you’ve ever known whose life was cut too short by that horrible condition flashes through your mind. The above paragraph is an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote the night my husband was diagnosed. I couldn’t sleep. I had spent the entire evening researching, trying to learn everything I could about this particular cancer. We were handed a new normal that day. Since that day, Almost ten months ago, we’ve met with four different specialists, we’ve been through three surgeries, a treatment of chemo, false test results, a series of immunotherapy treatments, a recommendation of bladder removal, and a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
I now understand. I understand what it’s like to travel this road with someone you love. To see my strong, energetic, hardly ever sick, husband laying in a hospital bed being wheeled to surgery is heartbreaking to me. To hear my children asking God to heal their daddy clutches my heart. I know how frustrating it is to push a very stubborn spouse to seek the best treatment. Even though we have great insurance, I know what the financial strain cancer can create feels like. I know what it’s like to be scared of the what ifs. I’ll never forget the evening that Chad came in, after learning that six more tumors had grown within the three months since his last surgery. The kids were hanging out with me while I was in the kitchen finishing supper. I almost always have music playing, and when Chad walked in the door, “Heaven Song” by Phil Whickam was playing. One of the first things he said, with tears in his eyes, was, “Kids, if something happens to me, don’t be sad because this is where I’ll be (referring to the music.)”
God Is Good. In every step of this journey we have traveled, God has been right with us. We have been blessed with supportive family and friends who have not only prayed for us every step of the way, but have been the “hands and feet” of Christ. They have been there to send cards, text messages, Facebook messages, and calls to check on us and to let us know they were thinking of us, praying for us, and always asking if we need anything. Our parents have been amazingly supportive. I have a best friend who lost her father to cancer. Her support has been exactly what I have needed. She’s been there and knows what I’m going through. I was sitting in Bible Study a few weeks ago, and this song, “Even If” was played. I fought back tears as I listened to Mercy Me’s new song. I had been living the words to this song. As Christians, we face hard things like everyone else, but we always have hope with God, even if.
Right Now. Chad is cancer free. He’s going through his second round of BCG treatments as a preventative measure, since bladder cancer is very reoccurring. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I’ve learned to take one day at a time. This quote by Elisabeth Elliot has become real to me.
“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”
If I were to share 2 things that have helped me the most:
Bible. Read it. Find some verses that encourage you. Here are a few of my favorite verses, they always help me to remember that God is good and He does love us.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! -Psalm 34:8
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a]for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
Music. I made a playlist of songs that encourage me and remind me that God is in control and that he loves us. Some of the songs I added to it were:
Thy Will, Hillary Scott and The Scott Family
King of The World, Natalie Grant
Worlds Apart, Jars of Clay
Beyond Me, Toby Mac
Eye of The Storm, Ryan Stevenson
God is Good (That I May) Tim Timmons – If you are familiar with Tim Timmons’ story, then you can understand why this song means so much to us.