I’m human. That word implies imperfect. But I genuinely love people, the exchange of ideas, the reverie of being deliberately in silence together, the possibilities of togetherness. So, I’ve always tried to treat people sincerely, honestly, with kindness and love. Of course, being an imperfect human, I don’t always succeed. I meditate on patience and understanding to do better.
I share this because out of the blue my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Not just any cancer, but a particularly aggressive adenocarcinoma in the esophagus. The treatment is horrendous, brutal, and life-changing. At any point the treatment itself could kill him, much less the cancer. I immediately knew that we couldn’t battle this monster without the help of our Family and Friends. And Our Lord Jesus.
My husband once considered becoming a Baptist minister. My grandmother was devotedly Roman Catholic. My personal religious beliefs are somewhat broader, being Jesuit-educated, but just as deep. My husband and I both are Faithful.
From the onset there where Signs.
I knew we couldn’t get through this alone. We needed help. For him. For me. Say what you want about Facebook, but I created a Group to pray for him. I regularly updated Family and Friends what he/we/me were dealing with. Unbelievably 220 Family and Friends joined this group to offer their prayers and support and stayed with us through this ordeal.
I am humbled by the outpourings of love, generosity, understanding, and selflessness that take my breath away. I never imagined myself worthy of such, especially not on so grand a scale.
A dear Friend of 40-plus years shared that her husband had cancer in the throat and our guys would be going through treatment together, even though we were on the right coast and they were on the left. Almost daily we shared how our men were doing, how to help them through it, and most importantly we gained strength from each other to be strong for our guys.
A board member where I work, who lost her husband to cancer some years ago, hooked my husband up with a DVD and movies to supplement what he got on cable and help him occupy his mind.
Several Friends cooked their favorite recipes for him, helping me to ensure that he stayed strong through the rad/chemo. Helping me greatly on the days I tried to go into the office and work.
While my husband was going through rad/chemo I was preparing for surgery. Talking to my cousin one day I mentioned I had everything covered except care for our two senior dogs. She said she and my aunt (84) would be delighted to come down and house/dog sit while he was in the hospital. Oh. My. God.
My job allowed me to work from home, so I could care for him during his ordeal.
The Friday before his July 16th surgery, we celebrated Thanksgiving. Not knowing what the outcome was going to be, it was a time for all of us to get together. His sons, my daughter and grands, the dear neighbor, all helped us mark this special occasion. We took lots of pictures of the Family together because we didn’t know if this was the last opportunity to do so.
The day of surgery, everyone prayed. Hard. I could feel it while I waited during the seven-hour procedure. Not only did he survive, the surgeons were optimistic they got all the cancer (later confirmed by pathology).
For the next two weeks I stayed at the hospital, never leaving his side. Family and Friends continued their prayers and brought food for me and a fan for him when his body couldn’t regulate its temperature. I can’t thank you enough.
One Friend sent me the “Encouragement Bible.” I hope you never need it, but if you do, contact me and I will gladly send it to you. I read from this all day, every day as I sat in the hospital with my husband watching him recover from surgery.
Another Facebook Friend posted a Psalm that especially resonated with me:
As you get out of bed in the morning, be aware of My Presence with you.
You may not be thinking clearly yet, but I am.
Your early morning thoughts tend to be anxious ones until you get connected with Me.
Invite Me into your thought by whispering My Name. Suddenly your day brightens and feels more user-friendly. You cannot dread a day that is vibrant with My Presence.
You gain confidence through knowing that I am with you that you face nothing alone. Anxiety stems from asking the wrong question: “If such and such happens, can I handle it?”
The true question is not whether you can cope with whatever happens, but whether you and I together can handle anything that occurs.
It is this you-and-I-together factor that gives you the confidence to face the day cheerfully.
–Psalm 5:3; Psalm 63:1 (NKIV); Philippians 4:13
And another artistic Friend beautified these Words for me to frame and keep prominent in my daily life.
Finally, we were discharged home, but all wasn’t right. Our neighbor is a nurse and she checked on him. When I had to bring him to the emergency room, our other neighbor took care of the dogs since my cousin and aunt had returned home.
Now we were in trouble big time. Friends please pray, pray, pray.
Three days later, discharged home again. Friends please pray, pray, pray.
Today is a good day. We have a long road ahead. But with the prayers of Family and Friends, I know we will get past this bump in the road.
Dear Friends, we appreciate you more than you will ever know. I hope with all my heart that sometime in the past I was a good Friend to you. If not, I hope someday yet to come I can be the Friend you go to. I can’t imagine what our lives would be like without your Friendship.
Without your prayers beseeching Our Lord for Healing and Strength, without your Love and Support, we would not be here today. We hope we can return the Friendship you have bestowed upon us. God Bless You.
Thank you so much, Sandra for sharing with us today. Our prayers for you and Dennis continue all day, everyday. I love you girlfriend!