Thursday, August 13, 2015

What I have feared has come upon me

This line from Job 3, perfectly sums up my reaction to Dan's diagnosis. When the hematologist at Mayo confirmed to us that Dan had a blood disorder which had become lymphoma, my fears were confirmed. Just a few days earlier, I had said to a friend at work, "I just really hope it's not cancer because cancer is scary; people die from cancer."

And isn't that our fear? Isn't that why we would wish, "anything but that?"

In those first moments in the room, while I cried and Dan held me (I'm not sure that he cried) was the confirmation of the fear. The scary thing had come upon us. It was here. This thing that I've pondered before, "I wonder how those people got through that", I was that person.

The first thing I said to Dan in that exam room was this: "From this point now, everything is new. We are new. Everything from the past; all those expectations that we may have had in getting married to each other, those are dead and gone. We are new; today we move forward in a new life - a new purpose."

While going up to the appointment that day, Dan said to me, "I don't think your life is better since you married me. I think my life is better - but I think that I have not delivered my end." I shared with him that in perfect honesty, I don't even know what my expectations were 4 years ago; in coming to peace with living in Tucson, I think I started to let go of expectations. Though, I hadn't let go entirely of all expectations; it is certainly no secret that I long to be a mom - and I have been mad at God, and yes, frustrated with Dan, that we are childless.

In that room, I realized that with cancer treatment (though we still do not know what our plan will be), fertility is often compromised/lost. I wanted Dan to know that I would never hold that against him. What he needed to know is that we are in this fight together; we are one - and God is with us. All things are new. Our expectation of today is that God has given us life & breath in this moment, and we will live in worship of Him for his gift. It is time to live our baptismal promise: to walk forward in this life in newness of life.

I called my mom shortly, crying...sobbing as I voiced my fears to her. She cried with me, and I could feel her longing to hold her child. I confessed to her that I had no idea how to proceed - how to call people...because I desperately wanted people to not just know, but to pray. But the thought of having heart-wrenching conversation after conversation was just too much. So, she promised to take care of that. Then, she shared with me a verse that had been on her heart that day from Joshua: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and take heart; the Lord your God goes before you - and He will fight for you."

These words were like sweet nourishment to my parched soul. I shared that I had been in a drought of faith; skeptical of God's interest. ...and I reached out - and clung to these words for all the hope  that they contained; with all the faith that I could muster, "Yes, God; PLEASE, I beg of you; PLEASE, out of your great mercy - FIGHT FOR US. PLEASE, though I am the least of your faithful ones, PLEASE, FIGHT FOR US."

At this very moment, Dan had run into one of our friend's parents in the Mayo hospital lobby. This is just one of the many "God-moments" of providential 'coincidence'. He had told them of his new diagnosis, and as I walked up to them - she spoke, what I believe, prophetic words of hope for us:
Pray the rosary daily; ask our mother for help; her love is so great.
To Dan: I know that you have faith, that you believe - but through this, your faith will become active - loud, alive, vocal. It won't be something you keep to yourself anymore. You will share your story. Glory in your story; God is using this to bring redemption! This will be the end of your constant sickness. Complete healing will come.
You can't do your job the way you want to - a good job, if you aren't well. You must focus on your health.
To us: This will be the crowning glory of your marriage. [looking at me] This is your baby, right now. [then she asked, 'Do you have children?' I shook my head no (probably with tears in my eyes) and she said:] But, a baby will come - lots of babies. This is not the end. This is the beginning of your story. 


Imogene said...


Thank you for sharing your heart. We are all here for you and Dan, and I am praying for God's care and plan to have a greater purpose in all of this. The words that were spoken to you by your friends parents are awesome. They make so much sense.

Having been where Dan is, with Lymphoma during my younger years, I know there is hope, and god must be the center of your lives. No matter what you are going through or feeling, God understands and wants good for you. There are people who have children after all this, I've know of men who have still been able to have children after treatments.People overcome and live through these diagnosis! (mine has been gone for 29 1/2 years!! sometimes that amazes me - God is amazing - if I can get through it, Dan can get through it!) Sometimes it was a lengthy struggle, and God brought me through all that and everything that has followed. God knew everything I was challenged with; the thing that got me through it all was keeping my focus on God!

I would love to talk to you by phone.
God bless you and Dan. Imogene

FACS Education Advisor said...

Thank you for sharing that part. I've been thinking of you since we talked. You sounded so different. Sad, spacey, scattered. I wish I could have given you a big hug and declared a long cappachino break time.

FACS Education Advisor said...

Your clarity on the email revision was laser sharp, but you did not sound like yourself somehow.

FACS Education Advisor said...

I have to change that purple hair picture!