Lessons from Life’s Roller Coaster

My husband’s doctor stepped into the waiting room looking for me.  Finally!   He’d had a day of multiple surgeries and I’d been at the hospital for seven hours.

“He’s completely healed,” he announced.  My heart just about exploded!  These were the exact same words I’d been praying for since the discovery of my husband’s bladder cancer three months earlier.  However, thrilled as I was, I knew the surgeon wasn’t referring to the cancer, but that my husband had recovered well from a tumor removal on June 13.

“It all looks good, but we won’t really know until we get the biopsy results,” he said.  “Call me in a week.” 

Uncertainty and Hope
The previous three months had been a roller coaster.  First, the hideous shock that my husband had a malignant bladder tumor, followed by skyrocketing hopes that surgery to  remove it would neatly take care of things.  How naive, I suppose.  Heartbreak quickly followed with the news that aggressive cancer might still be lurking and a second surgery would be required.  This galvanized us into a rigorous nutrition regime and the call to 100 family members and friends across the country to pray for his healing.  Now, three months later, after the second surgery, we learned that despite a good recovery from the tumor removal, nothing was really clear until the biopsies came back.  So, more waiting lay ahead, more uncertainty mixed with hope, more wrestling and pleading with God for his mercy.  As the reality sunk in deeper, another truth also began to dawn:  this roller coaster was not going to be a quick ride, but a marathon.  Better stay buckled up.

The week crept by.

The Test Results 
“Two out of four biopsies tested positive for cancer,” the doctor reported on the other end of the phone.  “One is near where the tumor had been located and the other is on the right side of the bladder.”  The words were like a kick in the chest.

“The malignancy is on the surface layer, but this kind of cancer wants to do things.” I began to feel nauseous.

“We recommend six weeks of localized treatment and then we have to do more biopsies.”  By now I could hardly breathe and there was ringing in my ears.  I stumbled out a few crucial questions and hung up.  Staggering under the weight of this new development, I cried out to God for wisdom and strength. How was I going to tell my husband? Exactly how much should I tell him?

I rehearsed the words for several hours and asked God to please prepare the way.  Thankfully, He did. To my husband, an eternal optimist, the news meant that the glass was half full.  What an enormous comfort and relief this was to me!  We could now prepare ourselves together to face the next phase.

The Treatment Begins
Last week was his first of six treatments.  They inserted directly into the bladder a live tuberculosis bacterium called BCG. It’s a preferred approach to chemo, has less side effects and a 50% success rate with this type of malignancy.  Mid November, a third surgery and more biopsies will reveal the progress.

Once again, we’re full of hope, thanks to God who fills us with faith and strength.  We’re also exploring Vitamin C therapy that’s apparently quite successful in the treatment of cancer.  We’re eating exclusively organic foods now and take other probiotics and supplements as part of a daily regime (see more under related articles).

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”  (Psalm 55:22)
God has had to help me through each stage of this ordeal as I’ve  faced– and continue to face– my deepest fears, heartbreak at my beloved being dangerously ill, and the uncertainty about the outcome and the future.  I’ve had days and nights of terror and battled darkness and despair.  I can honestly say that the most powerful deliverance has come from the Scriptures themselves, those marvelous promises of God, especially in the psalms.  Jesus himself defeated Satan with Scripture and I have personally felt waves of oppression lift and my soul move from the dungeon to the light as I’ve poured out my heart to the Lord while praying through these timeless treasures.

Lastly, I cannot say enough about our family, friends, pastors and elders– our dear, dear partners in Los Angeles, Pasadena, the Bay Area, Florida, Pittsburgh, Massachusetts, Idaho…even Australia! Their ongoing prayers, support and friendship have been unwavering and profound.  My husband and I have been humbled, strengthened and lifted up by their constant expressions of thoughtfulness and care.  They are a bright light as we presently see through a glass darkly and walk through this “valley of the shadow of death.” We trust it is but a shadow and nothing more.

 

Lessons from the Roller Coaster
God has deepened our faith and taught us many things in these past three months. Here are just a few takeaways:

1)  God doesn’t expect us to be able to see the future.  He just asks us to believe Him and to keep moving forward in faith.

2)  It is not the size of our faith, but who we have faith in that makes all the difference.

3)  Faith feeds on the Word of God.  Daily time in the Scriptures does provide courage, guidance and strength.

4)  Unforgiveness, fear, sin, etc. can be hindrances to healing.  Confession, repentance and surrender of these to God enables the Holy Spirit to do His work.

5)  Using prayer to try and control circumstances will miss the mark.  Asking God how to pray about a situation, then listening and getting in step with Him will move mountains.

6)  When starting a prayer chain and/or organizing opportunities for group prayer, it helps to articulate the purpose so everyone is in alignment. Then, keep everybody updated about developments.

7)  Books, articles, testimonies, and stories about others who have been healed of cancer inspire and encourage– pursue without ceasing!

8)  It is the Lord who heals and sometimes He uses doctors and treatments.

9)  If you do not know Jesus, ask Him right now to come into your life and guide your steps.  You can say it out loud or quietly in your heart.  Either way, He hears.

10)  Do everything that is possible for you and leave the impossible to God.

What’s Your Story?
Are you going through a difficult trial right now?  Please share your story here and any wisdom you’d like to share with others.  I’m including some links resources we’ve found valuable. Please leave your comments below and let me know if you find these helpful!  God bless you.

Related Links:
Oasis of Hope:          http://www.oasisofhope.com
“Know the Cause:”   http://www.knowthecause.com/index.php/know-the-cause-webcast
Embracing Life Ministries:  http://www.embracinglife.us/about-us.html
“Healed of Cancer” by Dodie Osteen:  http://www.ministryhelps.com/healed-of-cancer-dodie-osteen-p-1367.html

2 Comments

  1. Well spoken Marion. It is never just one who suffers through the fight for life. You are the perfect support and spokesperson for Russell. Through the living Word, you are being brought closer to Him. Though your heart may seize with horror at times, left with feeling as though you’ve been poured out as a drink offering upon the alter, it is in this surrender that you continue to find peace and your steadfast love for God and for Russell has grown immensely. My prayers and love with you both. Ralph

    • What you wrote is poetry, Ralph. We’re so grateful for your love and support…it’s like fragrant flowers strewn across a rocky path. How blessed we are with friends like you!

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