Facing the inevitable

We have been so blessed to be held in the loving arms of our Father and you, our friends who have walked this journey with us. We have been overwhelmed by your kindness, your tears, your offers. We are stronger because we have all of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Our Lord has provided you all in our lives and has shown us His heart and spirit is working amongst his children.

Last week I left off that Theresa has a new breast cancer cell type, triple negative, that only has one possible treatment, if she is BRACA mutation positive. Treatment for this is very expensive and the possible benefit minimal and short lived. We still do not have an answer if she has this mutation or not. But at this point it really doesn’t matter for Theresa’s case as she is declining. It is more beneficial for the boys in the future if they would carry it.

This week has been very difficult with its up and down emotions, that ebb and flow depending if Theresa is having a good day or difficult day. One day it looks like she is close to going home and then the next, she has perked up and able to eat some, more animated and my spirits are lifted. I have come to realize we truly have become one. My emotions, ability to eat and sleep are inexplicably intwined with hers. We are experiencing “a cord of three is not easily broken”. Christ, Theresa, and I are intertwined. It is Christ who has been there molding us with Him the past 25 years and it is this merging of the souls that carries us in this difficult time.

The days had time have become a blur, but Theresa had a difficult weekend last weekend and it seemed time to call Hospice. The Hospice nurse came Monday and we all talked, but since Theresa was doing reasonably well that day, we decided to hold off going on Hospice. During the week, Theresa had days where she barely had any fluids and didn’t eat, as she was very nauseated and even water made her nauseated. As her nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, and cough progressed, we decided Thursday evening to call Hospice on Friday. We had made some medication adjustments Thursday, so Friday morning she was less nauseated and pain level lower, but still decided to engage Hospice as she didn’t want to get worse over the weekend and not have oxygen and medications available should she need them.

As has been Theresa’s history, the medications meant to treat her pericarditis were actually speeding along her decline. For both those medications, the top side effects are nausea/vomiting and since stopping both, her nausea is improved, but her pericarditis untreated. We now have the tools and help we need here to care for her properly.

Theresa has lost close to 20 pounds, is pretty weak, spends the day in her recliner chair, is slowly able to get up to the restroom, but is finding it harder and harder to get up the stairs to bed at night. Some days she spends most of it asleep or with her eyes closed. Her physical strength is declining and we have talked about moving our bed downstairs to the family room when the time comes. Her chest pain and shortness of breath comes from the cancer in her chest and around her heart. She is taking some medications for that to make it more comfortable. This has been progressing. How much time we have together, we do not know. We truly have to take it one day at a time.

Despite this, what has been great is God’s blessing us with this time. He got our attention, He will be taking her home soon to soar, to be overwhelmed by Him, to be blown away by what He has prepared for her, and to be up there praying with Christ for not just her Children and husband, but for all of you, that we would finish the race well, like she has, and have a eternal homecoming with her.

We had picked out our gravesite about a month or so before this, and Monday mom helped her plan her tomb stone. We hope soon to work on what we will say together at her celebration of life, and also hope to write letters to the kids. We have cried, held each other, soothed each other but also faced head-on the reality before us and how to use this time wisely. We still hold out hope that God does a miracle for her and heals her physical body. We will keep bombarding God with that request, but should the answer be no, we are ok with that. I am reminded of King David, prostate before God praying that his newborn son wouldn’t die. He was all in during that time, not eating or taking care of himself, but when the baby did die, he got up, washed himself and ate, and worshiped God. Those around him were confused. In 2 Samuel 12:22 David explains “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again?..”

So Thursday our Pastor came over, prayed with us, anointed Theresa with oil, prayed for healing. Then Mandy came over and took family pictures with us, and with the kids individually with Theresa (including one with Matthew, Theresa, and his finished English 102 paper for which Theresa and he Labored tirelessly during the past two months during her failing health and was able to compete it). We have a family birthday celebration Sunday and one of our son’s birthday on Monday. We will then see what next week brings.

We have read (and others have shared) so many encouraging verses this past week, reminders of God’s faithfulness, the ONLY ROCK on which we can build our lives on – the only wise investment in life. If you are interested in reading them: Zephaniah 3:17, Psalms 23, Psalms 139:1-18, 2 Corinthians 5:1-9, Lamentations 3:22-26, Proverbs 31:10-12, Job 23:10, Psalms 18:30-33, John 3:16.

God is good. We celebrate His goodness. He shows up, not a minute too soon, nor too late, but at the exact time of our need and He provides Himself. Oh that peace, that joy, those comforting arms holding us tight. We will celebrate Christ taking her home and will be looking forward to the day when Christ comes for me. 1 Corinthians 15:53-55 “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, were is your sting?”. Thank you Father for You and your promises – the only sure thing in this world for which your children can hold tightly to.

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers and being part of this journey.


  1. Linda Amondson-Muller says

    Oh Dr Paul, You and your Family will be able to know you have done everything possible and your wife will know tru love of her family and God’s Love… Very Posittive… This is not so for all other in our small, community and world.

    Your journey and sharing of this life’s experience will bring your inner soul, peace and Theresa her Angel wings to be lifted up in peace. Letting go is unconditional love, look to a new day. I am broken-hearted for you and yours ! Sincerely. LAM

  2. Cindy Yarnell says

    I am so sorry for your families fight with this awful disease, I pray for peace and comfort during your struggles. I only hope that I would have as much courage and passion as you do. Thank you for sharing your story of love and strength. I will continue to pray for Theresa and your family during this difficult time.

  3. Jennie Brandt says

    We are greatly sadden by this as we both hoped for a miracle for you and Theresa and your boys. We will continue to pray for a miracle. Just know that if God calls her home, she will be free of pain and happy to be the angel that watches over you and the boys.

  4. Jodi Laverell says

    Continuing to pray for your peace and comfort and also a miracle if it is Gods will. Thank-you for sharing this update and your journey through all of this. You have a God given gift for writing and teaching. May God hold all of you close together, may you feel His love for you and be given comfort and peace as you continue your journey. Amen.

  5. Kirk and Deb Parnham says

    We love you and your family. We pray for every day to be the best day together. We are praying for strength and comfort.

  6. Bev Knudsvig says

    Tears…so we’ll said..your love for the LORD..your beloved wife and family is so evident…YOU ARE ALL BEING HELD IN HIS LOVING…FAITHFUL ARMS…
    And upheld by so many….

    • Lelia merrill says

      Brenda I second your comments. God is an ever present help in time of trouble and this sweet family bears testimony to this

  7. Kathy says

    Dear Dr. Paul,
    Thoughts and prayers to you and your wonderful family. Your writings are inspirational which I know helps you and all of us. As difficult as this is thank you for sharing.

  8. Rebecca Harbour says

    Paul and family – praying and asking our kind and loving Shepherd to hold you close, His precious lambs. For strength thru every dark place, awareness of His promised presence, peace and rest that abide in you.

  9. Jon Wiley says

    Dr. Paul and family. We continue to intercede on your behalf, for both spoken and unspoken prayer needs. Your faith journey has broken our hearts but greatly encouraged us in our hope of eternity. May the Lord continue to minister to you.

  10. Joann Hutchison says

    Dr. Paul, Your family is blessed with God’s goodness and everlasting love. It’s hard to understand this diagnosis. When I saw you and Theresa at the winter celebration dinner- she looked beautiful, in fact she was glowing. It’s clear you are walking this journey with Our Lord. May your strong faith and acceptance of God’s will sustain you in the days ahead. I pray your family continue to feel God’s arms wrapped tightly around you.

  11. Dianna and Rod Samuelson says

    The Lord bless you. He is holding you all in the palm of his hand, His presence is everlasting. He will never leave you or forsake you. ♡♡♡

  12. Priscilla Christenson says

    Praying for you both and your family as God takes you on this journey. Asking for His peace, comfort and love to fill your hearts with in the days ahead. God bless you all. ❤️

  13. Delynn McBride says

    My heart goes out to your lovely family, thank you for sharing. May God bless you all and continue to hold you close, give you peace and wisdom on this journey you are on. Prayers for you and your family Dr. Paul.

  14. Janine & Chuckk says

    Praying for comfort and peace for your family during these difficult times. Your faith in God and attitude of gratefulness throughout this journey has been such an example of walking with Him. Thank you for sharing. We love you!

  15. Kathryn Westmiller says

    Paul, I continue to pray for Theresa, you and the rest of the family. I am so glad you both have Christ to rely on. Love you, Aunt Kathy

  16. Jon Wiley says

    Dr Paul, we continue to intercede for your prayer needs, both spoken and unspoken. Your journey through this has broken our hearts but your faithfulness and willingness to share has reminded all of us of our eternal joy. May our Savior continue to minister to Theresa and your family.

  17. Doris ms Bill says

    We are in awe of your faith and add our love and wishes for comfort and peace to the many others. Your beautiful testimony is so heart-felt that we are left with feelings of great love for you, Theresa and your children. This is a hard, hard journey but your faith and devotion is a testament that we honor.

    Doris and Bill

  18. Jan Wagley says

    I am so sorry to hear this our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family~!! May the Lord’s choicest blessings be with you all during this difficult time ~!!

  19. Linda Cordell says

    Thank you for sharing this very difficult journey. The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you and give you peace.

  20. Sherrie Conrad says

    We are so very sorry …really no words but we agree that God’s will is to be done. Grieving, rejoicing, & praying with all of you through this next season. Our God is ever faithful to complete it in His own way!!

  21. Linda Cordell says

    Thank you for sharing your painful kourney. The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you and give you peace.

  22. Nannette Hoile says

    Daniel and I continue to pray for all of you. May you be surrounded with his loving presence and peace.

  23. Annie says

    Oh Doctor Paul..We are so sad to hear this..we have never stopped praying for Theresa, you and your family. And we will continue to pray for God’s complete healing.
    Sending prayers for healing, comfort and a peace that goes beyond understanding.
    With much respect and love.

    Wes and Annie Nagata

  24. Wes/Annie Nagata says

    Oh Doctor Paul…we are so saddened by this, and will continue to keep you in our prayers. Miracles happen.
    Praying for miracles, comfort, and peace for Theresa, you and your family.
    May the Lord shower you all with His perfect love and blessings,
    With Sincere Respect and Love in Christ..
    Wes and Annie

  25. Tammie Rutledge says

    tears, love and prayers are all we can offer. May God hold you in the palm of HIS hand and hive you HIS peace.

  26. Kathleen Spencer says

    Dear Paul &Theresa,
    Thank you for your blog and for keeping those of us who care for you up to date. In the midst of this extreme storm in your lives you have been able to testify of your love and trust in God and for the love you have for each other. I pray that there will be lives who grow closer to their God because of this.
    I continue to pray daily for healing, comfodt, and a peace that is beyond what we are capable of. Please give Theresa my love. You are all continuously in my prayers. Remember the God of Angel Armies is always at your side.
    Kathy Spencer

  27. Debbie O’Connor says

    I know God is holding you all close and that He is sustaining and will sustain you as you walk through this time. Your description of the oneness of a marriage in Christ is so beautiful. I remember your wedding day and how faith-filled it was. Your union is even more beautiful now. I wish I could take all this hurt away, but I also hold on to his promise that eternal glory makes our hardest trials seem light and momentary. Thank you for sharing so honestly and freely. Your faith has inspired and challenged me.

    I love you, Theresa. You are all in our prayers.

  28. Mitch & DeLynne says

    Paul and Theresa your love for each other and your strong faith in Christ is inspiring to all of us. You are teaching us all how to trust God, as David did, in the valley of the shadow of death. Praying that God will continue to comfort your family with His love and promises. We love you. Mitch & DeLynne Dietz

  29. Loren and Linda Krenelka says

    Paul and Theresa, We go before His thone of grace many times daily asking for God’s perfect plan. Our hearts are affected as we want a miracle. We love you both and keep each one of the kids in prayer too.

    • Cindy Tarbet says

      Theresa , Dr. Paul and family:

      My heart is breaking for your family. I love how you talked about David in 2 Samuel. I have only met Theresa through you as you have shared with all of us during this hard time. Thank you for keeping us close because we love your family so much. I have a scripture to share back to you that has helped me when I feel weak and in need. But you LORD are a shield around me, My Glory, the one that lifts my head high PSM 3:3. Human words fall so short right now but God’s never will. So we ask, in His name, to lift your family in His loving arms and that He keep you all under His wing…..tight and safe and protected.

  30. Janis Garland says

    I pray that your love of the Lordcan sustain you and your family. May a peace that passes all understanding descend upon you

  31. Jim and Jane Miller says

    Paul, you and Theresa have been a testament of God’s love and your love for Him. You both radiate His love for others. We continue to pray for His miraculous intervention, and we continue to pray for His peace to flood your souls.
    Blessings and love, Jim and Jane Miller

  32. Julie Gamewell says

    This is a sad time; I “weep with those who weep”. I also praise God for the extra time He has given your family to be together–and perhaps there will be even more time. Yet, in John 16:22 Jesus told His disciples: “…you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” In a moment, in the “twinkling of an eye”..Joy Everlasting!

  33. Dave & Kami Smelser says

    Oh, Williams family! You have been in our thoughts and prayers and we will continue to bring you before our Heavenly Father. Sending our love and support from California.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *