Before I begin this post, I want to thank our Heavenly Father for his presence this week. He again has been generous to us. I’ve been thinking, it could be worse…if I lost Theresa in an automobile accident, there would be no time to be tender toward each other, working through those things that need to be done and need to be said is precious. There would be no closure, no looking into each others eyes connecting our spirits. God has been merciful to us. We want Him to be praised, honored, and to be given the credit He deserves. I again want to thank all of you for your prayers, cards, and comments. Theresa has been blessed enormously by these acts of kindness and connection with her. Thank you.
Because Theresa was having headaches during the past month that were different than she had been having and because her vision had changed, it was felt best that she get an MRI of the head, which we had done Tuesday. For the first good news we received, there are no metastasis in her head, with the MRI being completely normal. Theresa and I were in agreement, if it had been abnormal, we would have stopped all treatments at that time and enjoyed what time we had left. It was reassuring for sure to have a normal scan. We had a second opinion from another Oncologist who agreed with the course of action of our Oncologist. We also had a Palliative care consult, which at present they didn’t have anything more to offer, though at some point will be a valuable tool to help with her symptoms. Theresa had a relatively good day on Tuesday. Wednesday she took 1/2 the dose of the steroid and a nonsedating antihistamine instead of benadryl. She didn’t have the agitation and anxiety to the same extent as the previous week, though she still had enough that she had a rough day. On Thursday, my sister, took Theresa to her second Chemo appointment. She tolerated it well, though that evening started getting abdominal cramping and body aches. These progressed on Friday, so she spent most of the day in bed as she did Saturday and Sunday. We tried enteric coated peppermint pills, which did help for a time, and oxycodone seemed to give her the some relief, but really she has been miserable for three days. Prayer to get over this pain or lessen it would help. She hadn’t used a pain killer since her hospital discharge. She has been so brave. Despite her pain and suffering, her eyes sparkle, she smiles through tears, and she pushes on. She doesn’t get her next chemo for three weeks, though she will see the Oncologist weekly and get labs, to see if she is responding to treatment. We expect a change or two with the next chemo agent being used and will keep you posted. We have had some great help from family and close friends through these days. We really don’t need much right now and do appreciate all who have offered. Our kids have picked up some of the slack which has helped greatly.
I thought I would open the door a little wider into our lives. Theresa and I individually learned reliance on God even before God brought us together. One event that laid the course of my journey began in my senior year of college. I had applied to a few medical schools and either had not been accepted or placed on their waiting list. I had thought God wanted me to go to medical school. So after further prayer and soul searching, I retook the entrance exam and applied to a broader range of medical schools the next year. I interviewed at 4 or 5 schools and ended up being accepted at 3 and placed on a wait list at the two others. I was so excited to finally move forward with my career, which I was sure God’s direction for me. I remember, I was in my grandmother’s basement room I was living in, and God spoke very clearly to me, telling me He didn’t want me to go. Are you kidding? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I wrestled with this for a week or two (don’t remember the exact time frame) and through this time, God clearly repeated the same statement. I finally surrendered my will, what I wanted to do, and literally got down on my knees and said Lord, I submit to Your will, I will decline these acceptances and follow You where ever you lead. Then He clearly said something to the effect of, ok now I know you are surrendered to My will, You can go to Medical school, for I know you will serve me in this. I was 23 years old at the time when God powerfully transformed my understanding of Him, His will, submission, surrender, and obedience. There have been many occasions since, with different issues that He spoke such and I had to get down on my knees and surrender that too. In our marriage we have had to do this multiple times. In this present time with my beautiful bride’s Cancer, we again surrendered.
Theresa and I met over a dead body. I was on my first night over overnight call at the hospital at the start of my second month of Internship. I got a call about 2am or so, from Theresa, who was the nurse taking care of the lady who had died. She called me and told me I had to come and pronounce her dead. I had no idea what she was wanting me to do, so I said something like “didn’t you just tell me she was dead? Why do I have to get up and do this?”. She thought I was another arrogant doctor and she was going to give me a peace of her mind when I came down. I didn’t know then that a doctor in the hospital had to do the pronouncement. Well, I found the room and talked with the husband. I ended up praying with him, and for his spouse who had just passed and Theresa came in the room and saw it all. I was forgiven and her heart softened toward me. Later that month my coworkers convinced me to ask her out and about a year later we wed. Later I learned that Theresa knew I was the one she would marry early on in our dating.
Theresa had been strong and had a deepening dependency on God during High School. She wanted to go to College and accepted a ROTC military scholarship in nursing. She worked hard during those years and made it through desert survival training to boot. She has a strong but gentle disposition that I fell in love with. The first year of marriage is always difficult, as two figure out how to become one. We both began the process of serving each other, a process that has solidified our marriage as well as growing deeper in faith. The process of surrender and serving began to wear down our rough areas, soften our hearts and mold us together with God. Arguments led to forgiveness and the realization that our biases, self focus has to be submitted to essentially washing the feet of each other, as Christ emulated. It is this focus of communion with God daily and serving each other that sets in motion the tone at which we face this challenge.
We are deeply committed to each other and to our gracious Father who has transformed us over the 20 plus years. I know many of you have had a similar journey of faith and service, of laying down your selfish side (though not becoming a door mat). You know this journey well and it is so satisfying. So despite the circumstances we find ourselves in, we are on solid ground and gladly follow the path our Father has set before us. Thank you all for joining us on this journey and being such a support to us.