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A few weeks prior to my husband’s chemo treatment, I heard about other women whose husbands had medical treatments being done. Each of these women were by their husbands side during and after the treatments. They had taken a step back from their responsibilities to be available to care for them. This was not my plan.
This made me question myself. Was I being selfish not adjusting my schedule to be with my husband? I decided to go to God with this question. Thankfully, I had asked, a few weeks earlier, to be lifted up in prayer after sharing my thoughts and fears about my husband’s health issues. This helped me focus on God and what He desired me to do. After spending some time praying and meditating, I felt God wanted me to trust He would be there and in all the details of my husbands treatment. He wanted me to focus on what He wanted ME to do, not worry about what or how others were doing things.
I find myself continually comparing myself to others or what the world expects of me. Sometimes it’s hard to remember God’s opinion is the most important, especially when I’m surrounded by the world.
My husband’s first chemo treatment was Tuesday. I went to my BSF leaders meeting as planned, took my daughter to school and stopped for gas on the way up to meet my husband. I had expected to be there until 4 or 5 that evening. The treatment was planned for 8-hours, depending on how things went. There was a long list of possible side effects that could happen while administering the drug.
As I arrived, I found my husband sitting with a smile on his face. I know he wasn’t feeling 100%, but he wasn’t letting it define his day and was dealing with it all very well. The nurse checked his IV and said he would be done and out of there within 30 minutes. This was at 1 o’clock. At that moment I felt God’s presence. I remembered He had promised to be there and take care of everything. Later, after talking to my husband about how things played out, he said he felt the presence of God, the Holy Spirit, as well.
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Joshua 1:5
When we returned home, I was so excited about what God had done for us. I had to share it with a friend. She said the most wonderful thing that helped me put things in perspective. She said, “You were covered in prayer, so you can rest in the fact it was all filtered through the hands of God.” That is such a beautiful image, don’t you think?
My husband has had very little effects from his first chemo treatment. Praise God! I can’t be surprised, because he WAS covered in prayer. We were both covered in prayer. Our family and the entire situation was covered in prayer, and continues to be. I’m so thankful my husband and I both reached out to everyone around us. There are some amazing prayer warriors out there and I’m grateful they are a part of our lives.
If you’re going through a trial in your life, big or small, please reach out to those around you and ask for help. Ask for prayer. It’s beautiful and uplifting to be covered in prayer. If you’re between trials, please take time to look around you to see whom you could offer help and prayer to. Is there someone around you who needs to be covered in prayer?
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. ~ Matthew 7:8
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of prayer, which is a way to communicate with You. I pray those who are in need of help, reach out and ask for help. I pray those who are able to, reach out to those around them who are in need of help, Amen.
I can’t stop thinking about my BSF group discussions last week and how God directed the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Red Sea. I am in awe of God’s great power. He took them the long way around because he knew coming upon a war would be too much for them and they would run back (Exodus 13:17-18). He knew each of them that well. To think God knows me, and you, that well, and will go out of the way for each of us, because He wants, and knows, what’s best for us. This is so beautiful.
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. ~ Exodus 13:17-18
Earlier this year my husband found out his body had started rejecting his new kidney. The doctors tried a new experimental drug for this situation, IVIG, to help stop his body from rejecting and ultimately destroying the kidney. IVIG is known to create antibodies that the body should be making. The doctors were hoping the extra antibodies created would help fight off the foreign antigens brought over with the new kidney and then there would be no reason for his body to reject it. This two-day procedure was attempted twice with little then no help.
The doctors then decided to try an additional medication called Rituxan. This drug attaches to certain blood cells, from the immune system, and kills them. The hope is that this drug, along with the IVIG, will help my husband’s body fight off and kill the foreign antigens causing all the ruckus in his body.
(This is completely off topic, but all of this talk about the immune system and killing the foreign antigens made me think of the movie Innerspace. Here’s the trailer. It gave me a good laugh. I hope it makes you laugh as well. If I could, I would go in and make peace between the antigens and antibodies fighting in my husbands body.)
OK….back to the topic at hand…..
While we were waiting for the Rituxan to be scheduled, my husband came down with pneumonia. This is something that happens to him at least once a year. After the doctors realized this, they decided to put off the kidney rejection meds until six weeks after finishing the medication for his pneumonia. At the time, this was very annoying. This was set to happen at the very beginning of our summer break, and now it was looking like it was going to happen right in the middle of it. We couldn’t plan anything in the beginning of the summer because my husband was sick. We couldn’t plan anything later because he would probably be sick from the new medications. We were all disappointed because we would be stuck at home all summer.
The beginning of the summer was indeed, rocky. Having my husband sick and the kids stuck at home was not a fun thing to deal with. But, after the first few weeks, once my husband started feeling better, we had a wonderful time together simply hanging out. We stayed up late watching movies, laughing and acting crazy, then enjoyed sleeping in and hanging out again. There were a few day trips and shopping excursions, but mostly just hanging out. This was the first time EVER that I didn’t want the kids to go back to school. We had an amazing time bonding as a family over the summer break.
Once the kids did go back to school, we started getting frustrated with the doctors. All we seemed to hear was “we’re working on it and we’ll schedule it soon”. The waiting was so hard. Not knowing what you can and can’t commit to or plan is extremely frustrating. We wanted to get the new kidney rejection meds scheduled and done sooner rather than later. We wanted to get on the other side of it.
Thankfully, God knows what’s coming and how we will deal with it. He knows how much we can take and what’s the best way for us to go about it. If my husband did have the new medications at the beginning of the school year, it probably would have been too much for me to handle. Remember, the beginning of the school year was already very chaotic for me. I can’t imagine having my husband sick from meds to deal with on top of everything else. God led us the way that was best for us.
We recently got word from the doctors that my husband has been scheduled for the Rituxan treatment on November 4th. The IVIG treatment, which will be two weeks after the Rituxan, has been scheduled for November 18th and 19th as well. I truly believe this has all been scheduled in God’s timing. What I thought was a pain in my side, my husband’s pneumonia, turned out to be an amazing blessing by God. Time to bond as a family and time to adjust to a rough start to the school year. He leads us on the path that is best for us, which is not always the easiest and shortest. Praise God!
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for loving and caring for us in an individual and intimate way. I pray we praise you while in the midst of our waiting and uncertain times, knowing you are there leading us through it, Amen.
By Robert Duvall
Faith and hope are two words that we hear frequently when we are faced with serious challenges. There have been many times in my own life when I have lost my faith and given up on hope. I have taken a hard look back at times when those two words meant nothing to me. Friends and family with nothing but good intentions tried to encourage me during or after a traumatic event with faith and hope and what they said fell on deaf ears. Everyone experiences hard times, health issues, abusive and failed relationships, loss of a family member or friend, financial troubles just to name a few.
For me it was mostly anger and pain that kept me from turning to God to help me through my darkest hours. That’s when my faith was at its lowest, if I had any at all. I also had no hope. It all seemed to me like such a waste of time. I was blinded by anger, hopelessness, anxiety, depression and fear. I know that during those times I treated my family as if they were to blame for what I was going through.
Over a period of 5 years I had suffered 2 heart attacks, near fatal pancreatitis, a stroke and complete kidney failure. To top it off, I was forced to medically retire from my law enforcement career which I had served over 25 years. But one night I had enough. At 3 am I went to my downstairs living room, got down on my knees and gave it all to God. I promised that I would be a better husband to my wife and a better father to my children. I promised that I would rely on Him to get me through this. I stopped the pity party and worked on being positive and faithful. I now had hope.
Things didn’t change overnight but they did improve and continue to get better. I will be plagued with medical issues all my life. I just recently found out that the kidney my wife donated to me to save my life is now in rejection. I will soon have to endure chemotherapy. But my faith is strong and I have renewed hope.
Nothing that is good comes easy. Lessons that are painful are the ones you remember. Prayer is so powerful and it does work. Don’t let anything take away your faith and hope. Give it over to God, completely.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for the trails you have placed in our lives. I pray Lord that we look for you in the trials of our lives to see the blessings and help that you alone can give, Amen.