You just never know.
All these years I have worked closely with cancer patients as a Chaplain. I have often felt as if Oncology was my calling. But when it hits an immediate family member, it's a whole different story.
One thing is for certain, you sure find out who your real friends are. Friends that we have collected over our 27 years of marriage have come out of the wood work. Thank God for the friends and family who have kept contact: my large family - six brothers and sisters; Nat's three brothers and sister; the myriad of cousins and nieces; my friends and colleagues from Memorial Hospice in Santa Rosa, CA; Nat's friends and colleagues; our new friends from The Grove in Hercules, California; and our friends and family on Face Book. We don't know what we would have done without you, and your prayers have carried us through this whole process.
Speaking of your prayers...
I want to share an experience I had with my husband while he was still in the hospital after major surgery. I felt the need to pray for him, and as I reached out my hands to pray for him, the words began to flow out of my heart. But something extraordinary happened - I began to feel a tingling and what felt like chills or an electrical charge in my arms, which came from within my chest. I have felt this before when I have prayed for people, but the difference this time was that after I lifted my hands from Nat, the feeling lingered in my arms. I told Nat about it, and laid my hands back on him and kept praying. As I was praying, it came to me that the prayers that everyone had been praying for Nat were coming through me. I kinda brushed it off, thinking it was kinda silly, but the thought came to me again, and this time I told Nat. When I told him, the power I felt surging through my spirit into his, got even stronger. This all lasted about 10 minutes... this inexplicable, yet very real electrical-like current that was flowing into my husband as I prayed for his healing, comfort, and strength.
It was incredible, and I know without a shadow of doubt that this was real. No one can take that away from us. And that same feeling came back to me when I began sharing the experience with some friends after church on Sunday. They were moved deeply by what I told them and seemed to feel the magnitude of what had happened.
So even though this has been the fight of and for our lives, God's presence and power have sustained us beyond what we could ever imagine or understand... or fully know.
I will keep you posted as the story unfolds, but for now, Nat is recovering from a 11-1/2 hour major surgery that removed his entire colon. He now has an ostomy and cannot urinate. The tumor was removed, which was about 5" x 2.5". But it had grown through the wall of the colon and attached to major blood vessels and to the ureter (the tube that runs from the left kidney to the bladder). They scraped those structures off, but left titanium markers inside so they could target the area with radiation. We are not sure if or how much is left, and whether there is lymph node or other areas that are affected as well. As soon as he is strong enough, they will treat him with chemo concurrently with the radiation for a number of weeks. The pathology report from surgery is pending and we are meeting with Surgeon Dr. Samuel Ooommen to review the results on November 18th. He and Oncologist Dr. Jason Sun will be coordinating the plan of treatment in consultation with a board of Oncologists. The staff at John Muir Medical Center in Concord should be canonized. What an awesome team.
We are trusting God fully as He guides us through this process, and provides the healing that we are all praying for.
Peace and Love to You All,