9.1 My Story
I thought I was Superman. I believed I could handle anything that would come my way in caring for my wife as she battled Melanoma cancer.
I was wrong.
Over Mother’s Day Weekend in May 2016, my wife started an eleven-month treatment with prescription chemotherapy medications. In less than twenty-four hours of taking her first dosage, her temperature was 104-degrees. She was disoriented, non-communicative, and near death. I was scared and felt helpless.
All three of my children were home for the Mother’s Day Weekend. My wife’s two sisters had flown in from out of state to visit. They had good reason to come.
My wife’s PET Scan in late April had shown Melanoma had spread. It was in her left shoulder, lungs, between her lungs, in her Thyroid, neck, pelvic area, right thigh, and in almost every area of the body except the brain. The oncologist said my wife would have weeks to months to live without chemotherapy prescription medications.
My wife reluctantly agreed to the chemotherapy meds. Within hours of taking them, she wished she hadn’t. She was sure death would be better than dealing with the sickness she was now experiencing.
I remembered the managing oncologist’s instructions as she started the medications. He had said she might experience elevated temperature. Her temperature of 104-degrees plus wasn’t elevated; it was extreme. He also said nausea was common. Her nausea was endless vomiting. I was told to call the doctor first before taking her to an emergency room at the hospital or calling 911 if she experienced these side-effects.
I called the doctor. He gave detailed instructions. I felt like I was now a critical care registered nurse. I felt overwhelmed, incompetent, scared, and responsible for my wife. He had me make sure she stayed hydrated. We stopped the chemo meds for a few days. We adjusted the dosages and their administration.
During this time my wife’s oldest sister’s faith in God, calm demeanor and trust in my caring for her sister guided me through the valley of the shadow of death I knew my wife was walking through. Somehow my bride’s body adjusted to the meds. They were miracle drugs.
Within six weeks, the PET Scan showed no traces of the Melanoma. Cancer stayed in remission from then until December 7, 2017, when the diagnosis of a brain tumor changed everything. My wife never had Melanoma recur anywhere except in the head. Unfortunately, the prescription chemo meds could not cross the barrier into the brain.
During the process with the chemotherapy prescription medications, I saw an amazing peace descend on both my wife and me. Yes, it was a God thing. But it also was a family thing. Having sister’s in law that prayed and believed was a blessing. My children’s belief in my ability to care for their mother also helped.
God’s giving me peace of mind and an ability to keep on keeping on was the key. God is faithful. I can testify that I cried out to God and He was there to walk with me through caring for my wife.
9.2 Real Peace Comes from God
Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness understands that real peace comes from God. Living to care for a person with a chronic disease can leave us overwhelmed.
The endless stream of questions from well-meaning family, friends, acquaintances, and coworkers drains us. We find ourselves emotionally and physically exhausted. At times we need more than rest. We need peace.
As we learn to care for a person with a chronic illness, we realize that real peace comes from God.
9.3 Bible Verse
John 14:27 (KJV), “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
9.4 What the Verse Means
The verse uses the Jewish form of greeting and blessing. Indeed, the hearers understand this wish for peace. Jesus wishes them the same serenity of soul as he experiences. He leaves this availability of this peace with them.
Jesus lets them know his words are not idle or meaningless. He means what he says. His words are true.
Because his words are factual, we should not fear the future. No matter how difficult the challenges are that you face, stand firm. Remember Jesus paid the price for your comfort, salvation, and redemption.
9.5 Prayer Using Scripture
- Heavenly Father thank you for the gift of peace.
- Lord, I pray my heart would not be troubled.
- I pray I would not fear as I continue the battle against the chronic illness.
9.6 Responding to God’s Hope
- Have you asked God for peace of mind? Why not ask now?
- Have you turned your fears over to the Lord? He’s listening even now. I encourage you to start listing them. God will hear you.
- Being afraid is normal. Thank God for giving you the ability to feel and care.
Photo Source: Pixabay
This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.
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