14 God is Good
14.1 My Story
I remember Sunday, December 3, 2017, well. My wife had not been feeling well for the previous two months.
It started in early October when she worked a week of nights doing a stock reset. She worked retail for the big box store headquartered in Arkansas. I recall her commenting that she usually didn’t mind working a week of nights. This time she lacked her usual energy. It was a real struggle for her.
We spoke after her first night of work. She said the bosses were messing up. Specifically, she mentioned they had printed signs that had left off the last two or three letters of words.
She wasn’t happy with my one-word response of “really.”
She said that when she mentioned it to the manager on duty, he acted as if she was crazy. Even as she insisted something was wrong with the sign, the manager on duty said the signage was okay and ignored her comments. She was told to keep working.
A week later she flew to Denver, Colorado for a week of rest with her two sisters. They met at her older sister’s home in the metropolitan Denver area.
Her younger sister flew in from Tennessee to join in the reunion. Miss Benita had made it clear my presence was not needed or wanted for this week.
While in Colorado, my wife got sick. It was her usual nausea, vomiting, and something new, a headache. She went to see a doctor.
The physician told her to take to her nausea medicine and let her doctor know about this spell when she returned home.
Once home, the symptoms lessened. Miss Benita did not see her doctor or call the oncologist. She had a PET scan scheduled in a few days with a follow-up visit to the oncologist so she would let the doctor know at that time.
She saw the oncologist in early November. The PET Scan was just a body scan. They did not scan her head.
The body scan did not show any Melanoma. It only showed the other cancer Miss Benita had (yes, my wife had two different types of cancer), the neuroendocrine carcinoid. It had not changed. She mentioned the nausea spell on her recent trip to Colorado.
The oncologist commented that while flying and high elevation caused issues in persons with brain tumors, her last brain scans six months earlier had not shown any cancer. He mentioned if she didn’t have the neuro-endocrine carcinoid which had been a cause of her tummy distress for years, he would lean toward the Melanoma having spread to the brain.
He decided to schedule a brain scan which after the paperwork, insurance company initial denial, resubmission, and final approval was ultimately planned for the week after Christmas.
By the Friday after Thanksgiving, Miss Benita was having severe nausea issues. She went to an urgent care facility seeking relief. She passionately declined me taking her to the hospital’s emergency room fearing they would hospitalize her.
The urgent care facility encouraged her to see her primary care doctor on Monday and to call her oncologist to update him.
Miss Benita felt better on Monday. She decided against going to her primary care doctor. “I can’t run to her every time I hurt, or I would need to move in her office,” she said.
She was feeling better when home by keeping the lights turned off, and the windows closed with blackout curtains. Any television or music had to have the volume turned low.
At this time she also mentioned to me that my latest book “Thy Will Be Done: 60 Prayers for the Chronically Ill” wasn’t edited very good. She said some sentences aren’t complete. It just seemed like words are missing.
Her words had me remembering her comments on the store signage from early October.
I double checked, and the book’s editing was excellent. Miss Benita became frustrated when I showed her nothing was wrong with the editing. I probably should have just acknowledged her comments and said I would look into it. Instead, I had to prove the editing was good.
I made my point by showing her if I moved the page; the missing words would magically appear for her to read.
I asked if she was having vision problems. She again mentioned the signage at work from back in early October with letters and words missing.
I suggested we tell this to the managing oncologist and schedule an eye exam. We called and left a message with the oncologist answering service. I also made an appointment for an eye exam for her later in December.
A few days later on Sunday, December 3, 2018, we attended Sunday morning worship and Bible study. Miss Benita commented that in spite of the loud music, the church is the one place she feels perfectly calm. She added that her upset stomach vanishes when in worship services at church. A remarkable peace seems to wrap its arms around her. She feels healthy, not sick, and her heavenly hope engulfs her.
On the afternoon of Thursday, December 7, 2017, she called me from the doctor’s office parking lot. She had driven herself there from work. She needed help to get from the car to the doctor’s office. She added it had taken her at least ten minutes to get the cell phone to work right where she can call me for help.
I am scared and worried. All my senses and intuition are screaming. I know this is bad. I dash to the parking lot which is just a mile from my house.
She sees the doctor. The physician immediately sends her for an emergency CAT Scan of the head. The physician whispers to me that she is sure Benita has a brain tumor.
The CAT Scan confirms a large brain tumor.
Miss Benita and I pray. The CT Scan people have us in a conference room where we have a speakerphone that allows the primary care physician to explain the results. The lady at the CT Scan facility is crying the entire time. The doctor tells the scan showed a massive brain tumor, and we need a category one certified brain trauma facility ASAP.
We go immediately to Presbyterian Hospital Plano which is a certified brain trauma facility.
The surgical neurologist removed a malignant Melanoma cancer tumor from her head. It was in the part of the brain that impacted her vision and the area that controlled nausea.
The managing oncologist told me if he had known of the brain tumor Miss Benita shouldn’t have flown in October and certainly should not have gone to high elevation in the Rocky Mountains.
The size of her tumor leads him to believe she had it in October and her being at high elevation caused her sick spell that month while in Colorado. He said getting records from her primary care doctor helped him get the total picture. Miss Benita had mentioned the vision issues only to the primary care, not the oncologist as per the records.
The oncologist said her flying and going to very high elevation probably caused brain swelling. Being at higher altitude caused her being sick in Colorado. The brain swelling reduced when she was back home at a lower height of 595 feet, and she felt better.
Well, I could go on and on with what ifs. What ifs lead to regrets. Regrets can lead to sadness and depression.
Please, don’t go down regret row. You won’t enjoy the journey or the destination.
The bottom line is as my spouse’s illness worsened it seemed that the only time she was in a state of nirvana was when she was in church, listening to Christin music, or reading or having Scripture read to her. I’m not saying what will work for you or your loved one. I am testifying to the Lord being Miss Benita’s stronghold and her place of peace and comfort.
Her experience also shows how difficult diagnosing and treating a disease can be.
14.2 We Need a Safe Place
Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness realizes that sometimes we need a safe place. We need a place of refuge. A Christian has such a safe place of refuge in God.
The same God who was powerful enough to create the heavens and the Earth and who could destroy the world with the flood in Noah’s day is compassionate, kind, and charitable. He is an unquestionable harbor of protection to those who worship and serve him. He is good. Because of his goodness, the Believer is never ignored or deserted by him. God accepts, keeps, and preserves the Believers of Jesus Christ.
14.3 Bible Verse
Nahum 1:7 (KJV), “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
14.4 What the Verse Means
But though God is steadfast in his power, yet he is merciful, gracious, and benevolent. God is a sure refuge and protection to those who know him as their Savior, worship him, serve him, and put their trust in him. He knows and pays regard to all such so that they are never overlooked or neglected by him. As such, God approves, owns, and preserves us.
14.5 Pray Using Scripture
- Heavenly Father I praise you for your goodness.
- Thank you for being my stronghold in the day of trouble.
- Thank you for never neglecting me.
- Thank you for your provision.
14.6 Responding to God’s Hope
- Are you going to the Lord God in your day of trouble and every day?
- Remember to read God’s word regularly. There is comfort in God’s word.
Are you treasuring the days you have with your loved one? Whether the day is good or bad, it is the only one you have. Enjoy the day. Enjoy your loved one. Time slips away, and soon you’ll only have the memories.
Photo Source: Pixaby
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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