A Night of Pain

What was that sound?  Did I really fall asleep?  I can’t do that!  He needs me.  Wake UP!

It was the middle of the night.  Jeff was groaning on the couch in the bedroom where we were staying at his parent’s house.  He had had his colonoscopy that morning.  It had been anything but routine.  They had taken a biopsy but said there was no need to wait for the pathology report – it was without question cancer.  The mass appeared large and was located at the cecum – where the large and small intestine meet.  The mass left such a small opening in his colon that they didn’t know how anything had been making its way through.  It had been an extremely painful procedure for Jeff.  My stomach churned knowing how easy it would have been for someone to give him a little more medicine so he wouldn’t have felt a thing.  Instead, he could recount to me the graphic details of the procedure.  And now his pain was worsening.  Calls to Omaha had been unproductive.  “Yeah, it will probably be a little sore.  No need to call unless he gets a high fever.”

I got myself out of bed and went to him.  “Hey, let’s go to the E.R.  You need some help.”

“No.  Sit down by me for a minute.”  He was starting to shake.  He took my hand.  “I think I’m going to die.”  “Yes… you might.”  “No, I mean now.  Soon.  Before I have surgery.  I think I’m going to die.”

Ours hadn’t been a fairy-tale marriage.  It had been real.  It had been life.  We had to work through things – they didn’t all come easy.  And now, in the span of about three weeks we had sold our office building, had an accepted offer on a new one, been diagnosed with terminal cancer, closed the practice, left our home 12 hours away and were living out of suitcases.  We were looking at colon surgery, liver surgery, chemotherapy, and many unknowns.  If you were adding up the stress score of our lives, it was high.  We had started our marriage without God being the center, making things all the more difficult.  But we had stuck it out.   Jeff was proud, I was stubborn, and God was infinitely more full of grace.  We had not only survived, but we had made countless incredible memories of happy times and had two beautiful children.  We were back on the road with our loving God who had never left us.  We had been walking with Him a few years now.  We were growing in Him.  And He is good.  We had learned to work through things before.  Cancer gave us the opportunity to learn to do it better.

Jeff wanted to talk about some of the things that hadn’t gone so smoothly.  He wished they had been different.  He was sobbing now and I was holding him tight, mingling my tears with his.  We stayed there until his storm passed.  Then I got up and put his shoes on.  “Let’s go now.  You need help.”  We left the house and I sped down the deserted roads as fast as I dared in the dead of night, my husband trembling in pain beside me.

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