Thursday, July 2, 2009

For a Friend

It’s been a long time since I posted. Lots of reasons, but mostly I was just not sure that I wanted to continue to spend what little time I have writing stories. But today I feel compelled to write a very short post on one of my very worst days with Tony. In 2005 Geri and I noticed that Tony was having difficulty with his ears and made an apointment to have then cleaned and checked. So we took him to the ear doctor. Just a routine cleaning. Nothing is routine for Tony. A cleaning means taking him to the hospital to be put to sleep and then have them clean his ear canals. But the appointment was made and we brought him in (yes all the usual reactions with the hospital) and the procedure went well and we took Tony home. Several weeks later, we noticed a lump by Tony’s ear. Back to the ear doctor. He said it was just a reaction to the cleaning. But the lump did not go away, got larger. Back to the ear doctor. Several tests. No answers. It seemed to me that because of Tony’s condition, no one seemed too excited about the whole affair.

We received a call and the doctor asked us to come in. We thought it was just anouther test, but not so. The doctor said the lump was suspicious and we needed to have a biopsy done. More paperwork, more waiting. Finally back to the hospital and the biopsy was completed. More waiting. Finally a call to come back in. When Geri and I arrived, the doctor looked Tony over and then he explained to us that they were sure Tony had cancer. Then he said, “it’s not necessarily a death sentence”. He was cold and uncaring. I’m not sure he thought Tony was worth the trouble. When he said those words, it was like someone had belly punched me. I was scared, hurt, angry, and somewhat mad at my God. It just wasn’t fair. Tony has had more than his share of problems. I promised I would never set foot in that doctors office again.

More hospital visits and more tests. Because of all the paperwork, and Tony’s condition, by the time they had their act together, the cancer had spread to his spleen, stomach and lymph nodes.

Prior to this, I was just not affected by hearing about someone else’s troubles. I never realized the pain that something like this brings. It's gut wrenching. No words can really help. Only my faith that God would see Tony through this kept me from being a basket case. Friends helped. Geri was my rock. Brought true meaning to what God meant when he said He made a help-mate for man.

So why this today? I was in the car driving when I received an email from a friend. A friend who had earlier this week lost her first unborn child, and today was the first time she was able to share it. My heart was broken for her and her husband. If I could, I would take all that pain away. But I can’t. God meant it for a purpose I will never fully understand. But I can, we can, support them, love them and encourage them to move forward with life. You never forget. But you learn and grow.

I learned so much through Tony’s cancer experience. Not that I ever want to go through it again. But it has helped me understand the pain others experience when their day is turned upside down and life seems so difficult.

It also allows me to offer encouragement to help them make it. Our God is able. His word says he knows the plans he has for us. And that He will always be there while we experience them. We love our friends and will be praying that this experience makes them stronger, both as husband and wife, and as Christians.


Denise Dykstra said...

It's like that song goes 'you are only one phone call away'...I don't remember how it goes but almost of all of us can put ourselves back to that situation when the phone call (or email) changed our life.
I read this story, hearing it before, got to the end and my heart just sank. I can't imagine...and my heart breaks for that couple.
But here's the other thing....I think you should keep going with these stories. Yup, it takes time. But you are encouraging us all with them. It's your life lessons passed on to us and there are those of us out there that drink this stuff up and learn from it - like us.
So, keep it up!
Good to read a post from you again!

Scott said...

Thanks for sharing, Randy. We all go through the things that God allows so that we can "Comfort others with the same comfort God has given us." I, too, have no desire to go through all that God has brought us through in the past few years again. But I am glad that God has used it to open my eyes to the pain that others experience as well. You are a great friend, encouragement, and loved brother in Christ. I am so glad that God has brought you, Geri, Tony, Elana, and Keira into our lives!

Joanne Sher said...

I have missed your posts, Randy. What an experience. I am praying for this family, and for you.

Praise and Coffee said...

Wonderful, heartfelt-painful words. And so very true.

I'm thinking of the song..."when darkness veils His lovely face, I rest in His unchanging grace."

He is all sufficient...that's the way He wants it.

Hugs to you all,

Mandy said...

Thank you Randy for such a great story. It meant a lot to me in so many ways. We couldn't ask for better neighbors! I can't wait for the next one! (hint, hint)