Doubt and hope wrestled for my thoughts. What if the doctor is wrong? Maybe my husband’s diagnosis wasn’t as bad as we were told. Or maybe it was worse. Either way, a second opinion was necessary and Rick’s oncologist encouraged it.
I squeezed his hand as we zigzagged through the sterile hallways of the massive cancer hospital. Its name claimed something good could happen here. What good could possibly come out of cancer, unless it’s defeated? Even at City of Hope, a good outcome isn’t always the case. I took a deep breath and smiled at the patients and caretakers we passed by.
Rick was no stranger to cancer or the bitter methods inflicted on a human being to crush the disease. I don’t know if long drawn-out torture messes more with the body or the mind. Probably both. Cancer can kill fast or slow. Treatment is like that too. But in the end, there is only one conqueror.
Twenty years earlier, Rick endured a violent attack that screamed within his lymphatic system. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Barbaric radiation devoured him to nearly nothing. But he fought hard and defeated death.
Rick had the fortitude of a soldier and the heart of a lion. Honestly, I expected nothing less from this man of valor, who not only beat cancer once but also the dark grip of alcoholism. He was never one to back down from a fight. His courage inspired me to stand firm by him—and for him.
This time the cancer had a different name, a scarier name. The vicious disease swam rampant through his veins and bone marrow like a menacing thief. The battle demanded lethal amounts of chemo and a stem cell transplant to restore his failing immune system. He needed a donor—one that would be a 100 percent match—for any chance to win this one.
Growing up with a brother whose reflection mirrored his made Rick more than just a carbon copy. He and his twin were best friends to the core. But Rick hadn’t understood the implications of being a twin until this pivotal moment. Were they identical? No one knew for sure. It never mattered—until now.
Though I never experienced the dreadful breath of cancer whispering such death threats, I have experienced the mighty breath of God speak healing power into my own fragmented life and decaying marriage. Even so, fear for my husband’s life barked loudly, aiming to shatter my foundation of faith. But God provided something no doctor or pharmacy ever could—His peace.
As we passed through the heavy white double doors, we joked a little to soften the situation. Rick was good at that. Soon, we would know if all the tests proved true.
I thanked God for the cancer. I thanked Him that our battle wasn’t alcoholism this time. Cancer would never have the power to separate my husband and me from each other. Not like the addiction had.
This is my story. From where I stood.