It was at this time last year that Cheryl began to feel tired and suffer pain in her body. That was why we did not pursue the churches that were interviewing us as their potential pastor and wife. A few months later we learned the reason for her symptoms. Cancer – a word that sparks fear in us who hear it. But David was right! “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
In August chemotherapy and radiation began – 25 external radiation treatments followed by 4 weeks of internal radiation in which metal plates and a radioactive element were introduced through her birth canal. These treatments were painful and physically debilitating causing infection and lymphedema in her right leg and forcing us to check back into UW Medical Center 3 times. And yet, as hard as these treatments were on Cheryl’s body, they were effective. They destroyed the tumor and kept the cancer from spreading to the rest of her body. Following the treatments, she was allowed to rest for 6 weeks to rebuild her strength.
Then came the operation on December 19, the day after our first grandchild was born – something that gave Cheryl one more reason to press on despite the pain and live! The surgery was long and complicated. In addition to a hysterectomy, the surgical team had to remove her appendix which was infected and repair the tissues scarred by the radiation. But surgeons’ verdict was that the operation was successful and that we ought to have the highest level of optimism possible.
Yesterday, 5 weeks after surgery, was Cheryl’s post-op exam. The news couldn’t have been better. Dr. Tamimi, UW’s chief gynecological oncologist and surgeon, said she was healing better than most and that based on his experience, there is a 95% to 99% chance that the cancer will not return. Her follow-up exams will be once every 3 months the first year and once every 4 months the second year. He said that it may take a few months for her to get her strength back, but that there is no reason not to expect a full and successful recovery. (Let me add that it may also take this caregiver a few months to regain his strength.)
Thank you to all of you who have prayed so faithfully, encouraged us with get-well cards, provided meals, transportation, cleaning, and handyman help, and have given so generously to assist with our medical bills. We love you for it. Most important of all, we thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has carried us safely through this trial giving us comfort and strength each step of the way. To Him be the glory both now and forevermore. Amen!