Friday, September 13, 2013

Quitting Cancer

Dear God,

I want to put in the word today that our family would like to quit Cancer. I am writing to ask that it resigns officially from our lives and that it no longer takes place at our residence. I'd like it to move outside of Ryan's body and prefer it happens immediately if that is part of Your will.

I have many reasons why I'd like it to quit and have Ryan back to normal, and I hope that You will hear me out. I've been thinking about this for quite a while.

First, it makes me angry. I'm so upset seeing Ryan dealing with constant fatigue, back pain and the after effects of chemo. Ryan doesn't want any of us to go to the hospital every other week so he can get treatment. We are super grateful that he even has the option of treatment -- we're not denying that we appreciate that You have provided help through City of Hope. But I don't want him to be going through this difficulty anymore and I want to ask that You to take it away.

Second, it makes me sad. I know he misses spending time with us, his friends and family, as well as doing his work. He wants the energy to work long hours, come home and play with Talitha, then just relax or do something fun. He wants to have his full attention on the sermon every other week when he's drained of energy because of the chemo. He wants to take care of the yard like he used to, and even though he won't admit it, he wants to be dragged kicking and screaming to all those BBQs, birthday parties, and co-ed baby showers that we can't attend because of his chemo schedule. Okay, maybe he wouldn't attend any more baby showers, but still. It would be nice to have the option. I don't want to be sad about missing time with Ryan anymore.

Third, I am frustrated. I haven't found a balance between motivating him to feel happy and look forward to the future and just looking at today. It's a painful way to live without hope for the future, which is the cause of his depression. He doesn't know if he'll be here for Talitha and I and that makes him terribly sad. So many people tell us to "take one day at a time" but that is so easy to say and so difficult to do. I know Your word says, "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Yet in many other places you talk about having a future and a hope. Living with a Cancer diagnosis is sometimes a frustrating place to be.

Fourth, I have fear. I have watched many others die from this terrible disease. It's hard not to think about the looming specter of death that a stage 4 cancer diagnosis brings. I have been searching for others who have beat this dreaded disease over the past year and a half and there are some, but they are few and far between. I am grateful for the few we know who have lived for years, full lives with their eyes on the future that You have gifted to them. It gives me hope and reminds me that "nothing is impossible with" You! I don't want to be afraid of Ryan dying from Cancer and want to cling to Your word that says to "Fear not."

Fifth, I am out of my comfort zone. I never envisioned myself being like a nurse, yet it seems we are often in the hospital and Ryan must deal with one medical procedure or another. Recently his port got infected and he needs IV antibiotics for two weeks, which will delay treatment. After he was released from almost a week in the hospital, and two minor surgeries, the nurses came to our house to show me how to administer the IV drugs to him through his new picc line. I haven't ever thought of myself as needing to support and help Ryan this way. I am very weak in this area and feel totally afraid of messing something important up.

Sixth, I feel helpless.  When he's on chemo, he feels so sick that I don't know what to do with myself. Sure, I take care of the baby and the house, and You have graciously provided for someone to take care of the dog and the yard during these times. But he is so sick that he needs to rest and recuperate for days on end. All I can do is watch and pray. He says I can just sit quietly with him, too. Yet I feel like it's never enough.

Lastly, I am emotionally exhausted. I am so grateful for the wonderful friends and family members who have listened to us, shared our burdens, and offered a helping hand. I am thankful for the tangible as well as intangible gifts we have received over the last 18 months, from meals, to baby clothes, babysitting, and quality time. But I'm tired and want this part of our lives to come to a close.

So that's why I am asking Cancer to quit our lives. Yes, I know it's done some good things. I see how it's brought restoration to the broken relationships in our lives and has given us new friends too. Ryan's diagnosis has helped us focus on only what's important. We have met people we wouldn't have otherwise met, started praying more, getting involved in church more and building a deeper relationship with You and others. People we don't even know have come alongside us, walked with us and have helped us in so many, many ways, like our church finishing our kitchen remodel for us, strangers bringing us meals, and people driving Ryan to and from Bible study. I know Ryan probably would not have even joined an evangelism class had it not been for his Cancer. And I probably wouldn't have started to learn about how to cook healthy meals either.

But I want to be "normal" again, Lord.

I'm writing to You and asking, pleading with You -- perhaps even begging, that You take this Cancer from Ryan. There's so much my husband wants to live for and it would be so much easier for him to do it if he didn't have the fatigue, infections, ill-health, chemo and pain. You, only You, have the power to take it away, which is why we're asking for You to do just that.

Lord, we are grateful that You have given us the gift of the past 18 months and hope for many more years together. We have plans to have more kids, travel, spend more time studying Your word and enjoying fellowship with other people. Ryan's doctors say he will need chemo the rest of his life, but we're asking for a miracle healing here because You tell us to keep asking for what we want.

We ask that the Cancer resign its post and just goes away. Please, God - make the Cancer quit.

We love you, Lord and ask all these things in Jesus Christ's name,
Anna