It’s chemo time for my husband Dave, who is fighting a rare stage four intestinal cancer. It has spread all over inside his small intestine and beyond, within his stomach and colon. All biopsy and genetics tests are back. The source has been found to be the appendix. Ironically, it can’t be removed, yet it’s the one organ Dave could live without.
What Dave couldn’t live without, and what our family couldn’t live without; is your prayers. God brought it to my mind, that although Dave’s cancer is a fast-moving, aggressive web, causing deadly damage; prayers are a much more solid, sturdy, and powerful web; a million times more powerful and beautiful than the most intricate spider web.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”James 5: 14-16 NIV).
It’s hasn’t been easy. It’s been very, very, VERY hard! Dave has experienced many tears from the raw, sheer pain of it all; along with agitation, anxiety about pain, anger, and exhaustion beyond exhaustion. In return, our family has experienced surreal shock, sadness, stress, anxiety, tears, fear, and anger. The devil seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.
But Dave has also experienced the joy of Jesus: close family time, short visits from friends, prayers, support, and encouragement. There has been overflowing love in the form of texts, cards, prayers, gifts, meals (with cookies and pie!) offers of help, and family flying in to stay with us and help. These gifts obviously also extend to our family, lifting our spirits, and giving us joy! Our young daughter has been taken in by close friends, treated as a family member, enabling her to enjoy the joyful childhood we desire for her. She’s been to Busch Gardens, sleepovers, the pet store, outings for treats, all day hangouts at friends’ houses, and is receiving free tennis lessons from an amazing coach! The love is overwhelming in the best possible way. Jesus is our gate to safety, so we can live our lives to the fullest:
“Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10: 7-10).
The other day was a rough day. Dave was in a lot of pain, and he was agitated. We had another tough conversation about the future. He’s still taking care of us, even through his suffering. The necessary discussion about future plans made me cry. Then I went numb. I went to run an errand, and when I was almost home, I heard a still, small voice whisper: “Trust me.” I said out loud, “Is that You, God? Because I think it’s You.” And I heard it again; louder, “Trust Me. Just, trust Me.”
I got home, and Dave was feeling better. I got to talk to my sister, and right when we hung up, our wonderful home health care nurse came. She patiently took great care of Dave, and all of us even shared some laughs. Afterwards, my dear friend brought us a delicious meal which everyone enjoyed. Dave ate everything. The timing was perfect. Our day turned around, simply because we have placed our trust in God.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3: 5-6).
The silver lining is the miracles along the way: There was a tumor in the intestine which looked smaller than it appeared on scan, allowing the surgeon to repair, rather than bypass it. We have 100 free home health care visits with a nurse we adore. A huge miracle we received this week, is finding out Dave does NOT carry any of the dangerous cancer genes. This means Dave has not passed any cancer genes on to our children. Praise God! It also means if his cancer goes into remission, it is less likely to return, since it’s not due to genetics. Praise God! Dave has been able to eat food that he likes, enjoy our family time, and be uplifted by short visits with friends. Relationships are being renewed, repaired, and restored. Our family, friends, and neighbors are meeting each and every one of our needs, at exactly the right time.
Throughout our entire lives, our family has gone through some very difficult trials of suffering and sickness. With no family nearby, we’ve mostly dealt with things on our own, leaning on one another. Yet, we’ve always enjoyed reaching out and helping others in any way we can. Now the love is coming back to us in a HUGE way, at a time we need it the most. It’s humbling, yet we are so grateful. I knew we were loved, but when God told me to accept every gift that comes our way during Dave’s battle with cancer, I never expected to be so incredibly blessed!
What a beautiful web of prayers! We are asking, and receiving, prayer for: Dave’s miraculous healing in Jesus’ name, God’s will to be done, little, to no chemotherapy side effects, our family’s peace, and for people to come to know Jesus Christ through Dave’s Testimony. People are sharing our prayer requests with their family and friends, prayer groups, churches, cancer support groups, and online. Readers are sharing this blog, asking for prayers, and sharing the Good News about Jesus! We have brothers and sisters in Christ praying across the United States, and across the world: Canada, India, Ireland, Nigeria, and more! Thank you, God, for these precious praying hands all around the world!
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Heb. 11: 1-3).
Prayer: Dear God, please heal Dave Pelleman, from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet through the blood of Jesus Christ. Help the chemo to shrink the cancer. We know you can heal him without chemo, yet we believe this is part of your plan in allowing him to connect with others who have cancer; in order to comfort, encourage, and lead them to Jesus. Please minimize, or completely eliminate, the side effects from chemo. Protect Dave from further illness and disease. Please continue to give Dave, and our family, “strength through Jesus!” We pray all of this, according to Your will. May many lost souls be led to Christ Jesus through Dave’s testimony. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen!
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Angela Royse Pelleman