1/5/23 Dave’s Testimony: New Year 2023 ~ Fighting an Octopus… Pain, Suffering & Promises

It’s been a bad day. I hate the devil who is damned himself. I know it’s him wrapping his tentacles around Dave and our entire exhausted family, trying to squeeze the life out of every single one of us. I’m still leaning on strength through Jesus, and I refuse to give up. My God promises to never leave us, which means My Savior is no quitter! “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged’ ” (Dt. 31: 8 NIV).

We both have used The Lord’s name in vain today; a sin both of us hate. Dave confesses to me first. He says it happened on his trip to the ER. About a half hour later, it’s me. I’ve momentarily lost it, while wrestling an octopus. He asks for forgiveness during family prayer time. I forget to do the same, but I’ve already asked God to forgive me. We’re tired, and vulnerable. The silver lining is that both of us are already forgiven through Jesus. We belong to God.

Jake takes Dave to the ER today. I feel a flash of guilt; but I firmly make this decision to look out for my own physical health, which is at risk right now. I’m fatigued from my Sjogren’s flare. I’m swollen because of my inflammatory arthritis. I have mild pain in my carotid artery. My autoimmune and mild heart conditions get worse under stress, and I’m fighting chronic migraine. I have things to do here at home. If I wait until later, I’ll no longer have the energy. Some things can wait, but others can’t. I thank God my twins are adults. One son heads to the ER with his father, and our other son is gone for the same amount of time; about six hours. He’s getting my vehicle inspected, and then stays while it’s fixed; because it ends up not passing inspection.

My daughter and I stay behind to do laundry, make beds, and bathe and blow dry our dogs. I’m so very tired; but the pups are cute, and they make us giggle. These jobs need to be done today. Even with everyone chipping in, we’ve been getting behind. I’m moving like a sloth, but my daughter is a cheetah. She’s moving quickly, picking up the slack. I’m feeling extra thankful she’s a teenager. Everything would be so much harder if our kids were younger. I offer up a quick prayer for my new cancer caretaker mom friends with little ones: God, give them strength through Jesus to make it through this day…

Sometimes the storm comes fast, and we feel all washed up; but God never leaves us hanging out to dry!

The ER visit will be a four hour wait. Dave and Jake head to the oncology center, instead. They have even worse luck there. From oncology, they head to the pain clinic, where a compassionate employee pulls some strings to get Dave in… tomorrow. Dave is suffering, and my son is trying to help him, but they’re just being led around in circles. I receive the news and heat rises up my neck, along with a painful, pulsating throbbing over my right eye… migraine is here. We need some real help. My mind plays the movie reel over again: The ER missing the cancer on Dave’s first few scans, Dave being in the hospital, where; over time, several oncologists admit that the past scans should have been flagged for cancer. I see us back at the ER after Dave’s three week nightmare in the hospital. I see his oxygen stats go down to 60, as his lips turn blue. It hits me that he looks like a corpse, so I bolt upright and run outside, and yell “His oxygen is down to 60!” The nurse at the desk jumps up, and says the alarm never went off. What if Dave had been alone that night? Dave could have died in the ER room when he simply needed some oxygen. Not on my watch! Not on God’s watch! God please watch over the patients who are here without an advocate… Suddenly the oxygen arrives that I requested in the first place. Finally, the doctor arrives. Dave’s being admitted… again.

That movie reel runs in my mind, and I know it’s why Dave doesn’t want to go to the emergency room. It’s gives him PTSD, especially when it results in a long, painful wait; knowing not much will be accomplished anyway. They’ll just send him back home, and the same painful cycle will start all over again. But, we need a CT scan of his abdomen. I believe his extreme muscle pain is due to chemo; the side effect of severe muscle pain which can rear its ugly head six months after chemo treatment. It’s been six months since his last chemotherapy treatment. It’s been exactly one full year of pain and suffering for Dave. We need help.

We haven’t forgotten any of the pain and suffering the hospital has caused Dave. But we’ve been living in survival mode all this time; trying to make it one. day. at. a. time. I think about the people of Ukraine. Their country is at war. They are fighting a battle to survive another day. In war, people move forward; looking for shelter, food, and safety. I offer up a prayer for the people of Ukraine, and I thank God for the silver lining; that Dave isn’t battling cancer during a war with another country. I thank God, that though Dave is severely wounded, he has continued to soldier on.

Dave has been calling to request an oncology appointment, since before Christmas. We’ve been told ahead of time, that a couple of the oncologists (including ours) will be on vacation. We understand this, and we’ve been reassured, actually promised; that if Dave needs anything, someone will be there to take care of him. This has not been the case. It’s now the first weekend of January, and we are still unable to get some real help to manage Dave’s pain as a stage four cancer patient. It’s obviously just left for us to figure out on our own. But we’re not alone. We’ve been walking this road with God; and thankfully God does keep His promises! “God faithfully keeps his promises. He called you to be partners with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord”(1 Cor. 1:9 GOD’S WORD®Trans.).

Photo courtesy: photosforyou

It’s the second spiritual attack in just a few months. I’m realizing that it already started before Christmas, when our washer broke down, and Dave spent the entire day and night in bed on Christmas Eve. Our Christmas was beautiful, and I’ll treasure it always; it was an amazing gift from God. The day after, things started to go downhill, and it wasn’t because we were having fun sledding. I did, however, attempt to ride my daughter’s new hoverboard. The fun was short-lived; I tried to step off, and found myself falling backwards, slamming the back of my skull on the ground… HARD.

Adults, no offense; but hoverboards aren’t for us. Kids adapt easily, but please make sure they wear a helmet and protective gear. Hoverboard accidents are common at the ER. We have prayed, and will allow our daughter to enjoy riding, with extra safety measures in place.

This event was completely traumatic for my family, and for me. Questions were shot at me so fast, it was as if they were coming from a BB Gun. I knew the answers, but I couldn’t get the words out. My daughter held my hand, as shoes were shoved onto my feet, and tied. I heard frantic footsteps upstairs; running to gather keys, my purse and a coat. Nick was ready to go even before they helped me up from the floor. My loyal older dog had been licking my face with concern. I said, “Aw, he’s so cute, checking on me!” I giggled, but my family’s grave faces were not laughing. As Nick drove me to the ER, Jake sat beside me in the backseat. I knew I was in trouble when I asked what day it was. “Mom, it’s the 26th, the day after Christmas.”

“That’s not funny, Nick,” I said. “Don’t joke around when I just hit my head. We didn’t even have Christmas yet.” Suddenly an eerie silence filled the car. Nick’s a comedian, but he wouldn’t tease me after such a traumatic fall… But… I don’t remember celebrating Christmas…. That’s when it hit me… I didn’t remember our most precious family day, and I was terrified. I began wondering why I’d fallen off a hoverboard: Why do we have a hoverboard? Wait… that’s supposed to be a Christmas present… In my mind’s eye, I was seeing my daughter easily sailing by on a hoverboard.

“Oh! I’m starting to remember!” I weakly tried to laugh, but I knew I was trying to comfort my sons, so they wouldn’t worry. They weren’t falling for it. As we cruised down the road, Christmas began to come back to me in bits and pieces. I later found out that Dave, and my daughter Abby, had prayed for me when we left for the hospital. The confusion and amnesia lasted no longer than 30 minutes.

I was badly bruised; left feeling like a truck had run over me. My head and elbow still hurt today. But the CT scan came out clear; thanks to our Awesome God! The concussion left me with a bad migraine, fatigue, and mild speech issues for a few days. I know, without a doubt, that God protected my head and bones. We’ve prayed to God, asking Him many times to send us guardian angels to watch over our family, in Jesus’ name. Yet, I understand the fear, and I’m aware of the terrifying thoughts that flew through the heads of my sons and daughter: Are we going to lose both parents? “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Is. 42:10 NIV).

It’s evening time on this bad day. I’m on steroids; which means insomnia, weight gain and mood swings. It’s not a good combo with Dave’s severe muscle pain, fatigue, and lack of appetite with more weight loss. We’re still believing in miracles; hoping no cancer grows back, and praying for God’s will to be done. I tell Dave we’ve got to get that CT scan. If no appointment opens up, we need to get it done at the dreaded ER. The discussion turns to Fen Ben. Should Dave go back on it? He says no, he’s not going to. I say what if the pain is the cancer coming back, but the Fen Ben is the wipe out cure, and THAT is what God wants us to tell people?

We’re not “religious idiots.” We know God is The God of miracles; but that we don’t always understand his path and plan. We also know that God uses a wide variety of methods for healing. Are we supposed to get the word out about Fen Ben? People have reached out to us to ask about the Fen Ben; but they’ve also reached out to ask about healing services too. If God is shrinking the cancer, could this severe pain be due to chemo paired with months of no activity due to being bedridden?

Everything is so confusing and unfair. It feels like we’re back to square one: ER visits, medical appointments everywhere, insomnia, agony, exhaustion, and no time or energy for anything… cancer. Dave is literally feeling the exact same way he did last year at this time; when no one would listen to him nor pay attention his pain… not until his abdomen became littered with stage four cancer.

Sometimes you really need a change of scenery… no explanation needed.

I’m angry. We have no lives of our own. Everything is centered around the cancer; especially for Dave. There are no plans and no vacations, no opportunities; and no energy to do anything anyway. But I also think about how we’ve given our lives to Jesus. We are a living sacrifice. He died for us, and was miraculously brought back to life. Jesus lives today! The silver lining of our lives not belonging to us; is that our lives remain centered around Jesus. If we suffer with Jesus, we are also rewarded with him. Because of that hope, we have to keep on trusting God; believing there is a reason for it all…. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rm. 8: 17-18 NIV).

The devil wants to discourage us; which is why he comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He’s doing a thorough, cunning, and evil job. But God’s promises are greater, and God can be trusted. It’s a spiritual battle, and Jesus promises to fight it for us.

I realize this is what I’ve been witnessing; the battle between good and evil: seeing darkness flee from light. Two nights prior, I saw shadows and figures moving through the bedroom. I also saw bits and pieces of visions: gnashing teeth and ugly, creepy faces. Evil, dark spirits were hovering over Dave while he slept in fits and starts. They have been threatening his health by trying to steal his sleep… and mine.

Two night ago, I was praying against the evil spirits, commanding them to leave, in the name of Jesus. I saw light moving them away, and the light stood as a protective barrier between Dave and the spirits of darkness. I thought I caught a brief glance of the face of Jesus; a side profile. It looked like he was praying for Dave. There was an expression of sorrow on the face of Jesus; I believe it was for Dave’s suffering. Yet, the face that looked like Jesus also briefly looked my way, with another expression that looked to me as if to say, “I’ve got this.”

That was the same night I stayed up with insomnia until 8 a.m. I’d finally put out a prayer request around 10:30 pm. I needed real prayer warriors, and they faithfully showed up: The prayers helped Dave manage to get through the night. In fact, Dave woke up when the prayers started coming in. He was entwined with light, and I blinked to make sure I wasn’t imaging it. The prayers also carried him into the next day. The prayer warrior relief hasn’t been a one time thing either; it’s helped every single time. There is power in brothers and sisters in Christ coming together in prayer!

Tonight, I see the spiritual battle actually playing out: The ER visit didn’t work out. There was no help from oncology. The pain doctor is tomorrow, but it seems a long ways away. Dave is edgy and defensive, and he’s not being very nice. I know it’s because he’s so distraught, but it’s taking a toll on me. And then comes the part of the conversation that jolts me… Dave tells me that the last couple days he’s been asking God to take him home. My heart slams into my chest. I feel every emotion at once: anger, fear, anxiety, stress, sadness, and guilt. Is there still hope?

I tell him I’m angry, because I’m praying the opposite and so many others are too. I think it explains all the shadowy images and visions that plagued me the night before… a spiritual battle, where I could seee many things, both good and bad, but couldn’t seem to piece them together. Later when I try to sleep, I’m not dreaming when I see the image of a long round tunnel with a man inside of it. I can’t tell if the man is coming towards me, or trying to walk away.

There’s guilt; that nagging thought that came up a couple days ago: should I have let him just choose hospice, and let him be? But I know that can’t be right. I did everything I did by prayerfully seeking God’s guidance, trusting him, and leaning on strength through Jesus… and now Dave’s received the beginnings of a miracle healing! There’s got to be more!

Photo courtesy (crop): walterbruneel888

One of my best friends in the whole world comforts me immensely by telling me it’s Dave’s pain talking. Dave also tells me the same thing later; that when he’s in the worst pain, he just can’t take it, and wants God to take him home. I know he’s suffering badly to pray this way; but Dave has also always prayed only for God’s will to be done. This applies to either living or dying. If the pain is fixable, and it’s not the cancer; then we have hope that the suffering will end. I want to relate to Dave, and let him know I understand this desperate frame of mind. I’ve had times in my life I’ve wanted God to take me home too. One of those times was when I threw up 30 times a day for 6 months, with no relief from nausea… ever. I was pregnant with our twins. I still remember Dave holding me as I sobbed,”I want to die. But I want these precious babies even more!” But there was an end in sight.

That’s what I want Dave to focus on, but I don’t want him to endure endless, needless pain and suffering. If Dave has said he wants God to take him home; he’s struggling beyond belief. Yet; it still hurts, because our family loves him. We need him in our lives, because he is a part of us. Don’t give up, Babe! But I know he hasn’t. He’s the kind of man who finishes the race. He always does. He’s also very well aware of where the finish line lies… in a different place for every single person.

This evening of the bad day, I tell Dave I wonder if this is happening because it will somehow connect us to someone who can also help our son, Nick, who has been suffering with joint and muscle pain for years. He seems to have inherited all of the bad health genes from both of us. We need answers and some real help. We need a lot of miracles. Dave and I talk back and forth, and suddenly everything is an argument. I don’t feel seen or heard, and he doesn’t either. The fatigue is weighing me down…

I want to get into bed, but I’m struggling with putting the freshly washed cover onto the “octopus pillow.” It’s the pillow that wraps around Dave, holding him all night in a more comfortable position. It keeps getting twisted, and it’s the third time I’m trying. Suddenly, I can’t take anymore. I throw the octopus to the floor. Dave says he’ll fix it, but I say, “No you won’t, you’re in pain; I don’t want you to.” It’s not sarcasm. I really mean it; I don’t want him to pull another muscle. I march towards my daughter’s room and ask her to get her brothers from the basement.

“Why?” She asks, and it really is just innocent curiosity.

“Because I say so.” It’s sharp, and it’s something I never say.

She says, “I didn’t mean it like that; it’s just, they’re going to ask me why.”

I say, “I’m about to freak out; can you guys please help put this together?”

She exits with the pillow… fast.

Photo courtesy: Dieterich01

We also ask our daughter to please gather everyone for family prayer. We need it. They all come up, with the octopus pillow put together perfectly. This night, it’s simply a desperate prayer for our whole family. Yet, we still ask God to bless those caring for us and praying for us. I ask God to bless those reaching out to us, others with cancer, and those dealing with pain and suffering. My head is pulsating above my right eye. Now I have a full blown migraine. My health is taking a beating again. I’m so tired. But I still want to fight for Dave.

Late that night, I take some comfort in the fact that my young adult children and my teen are all enjoying a video game downstairs together while Dave and I watch TV to get our minds off of everything. I strive for these small, simple moments of joy; often setting them up for my family when I can, so we don’t go crazy and sink…

I finally fall into a deep sleep… until 2:30 a.m. I’m now in insomnia mode, so I write a bit, and then go into my closet and eat potato chips; which could probably be embarrassing, and should, for every reason, be linked to my past childhood trauma. But the reality is the bag was put in my closet after shopping; and I’m wide awake on steroids, and really hungry, so it sounds kinda fun.

As I’m coming back to bed, I trip and stub my toe. Dave gets all annoyed, and I get defensive.

Dave: “You woke me up.”

Me: “But I stubbed my toe, and it hurts. I didn’t mean it.”

Dave: “But I was sleeping.”

Me: “Well, I’m not sleeping either.”

Cuss words. Hurt feelings. Then it’s quiet. It’s over. Maybe it’s good that we actually have a bit of fight left in us after all; just enough for a stupid mini argument at 3 am. But I know, that we both know; it’s just the tension. I love him, he loves me, and I’m driving him to his pain appointment in the morning. It’s not even worth bringing up again, so I just say “I love you.” He doesn’t even hear me; he’s fallen back to sleep. We tell each other, “I love you,” when we’re awake again an hour later. “I love you,” is all that matters.

It’s been a bad day. But I hate the devil who is damned himself. And I’m not giving up as long as I can lean on strength through Jesus.

Dear friends and family with cancer; you’re not alone. We’re in this battle together. We are fighting with you and praying for you. We are broken with you. I can’t give up when so many have supported us, prayed for us, and cheered for us with every victory that has come our way. We feel kind of helpless right now, and I think it’s okay to feel that way when we’re struggling. I know God’s got us anyway, even though I don’t always understand His path and plan. All I want to really say for now, is a prayer:

God I love you, and I thank you Jesus is waiting for us all. Because Heaven’s going to be everything that earth is not. And God we still want to please you and do Your will. Please forgive us when we crack. Mend our broken hearts, souls, and bodies; and show us the way. You’ve gotten us this far, God. Jesus, take our burdens, carry our crosses, and we will continue following you. Let your light shine through us! In Jesus’ name! 💙

Photo courtesy: CDD20

More on 2023 New Year coming soon. More real and raw moments, something in the spiritual realm I want to share, and scan results. We appreciate your continued prayers for God’s will, in Jesus’ name, as we go through this difficult time. We also humbly ask for prayers for rest and relief to replace Dave’s pain and suffering. God bless you, in Jesus’ name!

Dave and Angela Pelleman in Dec. 2022 at Pa. Sight & Sound Theatre’s DAVID.

Related:

DEEP… a Psalm of Rescue… Hope for Depresssion

Dave’s Testimony 2022: Our Entire Year of Terminal Cancer, Strength Through Jesus, and Trusting in God’s Healing Miracles… A Mini Book

How to Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive Eternal life! If you accept Jesus as a result of Dave’s testimony; please let us know by commenting here; so we can pray for you, and rejoice in having a new brother or sister in Christ!

Posts about:

Pain

Suffering

Depression

Trust

Healing

War

Sacrifice

Some posts will overlap. Just keep scrolling for a variety of topics. I pray God blesses you, as you read posts related to your life. Keep looking UP! Jesus is the silver lining!

I invite you to visit: The Silver Lining Blog. Free subscription, no ads. I write about more than cancer. You can pick a topic, or type any word you choose into the search bar: depression, forgiveness, abuse, poetry, narcissism, rejection, adversity, joy

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Strength Through Jesus Apparel t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts and more; designed by our family, fulfilling Dave’s dream to create high quality, casual, Christ-centered clothing. New artists and new designs coming in 2023, This small business provides our family with a bit of support while on disability. 10% of every purchase supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which provides free medical care for families of children with cancer. We started midway during 2022, and we’re blessed to donate $500 to St. Jude. We’d like to double or triple this for 2023!

Strength Through Jesus Facebook page New designs listed here, blog posts, pictures of real people wearing Strength Through Jesus apparel, and new products. Post your photo wearing your Strength Through Jesus shirt!

2 thoughts on “1/5/23 Dave’s Testimony: New Year 2023 ~ Fighting an Octopus… Pain, Suffering & Promises

  1. gracie1231474 says:

    Dave and Angela — I am praying for your family. Next time those attacks come pick up your Bible and start reading out loud from the Psalms. Psalms 91, 40, 27, 18, and 12. Let the Word of God wash over you and permeate the atmosphere. No weapon formed against you will prosper. All my love — Linda

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