I’m sitting in ICU, watching my husband struggle to breathe. He’s 48 years old, and he is in organ failure. He was diagnosed with kidney cancer two years ago. During the surgery to remove part of his kidney, they injured his nerves and muscles severely on his left side. He became disabled over the negligence of a hospital. He went from a big, strong man who worked twelve-hour days and liked it, to sitting on the couch in pain much of the time. Yet he doesn’t really complain. He’s always stayed strong for me. Now I need to be strong for him.
Every morning it takes him hours to get going, and by get going, I mean being able to function because the pain has eased somewhat. So for almost two years, he’s dealt with it. Our lives have completely changed, but we got through the hard part. We thought.
Then four weeks ago, he complained of severe pain in his upper stomach. He didn’t want to go to the hospital just yet, he said, and who can blame him after all he’s been through over the last two years.
Four weeks ago, he went to bed on a Saturday night, saying his stomach hurt, and by Monday afternoon, I had fire and rescue at my home with him being rushed to the ER.
He had pancreatitis and double pneumonia. After much prayer and tears from me, he recovered enough to come home after three days in the hospital. For the last five weeks, I have had a different husband. I suddenly not only had a strong man of faith once again but one who prayed over me and asked Jesus to help me with something I was dealing with. His bitterness at his situation left. He opened his Bible. Don’t get me wrong, he’s always believed. Let’s call him a couch Christian. He watches preachers, Steve from ThinkAboutIt, Jan Markell etc, but he hadn’t really studied scripture himself in a while, and he certainly hadn’t prayed over me in years.
After his kidney cancer surgery almost two years ago and his subsequent endless days of pain since then, we began to bicker a lot, especially the last six months. Over stupid things. The sky is blue. No, it’s not, it’s green. But, at the end of the day, we both have never doubted the love we have for one another. I have never in one day of my 29 years with him have doubted his love for me. Not one day. It doesn’t mean he always showed it or that I even felt it, but I knew it. That’s how I feel with Jesus sometimes. I know He’s with me, but sometimes I don’t feel Him… He’s not a feeling, and even though sometimes I “feel” like He’s not there, He is. Like my husband, his love is unwavering.
During the worst of times, we have always leaned on one another. We are true best friends. I’ve watched him change from an 18-year-old kid to a 48-year-old grampa. He’s watched me change from a 16-year-old young girl to a gramma. He hasn’t seen grey yet; thank you, L’Oréal. I’ve told him if I don’t see them, I don’t have them. He has enough grey for both of us. But I like it. I like this old guy I ended up with. He makes me laugh like nobody else.
After the pancreatitis and double pneumonia, he was grateful for his everyday pain that he’s suffered with. Why? He said because he knows now how much worse it can get. To think of him saying that just a week ago, and now he’s lying here moaning in pain and doesn’t even know where he is just breaks my heart.
Tonight, we were supposed to go on a date, one we haven’t been on in years. Since the pneumonia, he said he won’t waste away any longer on the couch because he hurts. Jesus hasn’t given him more than he can bear.
There’s power in a unified, Bible reading, praying together husband and wife. I know there is. I also know my husband and I are powerful together. I think his health has been attacked repeatedly for a reason. When he’s sick, he’s not studying. He’s not praying. We aren’t studying and praying together. And when you constantly hurt, you sometimes aren’t the most pleasant. Like he said, it can always be worse… and now unexpectedly it is.
After my husband came home last month, we grew close again, closer than we’ve been in a long time. We made plans. Plans we haven’t made in a long time. We were the unified “one flesh” again, and Satan didn’t like it. My husband and I are powerful together when we both submit to God as a married, unified couple. While we are both believers and always have been, we stopped studying and praying together like we used to. Until the last month. We were growing strong together spiritually and mentally.
Then my husband woke up yesterday morning complaining of that same pain. By midnight he was in ICU and did not even recognize me from confusion and delirium. He is currently in organ failure and is septic. That pancreatitis apparently never fully healed. We relied on a physician’s word that it had. As he struggles to breathe, I can’t help but think of another physician… one that doesn’t let you down and one that truly heals. Jesus Christ is the physician my husband needs right now.
My grandson is asking for Poppa, my sons are facing the possibility of losing their father, and I’m terrified that I’m losing my best friend, my partner in crime and my ride or die. That I’m losing the man I have spent the last three decades with and who I can’t face one day without.
He truly loves me for who I am, and at the prospect of losing him, I see it so clearly. His love for me over the years. Working when he was sick, going to baseball games on the weekends after working all day, and taking me camping even though I know he just wanted to relax at home and sleep. But I don’t regret that. I don’t regret making him sleep under the stars with me. Or wishing on a shooting star we both saw. I don’t regret seeing him tired but cheering for a base hit. I know he doesn’t either. We would both do it all over again.
There are so many things I do regret over the years, though. The harsh words and the stupid arguments. Those are wasted days we will never get back. Those are days we could have spent holding one another or watching a movie together.
Another thing I don’t regret and never have for a single moment is marrying him. It’s the best decision I’ve made in my life.
He is a wonderful father, an even better poppa, and the other half to my heart.
We live in uncertain times. Scary and dangerous times. I don’t want to face these days without him. How can I? We need God’s strength to get us through, and I know He won’t leave us.
As you read this, I hope it leaves you with one thought above all. That Jesus can save him. Will save him. And then hug your husband or wife and tell them how much they mean to you. You never know when the last time could be. It seems it was only moments, and my husband is fighting for his life. I wish I could give him my strength and my health because I would.
I am thankful for these last few weeks because after the pneumonia scare, he told me just how much I meant to him, and I did the same. Neither of us wanted to ever leave doubt in the other’s mind, not that he ever has. God truly blessed me with a loyal and dedicated man that fears Him above all else. He blessed me with a man who brought His Son, Jesus Christ, into my life. A man that truly tries to love me as Christ loves the church. I’m thankful for all God has blessed us with. All we’ve struggled for.
But most of all, I’m thankful that my husband looked my way on that first day of school.
Please pray for my husband. Prayer that Jesus cleanses my husband’s blood with His own. He is the ultimate physician.
And to my love… I know you will get better; I know you will come home to me.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away” (1Cor 13:4-10).
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes'” (Mark 9:23).