This is probably the hardest blog post I have ever written. As several recent posts have hinted, there have been some challenges in the Hunnell household. Nearly 26 years ago, I promised to love, honor, and cherish my husband in sickness and in health. I can tell you that today I love, honor, and cherish him far more than I did 26 years ago. And the immediate future looks like there will be more sickness than health. My husband has just been diagnosed with lymphoma. His first chemotherapy session is this coming Wednesday. This came out of the blue. There was no prodrome--no night sweats, weight loss, fevers. In a matter of 15 minutes he went from perfectly okay to in excruciating back pain that looked for all the world like a kidney stone. A trip to the ER revealed no kidney stone, but big lymph nodes in the abdomen. For the last three weeks we have been going through the diagnostic process. After scans and biopsies of every stripe we have a diagnosis and a treatment plan. We have also been praying.
I have pondered how much to share here. This is my blog and I don't want to violate my husband's privacy. I don't want this to be a reality show of our experience with cancer. However, there is much about being a Catholic family dealing with this situation that I do need to share. As a physician, I have taken care of many patients with cancer. I always shuddered at the thought of cancer striking my household, anticipating I would just collapse into a non-functioning heap of tears. What I can say, is that there have been a few tears, but there has been an even greater outpouring of grace and love. There has been strength in unexpected quarters.
My rosary has gotten quite a workout. The saints have been petitioned. Blessed Fr. Francis Xavier Seelos is a regular prayer partner. And rather than feeling abandoned by God, we feel buoyed by Him. My husband received the Anointing of the Sick two days ago. The priest emphasized that this cross is not a punishment from God. Rather it is an opportunity for God to bring forth much goodness if we cooperate with Him. The meaning of the words, "Thy will be done" has never felt more poignant. There is a temptation to try and pray our way out of this difficulty. We are learning to focus on praying our way through this difficulty. Certainly, I will never stop asking for healing for my husband. However, I also know that the healing will be on God's terms and in God's time, not mine.
So, if you feel so inclined, please join me in prayer. And remember, that life is good. Life is precious. Every day is a gift. Live each day with a grateful heart.