My latest story on FACES is about someone who I have known for a while now, someone who started his own journey with cancer shortly after my husband started his. There is no doubt that the Lord crossed our paths and our lives would forever be changed because of it.
His name is Eddie and he was diagnosed with AML, Acute Myeloid Leukemia in August 2010, just three months after my husband's cancer had returned. AML is a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow, and is the most common type of acute leukemia. More than 11,900 new cases occur in the United States each year, mostly in older adults.
Eddie had started feeling really tired, but like most of us do he chalked it up to being very busy. After all, he had a very busy summer, which included a missions trip to Thailand. But when a mouth sore just would not heal, and at the urging of his wife, Kelley, he went to the doctor. After a series of tests, and a very frightening trip to the ER, which resulted in a hospital stay, the results were conclusive and confirmed that Eddie had AML.
As you can imagine and as with many that get this diagnosis, Eddie was shocked, in disbelief, and just felt sadness and fear. He says his wife shed a lot of tears those first few days.
As I write this I cannot help but to think about the many times we were all at Mayo hospital together, them on one floor, us on another. One time in particular, we by chance ran into Eddie and his precious wife in the lobby. I took one look at her face, and I saw that her eyes were filled with tears. We huddled in circle, holding hands, and began to pray for God's supernatural peace to flow throughout us right there in that Mayo lobby. It certainly did! I am not sure that I ever told that dear couple how thankful my husband and I were for that moment and that prayer time.
One question I always ask is: How do you feel like this has changed you? Eddie said "I think it has made me appreciate what's really important that much more...especially the time with my family." Eddie goes on to say how he felt like he had missed out on so much like his son's 3rd birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas because he had to spend so much time in the hospital, including one stay which concluded with 100 days in isolation after his bone marrow transplant.
Eddie also shared how it was one of the most powerful examples of answered prayers he had ever experienced firsthand. I wholeheartedly agree with Eddie! When you have walked hand and hand with the Lord in the valley of cancer you become transformed and you will experience the power of prayer in your life like never before. Not only is cancer a physical and emotional life changer...it is a spiritual one as well.
Both Eddie and Kelley shared how the wonderfully kind and gracious support from so many of their family, friends and church family was a constant reminder to them they were not alone and gave them so much strength.
I asked Eddie to explain if someone did not know you, what is the one thing you would want them to learn about you through this story? Eddie said that they had always believed the commonly quoted idea, "God never gives you more than you can handle." Interestingly, he looked, and this is actually not found anywhere in the Bible. What Eddie did find, however, was that God will never give you more than He can handle." Eddie shared how that gave them such great comfort. He went on to say that if we fall into the mindset of believing that it's about what "we" can handle, we start to think, "I must really be something special because God gave me such a big obstacle!" Eddie emphasized that it is ultimately not about us! It is about God and how He will see you through. He does not promise an easy ride or a happy ending, but He does promise to be there every step of the way.
I am more than happy to report that Eddie is now cancer free. Thanks to an anonymous donor through the BeTheMatch.org organization, a perfect 10/10 match was found, and he underwent a successful bone marrow transplant. In fact he recently celebrated his one year mark! Congratulations Eddie and family!
I cannot tell you how thankful I am for this family and the journey we shared with them. Though at times a very painful one, still one I know that God had so sweetly woven together. Each enduring our own level of suffering with our loved ones brought on by the sharp sword of cancer, but yet praying for and encouraging one another just as Christ would have it. I always believe if we look hard enough each day we will find a "nugget" that God has sent to us, big or small it is there! This family was definitely a "nugget" of joy on our journey.
I want to end with something Kelley shared with me. She said cancer brings much fear, and what is the opposite of fear? Peace. Perfect love. Security. Courage. God is the author of these beautiful things...and only God.