My wife and I just joyously celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary however; our lives have not always been so joyous. Three years after we were married, in 1975, my wife, Colette, was diagnosed with breast cancer. For the next 7 years Colette went through surgery after surgery as the doctors removed one piece of her at a time. Time after time, as I sat next to her in the hospital, her body racked with pain, I prayed that God would give me some of the pain she was suffering and to take me instead of her. He never did either.
What He did do was to give us two beautiful daughters while Colette was in and out of the hospital. After our first daughter was born, I would get up in the morning, prepare the bottles, diapers and play area for the day for our daughter and prepare lunch for Colette. Colette would sit with our daughter (and daughters after the second was born) while I went to work and then to school. At night I would come home and fix dinner (Colette would often force herself to overcome the pain of her incisions and surprise me by fixing dinner before I got home). After I got the girls ready for bed (Colette could not lift the girls because she was always recovering from the previous surgery) and we all said prayers, I would study and then we would go to bed starting the cycle over again.
During the entire time Colette fought cancer, she rarely complained. Instead she continued to make plans for when she beat "it". When a friend would come over to console her, she was always be quick to tell them she was doing fine and change the focus from herself to them, often consoling them on issues far more trivial than her fighting for her life.
In 1982, Colette had her last surgery after which she wanted to go to see her sister and best friend in Nebraska. While in Nebraska, Colette's brother-in-law and I went to the Lion's Club which he was a member, while Colette and her sister met with several other women at Colette's sister's house. With the other women watching our daughters along with their own children, I was really enjoying some "guy time" when we relieved a phone call at the Lion's club front desk. Colette had started hemorrhaging.
I raced to the hospital where her sister met me at the emergency room door. Colette had already been taken back and was getting blood transfusion. After I completed the paperwork, I walked into yet another hospital room to once again see my beautiful bride lying, tubes coming out of her arms, her hair full of perspiration from worry and pain, only to be greeted with her wonderful smile and her amazing greeting, "Hi, honey how are you feeling. I'm so sorry I ruined your evening!"
About 10 minutes after I arrived, I needed to talk to some of our close friends, Doug and Sue. We called them and told them the doctor had told us that Colette was "bleeding out" and that she would was going into emergency surgery. At the time we did not know that after we hung up, Doug and Sue began calling everyone we knew and told them to start praying for a miracle.
The surgeon arrived and removed Colette's packing. After examining her, he excused himself returning a few minutes later with another physician. Having grown to expect the worse I sat holding Colette's hand in open terror. Colette, always caring about others more than herself, told me everything was going to be alright.
As the doctors examined her again, she arched her back in pain until they were finished. The surgeon told the nurse to change Colette's blood soaked bedding and once again excused himself taking the new doctor with him. Several minutes later they returned and said, “We want you to stay overnight for observation but we cannot find where you have been bleeding."
The next morning Colette checked out of the hospital and through God's grace, Colette's determination and positive attitude, she had been cancer free for the past 27 years - our friends prayer for a miracle had been answered.
I leave you with three thoughts. First, never under estimate the power of prayer regardless of how hopeless people of this world tell you your situation is. Second, if you are passing through a tough time, God is present and waiting for you to ask for help. Finally, guys are all too often wimps. When our wives get into trouble we look for a way to move on leaving them to fend for themselves. To those who have been cowards and walked away from their wives when they were suffering may you rot in Hell. For those of you husbands that are man enough to abide by the covenant that you made with your wife and God, you will be blessed in more ways than you can imagine.
God Bless you all,
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