Things I Love About My Husband’s Cancer Diagnosis
Before you question my sanity, please let me explain.
I cried while I was making eggs the other day. Not because the eggs were bad or the milk was soured. I cried because a thought came to my mind like an arrow. As serious as Rodney’s cancer is, how many more times will I be able to make eggs for his breakfast before the effect of this aggressive chemo rears its ugly head and takes away his appetite and ability to keep food down? How many mornings have I bemoaned the fact that I needed to get up early to cook eggs for his low carb lifestyle? How many mornings have I wished that he could just eat toast or cold pizza from the refrigerator?
One thing (of many) that I have learned in the last few weeks is that a C-word diagnosis changes a person. Not just physically, although that will happen. Rodney is facing multiple challenges in the coming months. More chemo, more scans, more shots, more nausea, more extreme pain as the poison that’s become a part of his body does its work of killing the “bad stuff” but taking the “good stuff” down with it too. SO. MANY. UNKNOWNS. Will he lose all his hair? Will throwing up become a daily occurrence? And how about that tiredness that won’t give up and the realization that putting in a 4-hour workday is a gargantuan accomplishment when you are accustomed to 10+ hour days? What about Reilly’s basketball games? Holidays? Visits with family and friends? Can he preach? Will he feel well enough to come to church? Visiting the shut-ins? Checking on the widows? “Swinging by” to see visitors? Continuing the discipleship meetings he had already established? There is very more to this evil disease than the physical aspect of it.
I have mentioned some things that I dislike about cancer (see the above paragraph for ideas). Now let me tell you what I LOVE about cancer.
I love that everything about my relationship with my husband is completely clear.
I love him.
I have always loved him (for the last 25 years anyway). I will always love him. That’s it. No matter what tomorrow holds. Everything is summed up in this sentence . . . I LOVE RODNEY HOLLOMAN. I love simply holding his hand. I love him being near me. I miss him when we are apart for too long . . . all things that were true weeks ago, but are so unambiguous today. I remind him often that when we were engaged, he promised me an adventure. (I told him that this is NOT QUITE what I had in mind, but an adventure regardless.)
I love that the things that previously may have caused me some angst (i.e. snoring, etc.) are precious to me now. As I type this, I am sitting in the living room of our home. Rodney, being himself, thought that he could conquer the world and went to make some visits. He came home just a few hours later exhausted. He crashed on the chair next to me and almost immediately fell asleep. The sounds of him breathing (albeit somewhat loudly at times) are like sweet music to my ears. Why did it take cancer for me to see this?
And the most important thing I love about cancer is the renewed focus we have as a family to “make much of Jesus” (as Rodney would say). Sometimes we get to a place in our lives where we are content and even complacent. The day-to-day seems to be all-consuming. Ball games, meal planning, Sunday school lessons, worship team practice, work . . . the list goes on. A cancer diagnosis helps put everything into perspective. What things are essential and what things can be put away for a season. I can tell you, that some things I thought I HAD to do…NOPE. Not right now. I guess you could say that serious “bend in the road” gives you laser-focused clarity like nothing else. Our family mission has always been to “love Jesus, trust Jesus, and to live for Jesus”, but it wasn’t until a bit ago that we put it “on paper.” If everything our family experiences in the coming months doesn’t point someone to the One Who loves us like no other, then we have not used our new adventure for His glory as we have hoped.
Lest anyone be confused, I DO NOT have it all together and would never claim to have it all figured out. (Remember I cried in the eggs?) But I know that this is God’s plan for us right now. This season of trial is the path that He has allowed. He will give us the grace to face the coming days.
One of my favorite passages that I often refer back to is found in Psalm 107. The part that I love the most and paints the best picture of a stormy time in my life starts in verse 24… (italics mine)
These (the people who rely on the sea for their livelihood) see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep. For he (God) commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They (the waves) mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They (the people) reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. Then (at their wit’s end) they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he (God) bringeth them out of their distresses (the storm). He maketh the storm a calm so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they (the people) glad because they are quiet; so he (God) bringeth them unto their desired haven.
I take great comfort in knowing that my God, Who allowed this storm to happen in the first place, will “bring us out of our distresses . . . into our desired haven.” Rodney has said repeatedly, “if this is the next thing I get to do for God or if it’s the last thing I get to do for God, I want to do it well, pointing people to Jesus.” We want to make much of King Jesus.