Life is a complicated puzzle that we never fully understand until the pieces start fitting together. We know what we know when we know it and there are always more pieces to find their place within the grand scheme. As I analyze my brothers 20 year off and on battle with cancer, I realize now how I learned so much about how to deal with this deadly disease mentally and spiritually. I see now that these are the very building blocks of the foundation on which I now stand and face my journey through cancer. The mortar that holds these blocks together has come from my amazing wife who has taught me so much about just how strong I am.
In the last few days of my brothers life, I’ll never forget how she held me up (sometimes physically when I was nearly crippled with grief) She was and is my warrior! Her steady words of comfort and physical touch kept me from doing what I so desperately wanted to do: run. I didn’t want a front row seat to watch my brother die. I wanted to leave the hospital and just…run. It was only because of her comfort and steadfast belief in me and my inner strength that I did stay. I got to say good bye and kiss him on the head one last time.
I see now how she is the mortar that holds the blocks together. The timing of her entrance into my life was perfect. Our paths crossed so many times over the years and we often reflect on how amazing it was that we never connected years ago. We know now exactly why we didn’t. It was all in God’s time. We both had much to learn and experience before we would be ready for one another.
Had one piece of the puzzle changed, the finished picture would be different. When I was finally diagnosed, I had actually been carrying the disease for 7 years! Blood work from 2008, 10 and 12 all show the disease growing in my bloodstream. It wasn’t until routine blood work in 2015 that it was finally noticed. I wasn’t symptomatic. Had I received this diagnosis back in 2008, 10 or 12, I doubt I would’ve ever met or brought Heather into this. I was a mess mentally and spiritually in that time frame. To knowingly bring someone into my battle would (to me) be careless, thoughtless and selfish. I would always be wondering if she was with me just because I was sick and be in doubt of her true love for me. Had I been diagnosed at a time when I was not secure in my faith and who I was, I probably would have considered letting the disease run its course.
More on that later….