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The Healing Power of God

December 27th, 2012. I remember that day well. I had finally gotten Bob, my husband, to the VA to see the doctor. He had been feeling very tired but we figured it was due to a stressful fall.

We had gone to Montana to spend a couple of weeks with my dad in October after Bob’s job was done (seasonal). We had a good time, although it was also difficult because Daddy wanted the plane out of his shop. He and a friend had built it (piper cub, not completed) and he wanted it out! We got Chuck over and his son and they removed the plane. We left the end of October, not knowing when or if we would see Daddy again. He was 96, soon to be 97.

Go forward a week.  I got a call from my niece telling me my sister had passed away in her sleep, unexpectedly. She was only 67. She had suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis for years. We took off again to Denver to attend her funeral, spend some time with Roy, her husband, and the kids and grandkids. Her funeral was large, Suzie knew a lot of people and touched each of their lives in some way or another. What a wonderful memorial it was!

From there, we went back to Montana to be with Daddy. He hadn’t been able to travel to the funeral. His traveling days were long gone. He was crushed as this was all unexpected and as everyone knew, this isn’t the way it was supposed to happen. Finally, after spending Thanksgiving with Mary, our sister-in-law and Daddy, we headed home again to Iowa. For three weeks, we hurried to get Christmas together but Bob just wasn’t himself. Some days were better than others, though, which delayed his desire to go to the doctor.  Finally, came December 27th and the doctor.

They sent him down to the lab three times. They didn’t believe the numbers and we were starting to get scared. What was going on? Finally Dr. Greene told us she thought he had AML – Acute Myloid Leukemia – and sent us down to Dr. Shiomoto, the oncologist. She immediately put him in the VA hospital upstairs with plans on moving him to Mercy Hospital, in Des Moines, for treatment because his dad was living with us. If he hadn’t have been living with us, Bob would have been transferred to Iowa City, two hours from our home.

December 28, at Mercy Hospital, chemotherapy started and continued for a month. Not knowing anything about AML, our heads were in a whirl. And to top it off, the local news ran a story of our softball coach, from our small town. He was losing his battle with AML. That was definitely not what we wanted to see.

The oncologist assigned to us was Dr. Lair. After a bone biopsy and other tests, they determined Bob had AML with a FLT3 chromosome – which meant he would need a bone marrow transplant if he got into remission.

I can remember walking down the hall to the restroom, in the hospital, a week or so later. I still had my mask on. Along side of me was a younger man, with a mask and pushing his IV pole along. We started talking. Brian was also suffering from AML and this was his second consolidation treatment to get him into remission so he could get a bone marrow transplant.  The first did not work. A consolidation treatment is a month long chemotherapy, on and off. Brian talked to me about God and how He must have wanted him there in that hospital for a reason. He told me to pray, have faith, tell Bob to eat even if he couldn’t, and to exercise, even if he couldn’t. And he said he would pray for us! Here was this man, pretty much at death’s door, lifting ME up! I think God DID put him there for a reason!

After that talk with Brian, reminding us that God did answer prayers, it changed our focus. Not if but WHEN and God would take care of the rest.

And He HAS!!!  Even though the chances of relapsing were 90%, we trusted in God to get Bob through. And He HAS!!!  No donor was ever found, even though Bob is still on the donor list. But God has seen to it that Bob stayed in remission, even without the bone marrow transplant. Thanks to all the prayers from people far and wide, God has answered prayers!  And today, 5 years after diagnosis, Bob is still in remission!

No, we didn’t get to see Daddy again. After a month in the hospital and a month in recovery at home, we went to see Dr. Lair in March, thinking we could take off right after the appointment. Daddy was fading fast. I would drive as Bob had absolutely no energy. Dr. Lair said no, Bob had to go back in for a week of chemo starting that day. And that would be the way it would be each month for follow up chemo. I had to choose, stay with Bob facing chemo again or fly home. I had to stay.

Looking back, I think that was the plan. Roy, my sister’s husband, and Mary took care of Daddy during his last days on earth. Daddy died at home, just as he wished so many times. I do believe that God had a reason for everything that happened.

And Brian? I learned from one of the nurses on the oncology floor that he had gone on to Iowa City for a successful bone marrow transplant! Praise the Lord!

Learning of a devastating disease can throw you and your family into turmoil. Remember that God is always there to listen, heal, forgive and answer prayer. And even though He does not always answer the way we want, He does answer prayer.  God knows what needs to happen even if we don’t. Trust in Him and He will get you through anything and everything.


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