I believe in the Rock of Ages and that helps so much.
June 1st 2012 my husband, Charlie was diagnosed with cancer in his bladder. We were at a car show, dancing to big band music, enjoying friends in the community and looking over the cars when we decided to head out for another event. I needed a sweater so we headed home. Charlie went to the bathroom, and told me, “I think we have to go to the doctor, there is blood in my urine.”
As we drove to the clinic, I knew it was cancer as Charlie never complained of symptoms of a bladder infection. By Monday we knew it was cancer. The tumor was small, about the size of the nail on the little toe.
By mid-June there were 15 tumors and they were sized from a small pea to a small lime. The specialist scraped out the tumors and put in some medicine. We went back 6 weeks later there was one large tumor the size of a small apple.
And so the battle began. For the next year Charlie did cystoscopies every 6 weeks. The tumors just kept coming back, larger and harder for the doctor to scrape. Charlie would tell people, “Just call me the Cysto Kid” pulling out imaginary guns to shoot.
Three specialists, 3 hospitals later, finally, Charlie had to have the bladder removed. It was booked on my birthday, July 17, 2013. “That man would do anything to get out buying me a birthday present,” I would tease.
He would respond, “I am giving you a major organ, what else would a girl want?”
For the past year, I prayed, but when Charlie went down the hall to surgery I didn’t have to pray any longer. Everything was in God’s hands, the surgeon’s hands and there was nothing to do but wait. While Charlie was being operated on, they found a tumor on his right kidney. The doctor sent out his nurse who asked me what to do. “Let’s take it… let’s get this thing over with.”
The day after surgery, while Charlie was waking from a nap, his heart went into defibrillation. It was only for 48 seconds but it was enough to take his heart murmur from working at 75% down to 45% in those few seconds.
But for the next six months we went on with living in Columbia Tennessee. I went to work- and we attending meetings and events with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, American Veterans, Maury County Fair, several food pantries. I worked a part time job with the Maury County Health Department as a spokesman for TENNder Care.
April 2014 we went in for Charlie’s 6 month checkup and found the cancer had moved to the lungs. My grandmother (who was a surgeon) always told me that if it was possible - cut out the cancer. I had suggested to Charlie to have the bladder removed a year before. He wanted to fight the cancer… and now it was back.
As we drove back from Vanderbilt I again asked Charlie to think about lobbing off the lung. My grandfather lived for 10 years with only a half of one lung. But in March the cancer had gone- once again - from three small tumors at the bottom of the lung to almost 20 all the size of grapes. To add to that his heart was failing. So Charlie was in a catch-22. He couldn’t have the heart fixed because the cancer would have run rampant. He couldn’t do chemotherapy because he had one kidney and further stress on the heart.
Charlie had 6-18 months. Charlie made a bucket list and so many friends and neighbors came out to a benefit concert to help raise money so Charlie could see old friends back in Florida. He visited with cousins and said good bye. Then they went to Texas to fulfil his last wish, to put a marker on his Gr Gr Grandfather’s grave who was a Confederate Veteran and hero after the war in Marshall Texas.
When Charlie passed, “from my old address to my new one”, one of the last things he asked me to do was to get a full time job. A couple weeks after Charlie passing, I did get an offer for a full time job. After 12 weeks I was a wreck, and with doctors’ orders I had to quit. I was stressed, losing over 75 pounds in the 3 months since Charlie passed. I was stressed, depressed and alone.
I did what people suggested, I applied for food stamps but at the time I had $500.00 in the bank ‘saved’ up for the rent. I couldn’t get unemployment because the letter the doctor wrote was so convincing the state replied that they were denying benefits because I would never be able to be employed again. I filed for help with rent and electric but again, I would have money in the bank saved to pay the bills and it was counted against me.
Since then friends have helped along the way paying bills, food, gift cards, prayers and words of encouragement. For the past month I have had a part time job as an executive assistant for an engineering company. It pays minimum wage and will cover the small bills, but rent, cell phone (which I has had to turn off 2 times) and electric.
The Lord has been gracious to provide all the while. Sometimes I knew it was coming sometimes not. All were amazing. I have just a few months to go until I am employed full time. Again, I watch God work his work. He is amazing, isn’t he? So I am caught up on what has happened the last 3 years… I will tell you more in the next blog.