Whither Thou Goest…

Today was an especially tough day for our family. My wife, Rachel, underwent a double mastectomy with latissimus reconstruction, and the whole experience has been draining to say the least. Literally. She has two drains that are sticking out of her back, oozing blood into two small bulbs that have to be emptied what seems like every two hours. She’s in a fair amount of pain, but remarkably upbeat. She looked at me not too long ago, smiled, and said, “I have to be completely crazy.”

I think the hardest part of the day, other than sitting beside her now knowing I can do nothing to help but pray and be quiet, was watching the nursing staff take her away at 7:30 this morning. I stood at the end of a white hallway as she rolled out of my line of sight, feeling as though a part of me were going with her. It was as helpless as I’ve ever felt.

It reminded me of a story in the Bible. Jesus is talking to his followers, and he tells them that his mission is going to take him places they can’t go. Peter, the loudmouth one, the one who was fierce and passionate, blurts out: “Shut your mouth, Lord. Wherever you go, I’m goin’.”

Okay – that may not be a literal translation, but you get the drift.

Jesus turns to Peter and basically says: “No, Peter, where I’m going, you can’t follow. Not now, anyway. But one day, you will.”

As Rachel rolled away from me, into surgery, into a future of a radically reshaped body, into a life vastly different than the one we’d known prior to the strike of cancer and the threat of cancer, it was just as Jesus said: where she was going, I couldn’t follow. I’m along for the ride, but I’m not the one experiencing it, and today, for the first time, I realized how lonely and frightening that must be for her. She is courage. She is bravery. She is a survivor.

For any of you who have been touched by the Big C, know this: whether it’s you or a spouse or a child or a loved one or a friend, they go on the journey by themselves but not alone. We may not be able to go where they’re going, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go as far as we can. And then meet them on the other side.

All the best to those of you who are battling, or are supporting someone who is battling. My prayers, admiration, and empathy are for you.

5 thoughts on “Whither Thou Goest…

  1. What an inspiration you both are. Somehow God is going to use what you guys have been thru for His honor. You guys are awesome.

    Love and Prayers,
    Sandy

  2. Jason – thanks for sharing your perspective of Rachel’s plight. I am recently diagnosed as well, and have had 3 surgeries in 9 weeks. I currently have a drain, too, and it is a major hassle but it’s doing its job, I guess. My husband winces in empathetic pain for me, even just changing a dressing or especially removing tape (which manages to take my skin with it).
    Anyway, I’m just a fellow blogger, breast cancer fighter, and prayer warrior. I encourage you to keep writing about your experiences and feelings – many men are reluctant to do so and may find hope in your words.
    Godspeed.

  3. Jason,
    Thank you for posting this insight into your day. I have kept you and your wife in my prayers today and will continue to do so. Your wife sounds like a brave woman. My mom fought the big C and ended her battle 7 years ago. She was strong, as well and I miss her daily.
    ~Meredith

    • Meredith – I am so sorry for your loss. I appreciate your prayers and words of encouragement, and please keep them coming for Rachel. She is stronger than I’ve ever imagined a person could be, and is truly an amazing woman.

      Sounds like your mom was as well. Here’s to them.

  4. Jason, I think God is truly working today. You could ask me a dozen times how i got to this blog and I don’t know. I pray for courage for you. Dan has had cancer. Was diagnosed in 2006. It has been a hard rocky road. Nights I have found myself crying out to God for understanding and strength. It hasn’t been easy, I will never forget the first time I looked in his eyes after he was told. No words to describe it. I remember talking to people about C and Dan and I always said we have an appointment or our next treatment is…..or our next surgery is. From now on you two have officially became one in ways only a cancer survivor or spouse can explain. When you say good night or give her a kiss good bye the kisses will be different and the goodbyes different.
    You are in my prayers. God is good even thru this you will look back and see lives you
    touched at the hospital or how the C made your marriage stronger. By experience you will stand tallest when on your kness, this comes from someone has been there. Love and Prayers, Dan and Rita Wages

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