He said, “Sissy, I think my cancer is back.”
I replied, “I know.”
That is where we began approximately two plus weeks ago with the small lesion on his neck. Just the two of us. Husband and wife, ready to fight again. Jay did not hesitate and he picked up the phone and called West Clinic. The nurse told him that if she did not get him in that week to see Dr. Tauer to begin retaking his chemo pill that he took last year. She called back and said he wants to see you Wednesday (March 28). It took everything I had not to go with Jay, but there are some things Jay likes to do on his own.
I immediately felt alone because this is how satan wanted me to feel. I decided to reach out to a few of my friends that I knew would pray immediately for us, who have walked this cancer path, and would support my abnormal feelings. What I received were words of encouragement, obvious questions, and the ultimate reminder that God is in all things no matter what the circumstances may be at the time.
On Monday, April 2, Jay had scans on his abdomen, chest, and neck. Dr. Fleming also did a biopsy of his neck and removed a mole from just below the biopsy on his neck and a mole on his shoulder. Normally, visits at West are an all-day occurrence, but Jay was glad to be done by 10:30 a.m. It’s amazing how West Clinic is such a well-oiled machine. There are days that you can wait to see a doctor for hours, but the quality of care that you receive cannot compare to anything we have in Memphis.
Wednesday, April 4, the nurse practitioner called Jay late in the afternoon. When he called me, I heard it in his voice. It was the tone in his voice that made me want to sit down. The cancer in his neck has returned as basal cell. Both of the moles removed are malignant melanoma. All the nurse could tell him is that they were planning on surgery and they would see him next Monday (April 9). I felt like a balloon that slowly was leaking air.
I remembered that on Thursday, we were scheduled to go to West Clinic to film short messages for their upcoming West Fight On Campaign. I knew Jay would not be “gung ho” about doing this, but I explained to him, this is exactly WHY we need to do this, because I am fighting for YOU.
As I pondered what my short message would be for the West Fight On filming, God began to remind me that HE himself is who is fighting for me…for Jay…for Collin…and for you.
“Do not fear them, for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you.” Deut. 3:22
The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” Exodus 14:14
In addition, my favorite…
“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:29-31
Collin has been trying to decide on his next tattoo (he has Trey’s birthday and Trey’s signature on his thigh). He has said that he wants either Philippians 4:13 or Isaiah 40:31. I have quizzed him about both of these scriptures to make sure he knows them by heart and what they mean to him. As I was turning to Isaiah last week, I realized in 2010 (when he was 10), I had traced his hand print over Isaiah 40:31 in my bible. I shared this with him. I pray that this makes a lasting impression on what I have prayed for him for more than eight years. He also is fighting a battle.
We all fight battles and many outside our own bubble do not know what is going on inside our households. God DOES hold that key. I truly believe that. When I began one of my West messages and had to speak the words that I fight for THREE GENERATIONS that has been touched by cancer, it did not just roll off my tongue. There were several takes because it was stuck in my throat. The thought that the Erwin family has fought (and unfortunately lost to) cancer for over 25 years is overwhelming. There has been ONE constant in our lives. God has never, ever left us. He has never forsaken me. Have things been rough? Have I cried out to God for answers? Of course I have. He is my Father and He is the one who gives the answers. Right now, Jay and I do not know the answers, but we know we have each other and a faithful Father.
Jay and I will see the surgeon on Monday. We know they have a plan for him. We do not know if it includes radiation, radiation and chemo, or just chemo. I do know several things. I WILL continue to FIGHT for my family. I WILL continue to lean on my Father for strength for my family and myself. There might be days that I will not get out of bed, and that is okay. I might even miss church. Nevertheless, MY God will never leave the Erwin family.
You might ask how do you do it. Because we STILL count it all JOY! Yes, we do! Because I remember one year ago today, God showed himself in Trey’s body. He continues to show Himself through Trey and many others. So if you are facing a trial of ANY kind, remember:
- Fight! Moreover, He will fight with you.
- Count it all JOY!
- Give HIM glory in ALL things!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you KNOW the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3