3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
Over the past year our family has seen many reasons for our having to go through something as difficult as Bobby's cancer. We have seen spiritual growth in ourselves and others around us, we have had opportunities to witness, and we have learned to be content in whatever situation God puts us in. (Okay--we're learning to be content...)
Now we have a new reason. Last week the social worker from the oncology clinic, Donna, called us to find out if we would be willing to reach out to another family whose little boy has just been diagnosed with cancer. She really wanted to know if we felt recovered enough to take on something like this, and I told her that we are. So Monday night we went out to eat with another family who are just starting out on the long journey of cancer treatment. I have not sought their permission to use their full names on here, so I'll just use first names.
Jesse and Vicky have three children ages 11, 8, and 4. A few weeks ago their lives were totally normal, with Jesse working as a pastor of a local Southern Baptist church, and Vicky working three night-shifts a week as a nurse at a local hospital. About three weeks ago, their oldest child, David, started to notice that his left foot wasn't feeling right. He was dragging it a little, and didn't feel like he could tell it what to do correctly. He told his parents that he was thinking what his foot should do, and it was not responding with the action. This condition worsened over a few days, and they sought medical help. Within a week they had their answer: David had a brain tumor.
Two weeks ago David had the tumor removed from his brain. The pathology report shows it to be an anaplastic ependymoma (translation: malignant, no-good, low-down, dirty-rotten cancer.) The doctors believe they got it all out during his surgery, but this does not mean that there aren't cancer cells hiding in the surrounding tissues. Because of this possibility, he is now facing eight weeks of radiation treatments. This sweet family's entire lives have been turned upside-down.
As we sat and talked with them Monday night, we realized just how thoroughly God has prepared us to be able to help, comfort, and encourage Jesse and Vicky. Bobby was able to answer a lot of questions for David and encourage him, too. We can share experiences, give advice, give comfort, pray with them, and uphold them during this time. It was nice for them to have somebody saying "We know exactly how you feel." It reminds me of last March when the Botelhos came to visit us in the hospital and we shared an immediate bond. There is the bond of brother/sisterhood in the Lord, and the bond of parents dealing with a child with cancer. We really do know how this family feels. We can now comfort them with the same comfort with which we have been comforted.
As for David, he's doing remarkable well. He is recovering from his tumor resection well, and only has residual weakness on his left side and loss of balance. He is starting physical therapy this week, and is also have a spinal tap to check his cerebro-spinal fluid for cancer cells.
How wonderful for our family to see that God will use us to come alongside this precious family and help them through this time. As we left the restaurant on Monday night, we gathered around David as he sat on a bench just outside the door. We laid hands on him and lifted our prayers for healing to our loving, gracious, merciful Father God. Please join me in praying for healing for David.
P.S. His mom is setting up either a caringbridge or a Care Pages web site for him. I'll post the link as soon as I get it.