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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

Cancer... from a Husband's perspective

Recalling our date night on Thursday, June 25th, I remember everything seemed normal except for your Nascar laps around our kitchen area. Our sitter had arrived and was wrestling with the kids. We went to dinner and came home. Later that night you complained about your stomach hurting. I went to work the next day, got home the next morning, and we were headed to my brother’s birthday party for the day. Well, Holly was not in a good place. She asked me to come feel her abdominal area and stated, “to make sure I am not crazy”. You laid down on the floor and placed my hand on the area you wanted me to feel and it was obvious at first touch. I thought to myself, yeah that’s different and not normal. I thought it might be a red flag if you feel something in your abdominal area that almost covers my entire palm of hand. I don’t really remember what I said to you, but it wasn’t the most comforting words you have heard since you lost it right there on the floor. You see, I am not a worrier and I think Holly would tell you she is jealous of this about me. There is no telling what was going through Holly’s mind and all I could say was, “hey, it’s going to be fine”, “it will work out”, “don’t worry about it”, “whatever it is, the doctor’s will figure it out and fix it.” As we were walking out the door, she said, “take me to the hospital, I have to talk to someone.” I thought to myself, “on a Saturday? Is this girl nuts?’ “You got to be kidding me, right?’ Then I smiled and said ok, where do you want to go? To make a long story short, she met with her ob/gyn doctor on Monday and on Tues morning, Dr. Smith was removing this white, balloon shaped mass that set up shop on her ovary.  The turn around time from the doctor’s appointment on Monday to surgery on Tuesday was remarkable.  We both know the Good Lord had his hand in this the entire time.  He probably thought, you know what, she is going to stroke-out if this is prolonged, so here, let’s open this door……”does tomorrow morning work for you, my young daughter?”  The surgery went as expected. She was free and clear of this cyst. Nothing remarkable showed from the tests run at the hospital. Hey, I thought, great, tape it up, rub some dirt on it, and lets go home. I probably had some yard work waiting on me, too, so hey lets go! About a week and a half later, we had our bags packed and ready for the beach (her happy place!). One day before we were to start in the direction of Florida, Dr. Smith called and gave Holly some news that floored her. Something like “with further test run, your type of cyst came back as cancerous.” And, “I have you scheduled for an appointment with an oncologist in one hour.” I was running errands in town, getting ready for our vacation when she called and broke the news. I didn’t know what to say. I just told her I am headed home and we will get to the appointment. All this being said, God is actually in control, believe it or not. I can’t explain how the timing of all this worked out. A doctor’s appointment on Monday and surgery on Tuesday. A call from your doctor with bad news to an appointment an hour later to learn how they are going to treat and whip this cancer. I can only imagine how our vacation would have turned out, if you would have had your toes in the sand and received this information. But instead, God took care of the timing knowing this is exactly the timetable you need. It allowed us to process this new chapter in our lives, while we enjoyed his marvelous works of great families, friends, white sand, and beautiful water. Her happy place! Look at where you are now Holly! Your last treatment is today! This thing they call “chemotherapy” is brutal! During your first full week of treatments, I thought this is not going to be bad at all. Look at her, she is upright, walking around, doing her thang! Then the first weekend hit! O my! What has happened to my wife! You looked and felt like death warmed over. This was not your happy place. Mine either! During these few months of treatment, you have had mostly tough days and some that were good. But through this all, you have kept your heart, mind, and eyes on Him. You have been an inspiration to many and most importantly to your family. God has chiseled away many things that we both struggle with. We are both still a work in progress; all for His Glory. I have battled a lot of selfishness during this time. I mean, for Will, twice, to pick the worst two weeks of this treatment to decide he doesn’t want to poop! (Lets get real here, he struggles with constipation) Cap after cap of miralax……nothing…...more caps…..nothing…… are miserable and sick on the couch…..then BOOM! The volcano has erupted! I am now knee deep in 20-25 diapers a day. Come on man! Why me God? This is ridiculous. I admit I struggled at times during these last few months. Carrying the load of our day-to-day life was draining at times, but God was opening up my eyes to my selfishness. All along, He had a plan for me too. Through this, He wanted me to become a better husband, father, and leader of our family. I hate that you had to go through this and prayerful that it never returns, but being able to grow personally was beneficial to me. All kidding aside, well not really, because it was actually 20-25 both times; life is not always white sand and beautiful water. Sometimes, the red flag is flying, the water is nasty, rough, with rip tides that will pull you under. What are we supposed to do? Run away from it all, worry, have a pity-party in selfishness, or constantly question You? Nope! We should call on the Lord, Jesus Christ, our Savior, and if we believe in Him, He will calm those waters and any storm that we may face. I love you Holly and your family loves you so much! I can’t wait to watch and hear you ring that bell! Jesus, this is all for you. “He only is my rock and salvation; My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 62:6

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