It was beginning to get harder to ignore. My husband, Tom, of 30 yrs was increasingly agitated and anxious over his upcoming 50th birthday. He kept saying he felt like something was wrong with him physically but, like most men, wouldn’t go see a doctor. What could be wrong? I asked.
He was lean and trim, worked out regularly, rode a motorcycle and hiked mountains near where we lived in Bend, Oregon. Yet he had a nagging feeling something was wrong. Finally, after much prompting by me and Holy Spirit, he made an appointment for a physical. His physician gave him a clean bill of health and declared him a wonderfully healthy 50 year old specimen! Did that assuage his fear? No, it did not. I asked what else could be done to clear this up and he said he needed a chest X-ray. I laughed it off and we went on with our lives until one day when he mentioned that he was occasionally passing blood in his urine! Well, that got my attention and thus began our journey into some of the darkest moments of our lives.
Moving quickly forward with my story (only because it is a very long story and I am going to try to tell a nutshell version), we discovered he had a tumor on his right kidney that was putting pressure on his bladder which was causing the blood in his urine. The doctors identified the tumor as cancerous and planned to remove it within the month. Our world slowed to a crawl and our cries to God became groans and shouts – filled with fear and confusion. At this time we were attending a strong faith-filled church, Bend Christian Fellowship. Many of the members came alongside us to help us walk through this dark and unknowing place, holding our hands and lifting us up in prayer. We prayed, cried and declared truth about God being our healer. We sang songs, gave thanks and worshipped God to the best of our ability.
We have two children – Johnny, who was about 30 years old at the time and Beccah, who was around 28. Our son took the greyhound bus down from Seattle, Washington, in the middle of the night before Tom’s surgery so he could be with us. Beccah was pregnant with her first child and living in Portland at the time. She chose to come after the surgery to help out. Tom was supported by his men’s group and weathered the surgery well. Upon awakening from the anesthesia, his first words were “God is good”. Yes, God was good! Tom was alive and according to our doctors, the prognosis was good, very good, in fact.
October of 2001, Tom came home from the hospital. He had a bumpy recovery but still he survived and began to heal. We celebrated Thanksgiving that year with much joy and thankfulness. Our granddaughter was born just before thanksgiving and Tom was alive and here to enjoy her birth. Such happy days, yet always in the back of our minds wondering if it was really over?
Recognizing that life is fragile and wanting to make the most of our lives, in May of 2004, we moved from Bend to Tualatin to be nearer our daughter and her growing family. We purchased a lovely home on Westfall court and began doing prayer walks around our neighborhood. Our heart’s desire was to live out the rest of our lives sharing our miraculous story of God’s intervention and healing of Tom. We prayed for every neighbor and tried to find ways to share in their lives as we felt God lead us. We were fully invested in this community.
But one September day we were dealt a huge blow. Cancer had returned with a vengeance and it was now lodged in a tumor in Toms brain! I will never forget driving home after this news and pulling into our driveway. I felt like we had been punched in the gut. One of our neighbors was outside working in the yard and normally we would go visit with them. Neither of us felt like doing that. Tom went into the house but I felt Holy Spirit nudge me as if to say, do you only share the good and not the difficult? So I went to them and told them what just happened. They were shocked, yet wrapped me up in their arms and cried with me. Word spread quickly throughout the neighborhood from then on.
God carried us through another surgery, and then another and another, plus countless other doctor appointments and radiation treatments. We had a wonderful group of brothers and sisters in Christ from Rolling Hills Church that walked with us through this season. During this time, through the body of Christ, God made provision for every one of our needs and then some, including a five week, paid vacation in Maui!
Tom lived a full, rich life, and was eventually upgraded to the heavenly arms of His loving Father on April 26th of 2011.
I did not want to live after he was gone.
It took at least two years before I could lift my head and praise God again, and another couple of years before I could even pray again.
God has faithfully been ever by my side, bringing me comfort and restoring my soul. What I have come to know on a deep, deep level is that I have a good Shepherd and a loving Father Who is faithful to His promises, is always watching over me, cares for me, prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies and has blessed me beyond anything I could have dreamed of since that fateful day when I first heard the dreaded “C” word.
My life verse now is “Be still and know that He is God” Ps. 46:10. He is worthy to be praised and trusted to make something beautiful come from the ashes.
Sherri Brown was born and raised in Indiana in a Catholic family and met Jesus Christ in her teens. She was married 39 years before her beloved husband went home to be with the Lord. She has two children, six grandchildren and one great grandson. She is pictured here with her eldest granddaughter and her great grandson.