Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Looking back...

I walked out of the hair salon into the cold weather feeling relaxed and loving my new hair cut. As I jumped in the car, I reached for my phone and noticed there were 4 missed calls! I am not usually that popular, so my heart instantly started to race. Patrick had gone that morning to have some back pain checked out at the doctor's office, but I didn't think he would be done before me. I dialed his number as fast as I could and was shocked to hear him calmly say,
"I just wanted to let you know I'm headed to the emergency room to get an x-ray, but it shouldn't take long."
Did he think I was going to just drive on home and wait! I sped off and pulled up at the hospital right as he was parking. It was one of those drives where you look back and can't remember any stoplight or even getting off the exit. Patrick was calm and being the usual jokester that he is, having way to much fun in the de-contamination room (the doctors got nervous when they found out he was in Cuba 2 months before*) When he went back for some tests, I tried to find food for him in the lobby because he hadn't eaten lunch yet. I walked back to the waiting room and tried to open a Coke, when it exploded and spilled all over the waiting room floor! Obviously, I couldn't hide my nerves. They called me back when he was done and told us they had found an abnormal mass. The doctors couldn't do a biopsy in Cincinnati until Monday, so they sent him home.

Patrick's parents drove up that evening and spent the night with us, but we decided it would be best to have the biopsy and possible further treatment in Louisville, surrounded family and friends. I am so glad we made that decision! While it has been hard traveling back and forth and living out of a suitcase, I wouldn't trade that for anything!

A few days before this journey began, Patrick bought us both prayer journals. Written in my devotional that day was a story about cocoa beans and the process it takes in order to turn them into the sweet chocolate we all love. They start out as raw, bitter beans, but during a special refining process the bitterness subsides and the sweet flavor develops. In a similar way, a pearl is formed through a refining process, starting as a tiny grain of sand inside of an oyster. After reading that devotional, I wrote a prayer in my new journal that I will never forget: "Lord, Refine Me. Do whatever you need to do to make me the woman, wife, friend that I need to be to glorify you... Help me to rely on you alone to mold me." He answered my prayer.

I am so impatient. I hate waiting. Those three days before the biopsy and diagnosis were horrible. Honestly, I just wanted to know the truth. But you see, this is when God was working on me. I wanted to know so we could figure out the plan of attack and our next step, but God wanted me to rely completely on Him, not myself or Patrick, for the future. The night before the surgery, tears were rolling down my cheeks and Patrick was holding me in the hospital bed. He leaned in close and asked if he could pray for me- if HE could pray for ME? And during his prayer, he did not just pray for me, but for his family and many friends... he prayed for you. That God would give you the peace Patrick had and that His glory would shine through whatever the outcome. It was in that moment that I gave it ALL over to God. How could I not?

It is hard to explain the feeling of watching someone you love go through pain and sickness. Someone you adore with your entire heart. I wanted to switch places with him and go through it for him. He probably got tired of me asking how I could help or if he needed anything every minute of the day.

Throughout chemotherapy and radiation, we were overwhelmed with the encouragement, support and prayers from so many wonderful people (friends and strangers). I have never witnessed the power of prayer so vividly than I did the past few months. I was amazed by the body of Christ, the Church. What a beautiful thing! I want to thank each and every one of you for your prayers, notes, gifts, encouragement, friendship and uplifting words.

So many people have said they are sorry we had to go through such a rough first year of marriage. While I understand their words, I want to respectfully disagree. Patrick and I have both come to realize that this has been the best thing for our marriage. We have learned to appreciate life daily. God has shown us how to truly love. I have learned to brush off my bitterness and not allow little things to bother me. Our love has grown remarkably. We have talked through what we have learned so many times. We are so glad we are learning these lessons at the start of our marriage, instead of ten or twenty years from now. We feel blessed.

We made some great memories throughout the treatments. We rented 24 and stayed up all night watching episode after episode. Special Starbucks runs, when Patrick had cravings like a pregnant woman. Spending extra time with our families and friends in Louisville. Listening to Patrick preach every other weekend, amazed by his strength and powerful sermons. Trying to repack the car every week with two dogs, way too much luggage (my fault*), and my little herb plants that are somehow still alive. Taking fun weekend trips to the lake, relaxing with best friends. Dressing up and going on dates, having quality time with each other.

Today was Patrick's last day of radiation. It is all over. The sweet nurses gave him a Celebration Certificate that will go on our fridge :) We are going to celebrate at Havana Rumba* and continue to celebrate for a very very long time. I never want to forget this feeling. I don't want to forget how God worked and taught and loved. I will forever remember every up & down, the myriad of emotions, and the joy in the end.

Thank you Lord for helping us grow. Thank you Lord for teaching us how to love. Thank you Lord for holding us.


  1. thanks for giving us a peek into your life and your journey these past 5 months. what a testimony! you are a stronger couple because of the adversity that (with God's help) you've made it through.
    You are an example to so many.
    Lee Davidston

  2. Savannah, I had no idea that you and your family were going through this! Your strength and faith in God is an inspiration to us all. Your family has been a guiding light to mine and I could never thank them enough for that. I believe God placed them in Louisville for that short time for a reason. Please tell your Mom and Dad that I said hello!

  3. Mary Julia KaiserJune 27, 2009 at 10:48 PM

    My sweet, sweet sister in law. Tears of joy for you guys right now, praising God for literally fulfilling Genesis 50:20 in you and Patch's life..."You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

    Glory to His Name. Love you both more than I can say!

  4. i teared up for two reasons reading this. i put myself in your situation and i teared up at how challenging and difficult it would be for me to watch my hubby go through that situation. i get really emotional at even the thought of a loved one going through a hard time.

    reason number 2 is because we have a graceful god who has huge plans for our lives. i was blessed to read about your & patrick's faithfulness in relying on the lord, & of how he grew you both closer to himself & closer to each other.

    thanks for sharing this with us!