First Ambulance Ride (week five)
It all started when Rachel commented that my facial hair was getting scraggly. Describing my facial hair as a beard is offensive to real beards everywhere, so it’s important that I get rid of it often. Anyways, all that to explain why I was randomly shaving on a Sunday afternoon when it happened. I heard what I thought was Waverly waking from her nap over the sound of the running water. When I turned the faucet off, I knew immediately that it wasn’t Waverly and that something was wrong. I ran out to the living room to find Rachel moaning and writhing in pain on the couch. I had only been gone a couple minutes but in that time her gut had rebelled against her in a violent way. The pain was at a 9 and she began hyperventilating. She had tingling numb sensations pulsing through her limbs and face and felt like she couldn’t breathe. Her entire body was covered in a cold sweat and she couldn’t stay still.
The ambulance came a few minutes later. At that point, Rachel had caught her breathe but could hardly get off the floor where she had rolled to from the couch when the pain was most intense. Ever the optimist, she noted that this was her first ambulance ride ever. 20 minutes later the pain had largely subsided and we were at the hospital with the ER staff trying to determine what had happened. Rachel is an unusual case, being 27 years old, undergoing chemo and immunotherapy, with a colostomy and recent surgery. After blood work, x-rays, physical examination, and a urinalysis, we had no answers. The best theory out there is that she had a temporary bowel blockage that lead to a severe anxiety attack which compounded the issue.
Sometimes life lessons are painful. I’m scared. Really scared. Not having answers means I can’t predict when it will happen again. I can’t plan for it or plan around it. I can’t stop it when it happens and I can’t provide relief during it. I just can’t. This was a reality check for me. As Rachel’s husband, provider, protector, and friend, unknowns limit my ability to do my job and it’s frustrating. No matter how much I love it when a plan comes together, I can’t control the unknown. In thinking after Sunday, I recognize I had grown in my confidence of the “plan”. My confidence, trust, and reliance had begun to shift from the Anchor to a piece of driftwood, not actually attached to anything secure. We were 4 weeks into a 12 week treatment program. Nothing was going to happen between now and the 12 week mark. But that assumption was proven wrong in a dramatic way. Basically, the ground felt a little more firm before I shaved.
So now we march on, unsure of what the future holds but sure of what we hold and what (or who) holds us.
Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
On a lighter note, the benefit dinner has been set! We are so excited to spend the evening with our friends and those who have demonstrated their love for us. It is going to be a great time of music (I might even make Rachel sing a song!), raffles, food, and most importantly...fellowship. If you’re interested in attending, you can get your tickets here on the site under the “how to help” tab. And please, if you would like to attend but are unable to afford the tickets, please let us know as we value the opportunity to spend time with you above the need to raise funds. As we say often nowadays, if we believe God can heal cancer, then He can pay the bills too.
Check out this song that close friends of ours wrote for Rachel, to commemorate her journey and who she has become. It was such a sweet, meaningful surprise to hear the work they had put into it and Rachel listens to it often as an encouragement in these difficult times.