Cancer Scare

Autumn TreeSuddenly, thirty years of marriage seemed like a very short time. Our kids are grown and out of the house, and just last summer we “married off” the last one. We are enjoying our empty nest, and we treasure our time together. With the arrival of autumn, also comes those pesky annual checkups. You know, the ones where they tell you that you need to floss more and you need to eat less or your cholesterol is too high. Man FlossingWe had just celebrated our anniversary when the phone call came.  “We found a lump that we’re concerned about in your mammogram. Can you come see me in the office?”

The next two weeks were a blur of checkups, tests, and runaway emotions. I just wanted to hold my wife close and make it go away, but it wouldn’t go away. Scale Doctors OfficeOur prayer life however, suddenly became very specific and very fervent. I remember thinking how permanent death is; and how we squander our healthy days with squabbles and disagreements over things that don’t even matter. The prospect of living through the golden years without my best friend was unthinkable. The only consolation was to keep reminding ourselves of the things we know about God. That He is for us, and he is gracious, compassionate, powerful, and able to heal. And even if He does not heal, he will give us the grace to walk through this valley together. And He will be with us.

TelephoneWaiting is not my favorite thing to do. After the biopsy, it seemed like forever before the results came back. I carried the phone from room to room in case it rang, I didn’t want to miss it. When the call finally came with the results, the doctor used the word “preliminary”. Preliminary? What do you mean preliminary? But that was not the most important word he used. Rolling Back the CloudsThe word that seemed to split the heavens and roll back the clouds was the word benign. “Benign, benign, benign….that’s good! Benign is good. Benign means our prayers are answered. Benign means no surgery or chemotherapy. Benign means I’m still going to be the baldest one in the family. Benign means our golden years are still golden, and I get to keep my best friend.

I Love You CoupleThe preliminary results were confirmed and reconfirmed and she now has a clean bill of health. Since then we hold each other a lot more. We wake up every morning thankful, and hopeful for the future. The minor irritations of life are suddenly unimportant. And we savor the companionship of marriage.

breast-cancer-ribbonI don’t know why it sometimes takes a tragedy to make us treasure our spouse, but I don’t want to lose the sense of how short life is. Thirty years flew by like a vapor. Lord, help me be intentional with the next thirty. I promise I’ll floss more.

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About John Paladini

John Paladini is a husband, pastor and author. He has been happily married to Andrena for 34+ years. They have three adult children, six grandchildren....and counting. John has devoted hundreds of hours to marriage counseling, conferences and bible studies that strengthen marriages.

3 thoughts on “Cancer Scare

  1. Hi John, Ken and I are hosting “Nest Rebuilders” (new empty nester’s sharing life together) as a community care group through our church. We are launching our group this Fri. in our home. Would love to share your teachings on the subject including this one. Would you be willing to share more of your wonderful wisdom and experiences with our group. Up for ideas. Thank, Kathy and Ken Eide

    • Kathy and Ken, I’m so glad you’re enjoying Marriage Feast. Please feel free to share this blog with your Nest Rebuilders group, and anyone else who is interested. It is meant to encourage and strengthen marriages (Ephesians 4:12). If your group has particular subjects you want to discuss, you can click on the “archives” and view past blogs by category. Or post a comment if there is a topic you’d like me to address. I hope that is helpful. I’m up for ideas as well. I’ll pray for the launch of your group and trust the Lord to produce great fruit! John

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