Home > Our Cancer Journey > A Somber Visit

A Somber Visit

We stopped by the pharmacy at Walmart to pick up some of Matt’s meds before heading up to Rochester on Thursday. Under the glaring fluorescent lights, my suspicion that Matt was turning yellow was confirmed. I looked once, then again. Were his eyes really turning yellow? They were.

Back at the car I expressed my concern to Matt who admitted he had been wondering the same thing. His added comment that his urine had been dark for several days did little to dispel the growing concern. But we went on. We went out for supper. We settled into the motel for the night. We would wait until tomorrow.

Tomorrow. … Tomorrow the labs would confirm or deny if Matt really was jaundiced. Tomorrow the CT scan would show whether the jaundice was caused by a blocked bile duct—or whether it was a more ominous sign of liver failure already in progress. We would wait until tomorrow.

Tomorrow has gone and gone. The serious, yet sad, demeanor of our doctor as he sat down said it all. It was obvious that this visit was different. He was out of hope to offer. And for most of his patients, hope in a treatment is all they have. Thankfully we have a greater hope. An eternal hope.

The CT scan showed that the  tumors on both the liver and pancreas continued to grow despite the last treatment. A second treatment will not be happening. We’ve reached the end of the options to fight the cancer itself.

Though the labs confirmed Matt is jaundiced, the CT scan revealed it was due to a blocked bile duct and not due to immediate liver failure. Semi-good news. Without remedying this situation the best guess is we would be looking at only weeks before Matt’s body would not be able to fight it any longer. Thankfully, a relatively minor procedure usually remedies this. Plans are being set in motion for Matt to have a stent put in place by means of an endoscope this coming week, with a follow-up appointment on November 30.

The prognosis? Not so good. Though the stent will eliminate the immediate threat, the tumors continued growth is not good. Though the doctor admitted one never knows for sure, he would have to say we’re most likely looking at a matter of months. This visit was definitely different. This was the “prepare yourselves” visit.

Though our hearts break and the tears flow, we have a great assurance that sustains us. Our hope has not been in treatments or results. If it were, we would now be left hopeless. We do not need to sorrow as those that have no hope (I Thessalonians 4:13), because we have an eternal hope. A hope in our Heavenly Father. We covet your continued prayers as we face even harder days ahead.  


I am a pastor’s wife, former missionary, mother of four great sons (and a wonderful daughter-in-law!), and author of three Christian suspense novels: Betrayed, Identity Revealed, and A Murder Unseen. (Available at: Amazon.com.) I have a passion for God, my family, and writing!
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Categories: Our Cancer Journey
  1. November 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Rosie, you guys are amazing people. I know how hard this is…even with hope! We’ve been through some of the toughest times, and God has always been with us. Somehow, some way He makes it possible to bear. We experienced tears and fears we had no idea we had. But He calmed the fears, and wipes the tears, and soon we began to see how many wonderful memories God had provided us along the way…in the midst of “disaster.” He is all loving and forgiving, and He has put many people in your lives to also help you through. You are courageous, and that is to be deeply admired. We love you guys – and remain near you through Him. ~Janet~

    • November 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Thanks for your words of encouragement, Janet. We have an amazing God who has strengthened when the strength is gone. And you are so right. He has surrounded us with people who encourage us. What a blessing that has been!

  2. Brad Gardiner/Marion Gardiner
    November 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Rosie: Not the news you want to hear, very disheartening. You are right though about our eternal hope…though no earthly hope is found; yet a heavenly one is promised.
    Thank you for sharing Matt’s journey and yours….one day at a time…people will not stop praying for him!! Who knows what the Lord might do in the meantime! marion g.

    • November 10, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Yes, Marion, one day at time. We appreciate your continued prayers.

  3. tracy vaughn
    November 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Matt and Rosie…our hearts feel your pain….we are praying with you both. We rejoice with you in the eternal hope that will comfort you during this difficult time. The faith that both of you have been upholding during your journey will be the faith that continues to sustain you as you keep fighting this battle. Your testimonies have spoke leaps and bounds to my heart and many others…thanks so much for that! Praying always for all of you ❤

    • November 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Tracy, thanks for your faithful prayers. We’ve been encouraged and bolstered by the prayers of many. I can never discount the prayers that have upheld us, similar to how Moses hands were held up by others as the battle raged. We do not feel like we are in this struggle alone. Thanks for being a part in holding us up.

  4. November 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Dear Rosie, I almost baulked at ticking ‘Like’ because of your news. Believe me that I’m heartbroken and am crying as I write this.As you say the procedure to fit the stent will be easy and the jaundice soon dealt with. A few tablets and it’s over and done with. Not so with your other news which is obviously devastating.I know your faith upholds you and that you will meet b again, but this Earthly time can be bitter to bear. Matt will bear his life as always with dignity and you will be there all the time in support but whatever your faith you will feel the pain he goes through.
    Please know I’m thinking of you all the time and wishing you the best I can. May your God be with you and provide all the comfort you need. I send you Hugs galore. xx

    • November 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      David, I think and pray for you and your dear wife often. The miles are great between us, but our heartaches the same. Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and wishing us the best.

  5. November 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    The grace with which you informed all of us who’ve been praying for you was beautiful. I’ll still pray–for strength.

    • November 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks for continued prayers, Linda. They are greatly appreciated.

  6. November 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I really don’t know how people cope without our amazing God. All I can do from over here is pray and know that in His big, wonderful arms you both rest and will find comfort xo

    • November 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Thanks. Your care and prayers are appreciated. 🙂

  7. Deborah Harris Anziano
    November 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Reading this with my dad right now. We love you guys so much!!! We pray for you without ceasing. We just lost my 31 yr old cousin to Burkitts lymphoma. It’s been hard! I look forward to Matt being with him away from his suffering here and in their eternal home together!!!

    • November 14, 2012 at 6:47 am

      Deborah, we love your guys right back. We’ve always felt so at home with your family when we’ve traveled through. There is so much suffering here on earth. So thankful this is our temporary home and that we’ll all have new bodies in our eternal home!

  8. gloria
    November 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I would like to talk to you and Matt…sometime soon.~GOD willing~

  9. Phyllis Gordon
    November 11, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Hi Rosie. Cried reading this … so hard to hear and such an incredibly hard thing for you all to bear. I’m so sorry. But the hope we have in Him really does trump all… that hope of His strength in our weakness and for eternity with Him. It certainly gives a perspective that the world can never have. And the question that always comes at times like this: How do people handle things without the Lord? Praise Him for the sure hope He has given us and the strong arms to hold us up and carry us through the pain that comes while we are on earth. I will continue to pray for you all.

    • November 14, 2012 at 6:55 am

      Thanks, Phyllis. It is so true. His strength in our weakness. What a life-saver! At times when I feel just too weak and overwhelmed and incapable to bear all we have and are facing, God gently reminds me that I’m in the perfect place for Him to help me, for His strength to shine through. I love 2 Corinthians 12:9: “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

  10. November 11, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Praying for you guys that our Precious Lord Jesus will hold you close and comfort you in these difficult days. You are loved and your testimony is so God honoring, He delights in YOU!

  11. Fran Steitler
    November 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    My heart breaks to read this news. I have never witnessed such a great outpouring of God’s amazing grace with Matt’s journey. We all could learn a lesson from you all. God is good and we do live in an imperfect world. Know that I am praying for you at this time.

    • November 14, 2012 at 6:57 am

      Fran, thanks for your prayers. We may live in an imperfect world, but we have a perfect and amazing God who deserves all the credit for the grace He has given, and continues to give us, to face this journey.

  12. November 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Rosie, as you know, I’ve been there with my dad and I’ve seen my brother-in-law go through this too. I love you and am praying for you in the coming days. I know God is going to provide for all your needs!

    • November 14, 2012 at 6:58 am

      Thanks, Sherri. Yes, I know you understand what we’re facing and greatly appreciate your prayers.

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