Home > Our Cancer Journey > The Prudence of Planning

The Prudence of Planning

It still looked like night when we pulled out of the driveway. Closer to the hospital, as the sun started to brighten the landscape, we stopped at Tim Hortons for breakfast. When you know you have a hard day ahead of you, you’ve got to start it out right. We had our good start. A nice chat over a good breakfast and coffee.

At the hospital, there were no blood tests or CT scans preceding this appointment. There was the mutual agreement that the stent was definitely doing its job, evidenced by the now absent jaundice.

Then came the conversation we knew was coming. We knew because it had been brought up for us to consider at the last visit, but put on hold for this one. We’d already had the “prepare yourselves” talk. Now we were to have the “get things in place” talk. We were thankful we’d had time to mull it over in our minds, to digest it, and to pray over it.

We all agreed that at the moment, with the jaundice gone, Matt’s condition is not critical. He has his good days. He has his bad days. But he’s not having critical days. Yet the recent scans show that the tumor enveloping the pancreas, which hadn’t grown in months, is growing again; signs of constricted flow are now evident in the splenic and portal veins encased by the pancreatic tumor; and the burden of cancer on the liver is quite extensive and continues to grow.

With the results at hand, and barring complications, the doctor’s best estimate is a matter of months. Though we recognize that it could be more than a matter of months if the Lord permits, we understand the prudence behind the recommendation that it is best to get hospice in place.

Hospice. There, I’ve said the dreaded word. In a way it changes everything—-yet it changes nothing. It’s the finality that the word conjures up in our mind that makes our voice catch as we say it. Yet life goes on. We continue with our lives despite the fact that we will be meeting with hospice tomorrow to get prepared. Matt will continue to have good days and bad days. For now he’ll continue to preach, to frequent Walmart, and to nap more than he ever has in the past. We will not forget to live. We’ll get out together, we’ll try to keep Tim Hortons from going out of business, and we’ll enjoy each other. We will continue our lives as normally as possible for as long as we can.

How are we holding up? Probably the best answer is that we’re being held up in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. If I can compare this to the poem “Footprints in the Sand,” we’re at that point where there is only one set of footprints. He’s carrying us. The burden is great, but not greater than our Savior can bear for us. Does that erase the tears? No. Does it remove all sadness and grief? Definitely not. But it makes it bearable. It makes it possible to praise Him in the storm. Pray with us, that we would remember to praise Him in the storm. 


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. December 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    My heart is breaking for you all. I know that He will continue to carry you both, as well as your family, and I pray you all know the comfort of how high and how deep His love is for you. Praying, praying and then praying some more for you xox

    • December 4, 2012 at 6:43 am

      Thanks, Susannah. Your many prayers are appreciated.

  2. Karen Moore
    December 3, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Praying that each cherished moment is a memory everlasting, since with God, the end of this life is not really the end at all, but a new beginning. Hope you enjoy a wonderful Christmas filled with joy and God’s blessings.

    • December 4, 2012 at 6:46 am

      Thanks, Karen. I definitely have plans to enjoy this Christmas. It’s amazing to consider this will be the third Christmas since the diagnosis. Granted, it was 10 days before that first Christmas that the journey began. It was December 15. The date is stamped in my mind as that was also our twins’ 18th birthday!

  3. December 4, 2012 at 2:46 am

    You are a remarkable couple Rosie and I envy you your strength, humour and quiet dignity. I could not hold myself together this well. May the months stretch out so that you continue to have your breakfasts and quiet chats, and may your faith be rewarded by a miracle. Hugs

    • December 4, 2012 at 7:08 am

      Thanks, David. You and your wife are often in my prayers. Praying that you both will also have many special times together saving up all those precious moments and memories.

  4. Colin & Cilla Gregory
    December 4, 2012 at 3:05 am

    We continue to have you in our thoughts and hearts. Love you guys

  5. Phyllis Gordon
    December 4, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Dearest Rosie… In the midst of a incredibly difficult situation you always manage to encourage the hearts of all who read your postings… I am certain that you are a gift from God to everyone who reads your posts, those who are going through a similar storm. And even for those of us who aren’t, as far as I’m concerned, your strength and trust in Him is an example of faith up there with the guys in Hebrews. You bless my heart…

    Praying for you all daily …

    • December 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Phyllis! So good to hear from you. Yes, it has been and continues to be an incredibly difficult situation, but God really has proven faithful. Really, when isn’t He? We just need to keep our focus on Him. Thanks for your prayers!

  6. Linda Myers
    December 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Dear Matt and Rosie,
    I agree with so many of the others in how you both have set such an amazing example of trusting God in the midst of this difficult journey. Everytime I read what you write I am both challenges and so grateful. Grateful to know that God is indeed, faithfully carrying you guys and strengthening you each day. When my younger sister was dying at age 48 I returned home to Colorado to help and be with her during those last few weeks. As difficult as it is to “go on hospice” , they have always been such a help and comfort. I want to share with you the amazing time we had as a family choosing to “usher” her into the Lord’s presence with singing, praying, reading the Word. The very things you have shared with us, knowing there will be difficult days and good days. The challenge so often is how to find those precious moments in the midst of so much pain. Rosie, I pray for you as you walk with Matt, May God give you the comfort, faith and strength to also walk with each of your boys. Each of them will respond to these days, the death of their Dad, in a different way. Spritual giftings also impact how we respond so I pray that God will give you insight as you love each of them. After trusting God during Deb’s last weeks and worshiping deeply, our family as attacked by satan in the weeks following her death.

    So, I’m asking anyone who reads this posting to continue to pray for Rosie and the family follow Matt’s going HOME. Those days are often when the deepest “emptyness”, lonliness, and the time when questions come. Let’s remember to pray. I’m sorry Rosie for not knowing more about your boys. They were so young when we left Venezuela in 1989. Would you feel free to write their names and ages for me? Just a thought: I think it’s an awesome priviledge to be one who ushers another into the Kingdom. We will NEVER be closer to seeing Jesus face to face until it is one day, our turn. One second they are here with us and then next..they are face to face with Jesus.
    May God continue to pour out His Love and Graciousness upon you, Matt and the boys.
    Love to you Both,
    Byron and Linda Myers

  7. Fran Steitler
    December 5, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Again your blog is a blessing. I would say that hospice is a good choice. That was my profession. They would be blessed to have you as partners at the end of this physical life’s journey. You both will provide a great service to them as well as their services to you and your family. You have friends and family that will need some assistance too. Sometimes it is a great comfort and help to have a “stranger” assist you. Good to meet your hospice team and get to know them. I would have counted it a great blessing to have a family like yours on hospice care. I always heard people say they wish they had taken advantage of hospice sooner. They will come out and talk to you about it and tell you the options that are available to you. You drive the bus as far as what you need. Again, you have blessed me with your spirit and perspective during this entire time. God is so good all the time even when we can’t see it.
    Love and prayers for you,
    Fran Steitler

    • December 7, 2012 at 6:26 am

      Thanks, Fran. We had hospice with Matt’s dad, which was a real blessing. We are thankful for the job this group does.

  8. December 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Lifting you up, lady!

  9. December 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I have been following your blog since my husband found out he has a rare disease three years ago. From time to time I come back and check on you and you stay the same. You don’t circumstances move you, it has been a Faith Walk you have truly shown us how it works…Father is using you more than you know!!!
    Mary Mason/Blairsville, GA

    • December 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      I am so sorry to hear your husband was diagnosed with a rare disease. My heart goes out to both you and your husband as you take this journey of learning to live under circumstances you would not have chosen. Thankfully our lives are more than just about our circumstances. There is comfort in knowing that God has a greater purpose in and through our lives. Keep living. Keep enjoying each other.

  10. Arby W. Robinson
    December 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I hope and pray that Matt is doing ok. I just lost my wife the 29th of November to breast cancer that she had fought on and off for 12 years. Hospice was a great help to me. I have never felt so alone as now. I know she is in a better place where there are no more scans, or needles or blood draws. But I miss her so much after being with her for 48 years. We wanted to have her funeral at your church as we both loved it but heard that Matt as not in good health. If you need anything let me know and I will help where I can.

    My love and prayers go out to you……

    Arby Robinson

    • December 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      Words aren’t always sufficient. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your wife. I’m thankful God gave you those 48 year together, though realize the adjustments to being alone after all those years must the dreadful. My husband and I will celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary this Tuesday, and though it would appear inevitable, I still can’t imagine being without him—and you had a ‘few’ years on us. I’ve prayed for you tonight, that God would comfort you.

  1. December 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

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