Looking Back to the Beginning of Retirement on February 2, 2016
The past few months since retirement were not settling into a quiet, simple life. Selling all our properties in Dubuque, saying “Good Bye” to clients, friends, and family, moving possessions to Texas, finding and buying our new home in Thrall, Tx, finding a new church fellowship are some of the many parts of the journey to get to where we are today.
There have been unexpected events that stirred doubts of the future. Just a few weeks into the packing phase, the first catastrophe happened. Coming home from church, a young man in a big wheeler truck turned into our car. The accident put Terry in the hospital with a compound fracture of her right arm. Surgery was needed to repair significant damage to her arm and wrist. During the surgical procedure, Terry coded with heart and ling problems and was in ICU for a few days and then transferred to a rehab facility for some weeks.
The Physical Aftermath
Terry was unable to do any of the packing and storing of our possessions so the properties could be sold. Many friends came alongside to help and in my opinion did so as a show of love to Terry for the wonderful friend she has been to them. Any who know Terry are acquainted with her cheerful, encouraging, and giving nature that is characteristic of her Core identity.
Terry’s physical limitations continued to improve with therapy in Texas. She was able to participate in the home search, but was frustrated with not being able to do anything with the repairs needed to make the house suitable. She made attaining physical health and mobility her goal, faithfully do her therapeutic exercises.
When we finally moved into our new home, Terry continued to be frustrated by physical limitations. Attending the sporting events of the grandchildren after school started in the Fall became her major endeavor. She maintained the calendar to include every possible game for each of the grandkids so that we could attend most of them.
One other activity Terry took charge in was any driving that needed to be done. In my mind, since she was driving when the accident happened, she became more determined to stay in control of the car to prevent another accident. In my opinion as a trauma expert, I would say she had PTSD and that was her way of dealing with it. Terry might tell you that her reason was that I was a terrible driver and she didn’t feel safe. See, she has PTSD thinking because she didn’t like anyone’s driving. This is funny because for years Terry could never drive longer than an hour at a time, but even then she would get drowsy quickly.
During the months of September through March she had physical therapy for a constant numbness in her right wrist and hand as well as back problems. There were some incidences of small TIAs recurring from the latter part of 2015. We found a doctor in Round Rock just after we arrived in Texas that practices concierge medicine. He was able to get some of the many symptoms unrelated to the accident stabilized. Dr. Chambless has been a God-send.
The Big “C”
In March, Terry started having bouts of bronchitis with a croupy cough. The antibiotic and prednisone would take the symptoms away for a week and then they returned, Each interim became shorter. Our doctor referred her for a CT scan early in the morning at a nearby hospital. Within an hour or so after the call came that the doctor wanted to see Terry that afternoon at 1 O’clock.
Dr. Chambless is to be praised for doing what many medical professionals will find a way to avoid, often making a referral for someone else to break the news. The struggle on his face was obvious when he had to tell Terry that the CT scan showed a suspicious spot on her right lung. Both Terry and I reflected on how similar this was to fifteen years ago when Terry was diagnosed with lung cancer. Surgery at The University of Iowa Hospital removed the upper left lobe so the cancer was gone.
We both thought that like the last time because this was in the early stages we would opt for surgery and by that know the cancer was gone and she would have years ahead to enjoy. I was concerned for Terry’s sake because of how many surgeries she had to endure over the past four years. Plus the recover time after chest surgery is extended and she was just getting life back after the car accident of one year ago.
God’s Amazing Solution
People who know of my delight in finding evidence of our Creator at work even in this day and age will understand my reaction to the news from the doctor to whom Dr. Chambless referred. There was a procedure called stereotaxic body radiation treatment (SBRT). This method was using high doses of radiation to the affected area of the body to stop the cancer. The procedure was done on an out-patient basis of five radiation treatments about 30 minutes in length over a two week period. The side effects were very minimal.
The Awe spect of this procedure to me is that it is evidence of the Creator’s directive to humanity to take rule over nature. Because of the technology available in the Austin area of Texas we found a treatment that would not require surgery, that had limited side effects because the use of radiation was so different from past radiation oncology, and had a good prognosis to cure cancer.
Terry’s treatment team involved the radiation oncologist, oncology nurse, radiation technicians, and one more unusual team member – a physicist. All worked together around this gigantic radiation machine in the doctor’s office. The science behind this technology is incredible. The person is kept as stoill as possible so that the radiological bombardment only hits the cancer cells and does not damage any organs close around the area. The movement of breathing even though it was kept shallow would move the spot out of target range if it was a fixed beam.
This procedure was done fourth dimensionally. Not just length by width by depth which are the three dimensions with which we are familiar, but also by time. That was part of the physicist’s job. What amazing wisdom with which Creator God has endowed the human mind to use to solve such problems. And in devising this method, scientists are using the laws of the universe by which the Creator designed and built it.
When we learned of this option for treatment, Terry and I agreed and had peace that God was behind this decision. We looked at the nearing of our fiftieth wedding anniversary. Terry would not be starting a long recovery period from major surgery. We could celebrate as we desired. The choice for our special celebration – a seven day Caribbean cruise out of Galveston Texas.
Terry’s treatment is complete. The first follow up visit with the doctor will be in one month and then again in three months at which time a PET scan will be done. There have been many or our friends praying for Terry’s healing and rejoicing with us for our celebration Cruise. I am looking forward to sharing many more years together with a beautiful woman who is amazingly patient and joyful by nature. If anyone deserves credit for enduring these fifty years it is Terry who God has Created with such a wonderful Core identity.
I share this story with you that you take courage and endure. Remember the Creator’s intent and promise as written in Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. “
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