By Susan F
My husband had a brain tumor. This diagnosis led to many difficult days, and after surgery he developed many complications causing his short hospital stay to extend to 131 days. I went to the hospital every day—even on the day of my daughter’s wedding. It wasn’t easy watching him suffer and regress. I could not help him physically – only be there to support and love him.
Days were long and nights were longer. My mind never stopped thinking about my sweet husband and the difficulties he faced each day. I kept a journal, logging my husband’s progress as well as my feelings about the experiences. I stayed close to my family, relying often on their words of wisdom and encouragement during this extended time. I prayed daily. I already had a close relationship with my Heavenly Father and so I felt grateful that when I felt stressed or discouraged I could turn to Him.
I realized much about myself during this time. As I read my journal, I discovered my faith and courage actually grew. When we first learned about the tumor, I prayed for a miracle—that the Lord would spare his life. At first this appeared true, the first surgery went very well and we expected a full recovery. Then complications set in. In my anxiety, I turned again to my family, this time to my brother. He asked me what I would do if God did not heal my husband. Was I strong enough to face life if he died? After much prayer, I decided I would be okay if that were the Lord’s will.
However, this did not happen. In fact, my husband got worse—and worse—and worse. Bacterial meningitis set in twice; he developed pneumonia; he contracted an infection in the surgery site; his heart stopped; he underwent surgery again and had a pacemaker put in; he lost fifty pounds and stopped functioning on his own. My prayers turned from myself to my husband. His pain was excruciating and he no longer could do anything for himself. The doctors gave him little hope for survival and, if he did live, they expected him to be an invalid forever. I knew my husband would not be happy in this state. I began begging the Lord to take his life.
Once again, this was not meant to be. I turned again to my family who helped me see I needed to be strong and have faith in the Lord’s plan for us. What if my husband survived and remained an invalid? I began praying for strength to take care of both myself and my husband. We were fairly young and he might live in this state for many years.
As it turned out, my husband did survive. I brought him home 131 days later weighing only 107 pounds, and while he could breathe on his own, he could do nothing else. I continued to pray for strength. We even built a new, one story, all handicap accessible home.
Then came the miracle. As I continued to help bathe, feed, dress, and care for my husband, he gained enough strength to begin rehabilitation therapies. It took much time and effort getting him into and out of the car for this. It was hard work and consumed most of my days. However, it was well worth the effort.
My husband pushed himself to relearn everything, and within six months he could walk, talk and feed himself again. He is truly a living miracle. I know God healed him. I know the Lord is in charge and that He blesses us to be capable of coping with whatever He has in mind for us. Whether my husband lived or died, that truth held fast. But an ever sustaining belief was my church’s teaching that we can be married for eternity, and that in that eternal life together we will be free from sickness and disabilities. Because of my beliefs and because of the certainty of our love for each other, I knew we would be together for eternity. I knew that no matter what happened during this challenging time we would still be husband and wife, healthy and joyously happy. That is the hope that all who suffer can share.