Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

When A Husband and Wife Have Cancer

Everyone loves my Aunt Peggy and Uncle Pat. In a lot of ways, they have been the glue that holds the family together. They are exuberant, mischievous, fun, and they love unconditionally. When I was growing up, my mom would take me to their home and we would play with their kids. The memories I have from those visits are priceless.  They are family and I deeply love them all.

When we got the news that Peggy had stage-four cancer, the family gave a collective gasp. I had already lost one aunt to the vicious disease of cancer, and the thought of losing another was almost unbearable. Peggy truly embodies what it means to come to the Lord as a child. Her joyous and seemingly unbreakable spirit is something that most people take an entire lifetime to find.

Several months later, we received the second devastating blow to the family: Pat had stage-four cancer as well. Pat is an adventurer and an explorer. Growing up, I would have guessed that Pat was invincible. He worked hard, he played hard, and he always had time to sit down and talk. His mellow personality is like drinking a refreshing cup of coffee: it wakes you up to a different way to see the world. He has treated his diagnosis of cancer as he treats everything else in the world: “This is just another adventure.”  

The two of them share more than just the fact that they are fighting cancer.  They share the legendary love that has kept them together for years and years. They’ve raised four children together, they owned a successful HVAC business together, and now they are fighting cancer together. 

The amazing part about their marriage is that despite the crippling circumstances that have put them on disability, forced them to sell their business, and often times led them to debilitating pain, they still celebrate their love. 

As someone who studies what love is and how it plays out in the world, this picture of love is nothing but legendary. Starting this week, Peggy has agreed to become a guest blogger on this site. She is going to let me share her journals, and, in doing so, show the world how love wins.


Thank you, Peggy and Pat.  Thank you for having the courage to love unconditionally.

Below is today’s note from Peggy’s journal….

I will apologize right off the top to my family and friends for this, but sometimes I just gotta let it all out!  I feel so damn mad that I would just like to hurt something, or punch and scream.  Each and everyday I wake up either hurting or watching my better half hurt.  I keep trying to figure out why it ist happening to both of us. , Why can't we grow old together?  What is the purpose of giving us stage-4 cancer? Each day we will give each other the thumbs-up or the weak little smile or that little dance you do when coming in the room to make me laugh.  How is this happening to us?  How do make the right decisions so that we can be together as long as possible? I have been asking myself all day  what should I do?  My problem is that I had my blood work done, so today the nurse called and said I needed to come in for another shot!  Pat explained to the nurse that with the last shot I was in terrible pain for 2 1/2 days.  I know this all means that my white-cell count is very low and they want to build it up for the next chemo treatment on Tuesday.  All I can keep thinking is should I take the shot (which will likely put me in the hospital) because it is like asking someone to torture you because it feels like a vise is inside your skull pushing it out, trying to crack it open  -- or be strong and take the shot and deal with the pain, because if not are you letting the cancer spread because you have to miss treatments which may cut your life shorter?  Who can make these decisions?  Each and every day, Pat and I have to face decisions like this and it is so very hard.  So I tell you all now take your loved one by the hand and just walk and feel the warmth and love you share.  Take in those little grins that only you will notice or that one tear that sits in the corner of your eye.  Hold each other and breathe!  That's my plan.....I'm holding on and I don't plan to let this beautiful life God has given me go anytime soon!  Cancer is NOT pretty, but we're not giving up!


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