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

A Couple that Does Treatment Together, Stays Together - by Peggy Kiefer

Below are some of the harsh realities when a husband and wife have cancer together. Peggy shares her journey and my challenge to you is to examine what you can pull away from her story to your own life.

It's odd how sometimes I can just open my journal and the words just come pouring out of me but the last eight days have been spent trying not to be anxious or scared.  The weekend was wonderful as we had Sharon and Jeff in town. They kept our tummies full and the laughs going -whom I am so very thankful!  Before they showed up Pat and I were walking on egg shells knowing that his scan results were coming and I was going to get a new test drug to hopefully target just my cancer and not the good cells.  I am always scared of something new because of the side affects.  Most of the time Pat sleeps in an easy chair in our bedroom but when its result time we tend to pull each other close and cuddle.  I love how we can communicate with each other without speaking!  God has given me a very special man to share my life with.

I received my new drug on the 18th but not my chemo because as usual my white cells didn't  build up like they should.  Shelley came with me to help me understand everything the doctor tells me and what I need to have on hand for the side affects if and when they come.  During the treatment they first give you Benadryl that of course makes me so loopy then knocks me out for an hour then they give you a test portion of the drug and watch to see if your breathing changes, rash or chills.   

How could anyone be calm knowing that anything can happen to you, then the poor man sitting next to me who is in his lower 50's with stage 4 prostate cancer starts having trouble breathing and the doctor and nurses come rushing over to help him.  They did get him under control but he was told they needed to find a new chemo treatment since he was having reactions to this one.  That is another fear cancer patients have- they might run out of ways to treat you.  

Since I didn't show any problems with the test run they went ahead and started the full dose.  I think this time God had my white cell count stay low knowing it maybe too much to have both going into my system at the same time.  I had to let them know when Pat showed up, I was definitely going to take my IV pole and be with him for his results.  Tiffany and Simon were there this time for support and to hear everything the doctor says. Pat and I have learned when your high stressed you don't hear everything completely right.  Shelley and Tiffany are always making sure one of them are with us!  

Pats results were all in all good.  The doctor said that no lympnodes have grown but they have not shrunk either.  Luckily the doctor said he is going to increase Pats drug he is currently on and hopefully it will start shrinking the tumors.  My main worry was of course that they had grown and he would have to be on chemo again which isn't kind to my hubby.  I feel strongly that with this extra dose we will see more improvements which we will find out in two months.  After we received Pats results he was able to sit next to me and receive his infusion.  After this past year we have been the only couple having chemo at the same time. It shows that the odds of this happening would not be worth betting on! We finished at the same time and I felt I was feeling more awake than Pat to drive us home.  

Around five everything started changing for me.  I was shaking uncontrollably and since Pat didn't have the paper with the side affects he started panicking not knowing whether to rush me to the hospital or not.  He called Shelley as of course I couldn't remember what the doctor had said and she let Pat know it was a side affect but just to keep taking my temperature so it didn't go above 102.  Luckily for me it didn't, and John, Elise and kids came home to see me in a crazy state of mind.  Normally the kids come running in to us but they could sense something was wrong.  I pray they quickly forget sights like that as pat and I want to leave memories of smiles & laughter!  The evening seemed to go down hill as the panic attack started along with hallucinating of death coming to take me.  Pat and John had their arms wrapped around me trying to reassure me it was not real.  Oh what strength this family has!  After that passed then came my skull pain.  Pat stayed up all night checking me over and over for fever and dishing out pain killers to get me through the night.  

My man who just had treatment also and usually just sleeps afterwards for a couple days cared for me all night!  Love for Me is him, and it is a love I never want to be without!!!!!

I talk a lot about the toll this has on Pat and I but I really hate seeing my kids and sometimes my grandchildren have to watch us go through this. The sadness in their eyes when we're feeling really awful is unbearable at times.  Pat and I know we've done good in raising such loving, giving and caring kids.  I really don't know how we would manage without them. 

God is Good ~ Peggy

Do you operate out of fear or hope?

Are you demonstrating sacrificial love?

Are you on the same team with your spouse?

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