Tag Archives: cancer

Robb K. Looks back 5 years after Battling Cancer

Robb K.

Robb K.

Robb K.
May 6, 2014

Five years ago, to the day, I awoke long before the sun was up to prepare myself for the longest and the shortest day of my life. I took the hottest shower I could stand. I swallowed a small bluish-purple pill to calm my nerves and make me compliant.

I sat in darkness in our living room trying to mentally prepare myself for surgery and not knowing how the procedure was going to turn out. Prior to that day, I had never had surgery, received stitches or even a cast prior to that day. I’d never visited the emergency room because I’ve lived a mostly safe and boring life. In the four-ish month stint prior to that morning, I had completed 25 treatments of chemo and several weeks of a bleeding edge chemotherapy treatment taken via large beige pills. I can remember their slight chalkiness, their warning labels for no one else to touch them but me (even touching them was hazardous to the non-sick).

I remember putting on my stupid basketball shorts and stupider pajama pants over top of them. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and trying to imagine where my new scars would be and if they would be distinguishable from my fat fatterson stretchmarks.

I can’t remember who drove to the hospital, if Christina drove… or if I did it.

I remember walking from the car to the waiting room in the surgery center and seeing some family there. I remember seeing friends in the waiting room and people from church praying with me just before a nurse calling my name to go back to a cold room to change into a gown.

I remember smelling iodine. I remember crudely joking about the cold. I can remember the anesthesiologist’s Siberian Husky-like blue eyes. I can remember Dr. Shedd turning on a radio and reassuring me that he was going to do the best job he could do. I remember the white plastic bar of the surgery table. I remember thinking I was too fat to fit on it. I think I remember looking at the ceiling and the lights before I blasted off into infinity. I remember the being all cares and phobias being removed by pharmacology as if each one were a finger to pluck from a ledge.

I can remember waking up and seeing three things. A boring clock like you imagine every hospital has. The OR nurse who was crying. She had long blonde hair in tight curls. Those kinds of curls always remind me of some kind of fancy pasta whose name I don’t know because I was born too low for it to be important. Standing next to the nurse was my wife. She was also crying and holding my hand and touching my face. (These three things are in ascending order of importance , before someone says something about me recalling a nurse before my wife).

I can remember feeling around my abdomen trying to figure out where the surgery site was. If it was high, that was good. If it were low, it was… less than desirable. Because I am always at the mercy of the universe’s statistics, my new wound was in a third and previously undiscussed surgery sight. I didn’t understand why everyone was crying and if they were good tears or bad tears or if I was even awake yet. Good news was tempered with bad. Positively ebbs and flows with occurrences of set back and disappointments.

I don’t remember talking to the surgeon but I do remember repeating the words “Thank you” aloud. I remember saying it after everyone left. I remember saying it before falling in and out of sleep every day and night I spent in the hospital and I remember saying it when I finally came home.

I am not always thankful. I thought I always would be. But today, tonight, I am remembering and I am thankful to still be here.

God answers prayer:

If you have read my post Letter to a friend with Cancer then you know Robb has dealt with some very tough issues. I got this note today:

My wife and I have been patiently waiting to announce our pregnancy until we felt like it was the right moment to do so. We’ve had a very tough time with pregnancy and tried for many years without success. We watched many of our friends become pregnant and we always did our best to be encouraging to them while dealing with our own issues of infertility. If this is something that you deal with or have dealt with in the past, please know that we are always willing to lend an ear or to speak with you about your struggle. I know this may be a weird thing to write about as we announce our newest, and possibly only, addition to our family. However, we know what it’s like to struggle and want to be as transparent and compassionate as reasonably allowable. We can laugh with you, cry with you and if you want us to be angry with you, Christina isn’t very good at that, but I’m good enough for the three of us.

At the risk of sounding preachy, indulge me for a moment. We cried when doctors said I had cancer. We rejoiced when I remain cancer free. We cried when we were told we couldn’t have kids because of the treatments, we rejoiced when we found out we were pregnant. I don’t always act like I believe in a Healer. Sometimes, I don’t. Call me fickle, but today I believe in one. Rejoice.


Letter to a Friend Dealing with Cancer


Ahh your soul is where the “rubber meets the road.” I have been down this road as well. We are no longer strangers, we have entered “the brotherhood of the suffering and downtrodden.” Escaping through books, instead of prayer. Oh my, how comfortably familiar. Yes, exactly what I did, as well.

Does suffering serve any purpose, or are we just pawns that God manipulates for his own entertainment?

It’s healthy to question these things. You are indeed experiencing a “Job” experience in your life, because of the Cancer. Mine is heart disease.

But unlike Job’s comforter’s, I’ll do no scolding.

You understand well there is NO assurance of healing. In fact, healing has not even been a part of my prayers for you. Now that might seem odd, but it isn’t. My prayers for you and your family is that God would give you grace, sufficient for the day’s needs. Because you are enduring this in the present. Not the past, not the future. But the here and now.

We’ ve one of two choices: Either God’s grace is sufficient, or it’s not. There’s no middle road here.

The important thing to remember, and this was a hard lesson for me to understand: Whatever happens YOU are NOT responsible for the outcome. Your only responsibility is to be obedient to what God has called you to do. And that’s never without consequences.

Obedience at times, means we suffer. Our emotions are in a blender. We stop it for awhile to sample the mix, and it churns around and around again, on a never ending merry-go-round, that seems to never stop. Our minds race away. If we dwell on it too long, madness sets in.

Don’t pray. That’s really NOT your job. It’s the work of friends. Right now, you are bathed daily in the prayers of those who reach out, and call you a friend. That’s our job, not yours.

Learn this principle:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Cor 1:2-7 NIV)

Life is not joy. It isn’t wonderful. It’s often times painful.

As Larry O. Richard said: This may be one of the most important values of suffering. If life on earth were a constant joy, why would we fix our hope fully on the grace to be brought to us at Jesus’ return? If life on earth were without difficulty, how would we remain sensitive to our need for God? If life on earth were without trials or persecution how would we be forced to choose between commitment to Christ, and comfort or ease?

As Peter said, suffering does have value. It reveals the genuineness of our faith, and brings praise to the Lord.” (”The 365 Day Devotional Commentary”, Larry O. Richards, Victor Publications, 1992, pg 1109)

I Peter is nourishment for the soul. You will find understanding and compassion there. When you have a few moments, read it through.

We made it through Bible School on prayer. Whatever happens next, you have no control.

Where is Robb?

14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (Isa 49:14-16)

You are in the palm of God’s hand. He doesn’t wonder, “Gosh where’s Robb?” He looks at His hand, and says “Ahh perfect. That’s just where you’re supposed to be.”

It doesn’t feel like it, but my prayer is that you would KNOW and EXPERIENCE God’s love and peace through this ordeal. You are NOT responsible for how this turns out. That’s God’s responsibility.

A great weight was lifted from my shoulders, as I came to realise this.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

Peace always,