OCOAH recognizes breast cancer awareness this month with stories from local families who have walked through it. We praise God for how He heals, restores and comforts. Breast cancer effects the entire family and this week’s story is written by the husband of a survivor.
Cancer was supposed to be an old person disease. When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher succumb to cancer. In 2009, my grandfather died of cancer. Kasia and I had friends who fought many battles with cancer and eventually lost. Kasia’s mother had cancer at the age of 45. But, they were all old and cancer was an old person’s disease.
So on the day that Kasia and I we’re going to tour our little boy’s new school, she told me she found something. Honestly, I had a lot on my mind and wasn’t really paying attention. I think she got pretty mad and hurt that I wasn’t listening. She tried to reassure me that it was probably nothing, but looking back I think she was really concerned. We just had a baby a month earlier, and a disease would have been really inconvenient, plus she was young and couldn’t have cancer. At her 6 week postpartum appointment her OBGYN ordered a mammogram and then a biopsy. A few days later we got a call that would change everything. I don’t think I realized how serious it was until that phone call. A couple days later she got a PET scan and was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer.
During the several weeks leading up to the biopsy my prayer was that she would not have cancer, and if she did that somehow God could give it to me instead. I kind of thought the kids needed their mother more than their father and I didn’t know what I would do without her. Looking back a year later, Not only did God have things to teach her through her cancer, He also had things to teach me.
Whenever I have been the most afraid in life I have found great comfort in Psalm 23:4. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”
I was asked to write about my experiences during Kasia’s battle with cancer. It was hard. I really do love her with all my heart, but I haven’t always been a good husband. I’m not a very patient man and sometimes can be distant. I had to learn a lot about compassion and had to learn how to take care of my wife and family. Don’t get me wrong, there was a whole lot of help. God brought my mom to Alabama several months earlier, He knew that I would struggle with this tremendous challenge. Also, our church friends and work friends provided food, babysitting, and encouragement. If I can offer one piece of advice, please let people help you! When you do not let them help you, you are denying them the opportunity to bless you and to serve God.
My job was mostly to drive her to as many appointments and treatments as I could and to tell jokes. At the house, I tried to keep things as normal as possible. I am sure that this came off as insensitive sometimes, but this was my first time experiencing cancer at this level. At times I even had resentment that everything seemed to fall on my shoulders. This was selfishness that God was dealing with in my life, He was trying to make me the husband I asked Him to make me. If I can offer another piece of advice that I learned the hard way, when you mess up, just say you are sorry and move on.
Kasia did her best every day but chemo began to take its toll. Her treatments were Friday afternoon and the weekends were usually pretty rough. She would pull herself out of bed to go to work Monday morning but would not feel any better until maybe Thursday. During her treatments, I learned that my bride is much stronger than I ever would have believed, probably stronger than me. She continued to praise God and never once blamed Him.
I would like to deal with a couple of tough questions. Did God give her cancer? I believe He allowed her to get cancer. Why would He allow this? Her cancer was a genetic mutation (BRCA 1) that she inherited from her mother. We live in a fallen creation with imperfect bodies which is a condition of sin. What I do know is that God provided support and treatment. My wife is now a cancer survivor and our marriage is stronger than ever. Why would you follow a God that would allow this? He provides us with salvation. This life is a temporary condition and in 100 years it won’t matter that Kasia had cancer, what will matter is that she spends eternity with Christ.
I understand, it stinks, it’s painful, and it seems like it’ll never end. You may have pleaded for healing, you feel alone and confused, you want to question God, and you may even want to abandon Him. I watched my wife go through 5 months of chemo and four surgeries. Kasia got to the point that she could not watch the nurses put the tube in her that would deliver the chemo medicines. But what I’ve also seen is a woman mature in her faith and glorified God. In fact, people keep asking to hear her story and God is changing lives through what we went through.
James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Heavenly Father, I want to pray specifically for the husbands. If it is Your will, I pray that you heal their brides. I pray that you fill this family with your presence. I pray that You give each husband the wisdom they need to shepherd their family through this difficult time, and that their words and actions reflect You. I pray that You grant them the peace that passes all understanding. I pray that You give them the help they need and that they swallow their pride and accept help. Most importantly, I pray that You will be glorified through this families fight against cancer. Many battles will be won and some may be lost, but we will have the victory when we are reunited with You in heaven for all eternity. Thank you for the gift of salvation.
I was raised in Georgia, went to college in Texas (Baylor University), and started my career in Alabama. I asked Christ into my heart as a young child. Kasia and I got married 13 years ago in her native Poland. We have 2 precious children, Mateo is a chatty preschooler and Ellyana is my precious baby girl. We attend Capshaw Baptist Church and are continually blessed by Strong Biblical teaching. Kasia and I plan on growing very old together and seeing the world.