Lea had another tough day today, but still made some progress on recovering full use of her lungs. She worked for five hours this morning breathing on her own, and then got to rest for a few hours before trying for another three to four hours. She was, however, only able to do a little over an hour during the second session, and had to be put back on rest. That’s an hour less than last night.

We haven’t learned of any medical reason for her not to be able to breathe on her own as of yet, as the ultrasound showed negligible fluid around the lungs, the bronchoscopy, in which the lungs were examined with a scope and fluid suctioned, showed very little fluid inside the lungs, and the CATSCAN didn’t show anything out of the ordinary. There could be other complications, but it could just simply be that she is going to take longer to recover sufficiently to reach her previous level of ability.

Regardless, we continue to have faith that God is leading us through this experience for a very specific reason, and perhaps there is an indication of that reason in some of the many comments we are receiving from those who have been blessed by Lea’s illness. Here is a very touching personal story from Cheryl, shared with her permission, and modified to eliminate family names.

“I’ve been holding off sending you an email, afraid of saying the wrong things, I guess. But after reading your update tonight, I feel I should write you.

I just wanted to you to know that as I read your updates it brings many memories back to me. I also went through something very similar to what you are going through, though I was not married as long as you guys have been. After only 3 months of marriage, my 2nd husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and struggled with that for 2 years to the day, when he died. It was very long and very hard as you know.

At the time, neither of us was “saved”. We kind of believed in God, but didn’t go to church or even live like we believed in God at all. This all made the illness that much worse because we didn’t have what you guys have to lean on. We didn’t know. Finally, only a day before he died, a man who delivered oxygen to the house just came right up and asked him if he was “saved” and I almost escorted him to the door, labeling him as a religious nut and I didn’t want Paul bothered by that.

So I asked Paul if he wanted to talk to the man about it and he said yes, so I left the room and went out on the porch until the man left, never knowing what was said. After Paul died I had a terrible time getting over my anger at God for “cheating” him (us) and for not answering my prayers that ran something like this “keep him from the pain, if You are going to take him, do it quickly”. Well, He didn’t do it quickly and he suffered greatly those 2 years.

For about 3 or 4 years after his death, I carried this anger until one day I wrote a prayer that was about 5 pages long. Basically it was asking Paul and God for forgiveness, and asking God to use me as He chooses and to do with my life what He sees fit. Well it was not too long after that I met Bruce and started getting to know Bruce’s family better. Anyway, after I had written that prayer, I sort had forgotten about it, met Bruce, we moved in together, had some major problems and Tori called out of the blue and after disclosing the issues to her (we basically were giving up on the relationship altogether), she invited us to talk to her pastor.

Well, I had not been to any church, only sporadically over the years, and didn’t even know what it was to go to a pastor with problems. I told her that it was too late for that and she ended up talking us into it. Well, I’m glad she did, it changed my (and Bruce’s) entire life! I ended up starting to go to church on a regular basis and finally got really “saved”, I’ve not been the same since.

After being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost, God showed me some things relating to Paul that disintegrated my anger. He showed me how He had His hand on all of it the whole time. He brought the oxygen man back to memory and showed me how Paul had gotten saved that night. I thought right then that perhaps that was why He let him go through all that pain and suffering and length of time for that one man to talk to him.

Then I also saw what I went through was necessary to bring me to Him as well, and the girls (my daughters, who are now grown with families of their own) and brought Bruce back to Him and healed him of his problems! Oh the depth of both the knowledge and wisdom of God, who can fathom it? Even as I write this I am amazed at His mercy and loving kindness even when we feel abandoned. It doesn’t matter what we feel, it only matters what IS.

I know it helps to talk to someone who has “been there, done that”. I guess that is another reason I am writing. I remember that I grabbed like a lifeline when while we were going through it I met someone else that had too and it helped a GREAT deal, because it seems like nobody else could ever understand. Well, they can’t unless it has happened to them, it is that way with anything. I don’t know exactly what you are going through, we weren’t married as long as you guys and both of us had been married before, so I know it is not quite the same.

I detected from your last update your uncertainty about optimism. I understand this from previous experience as well as recent. This happened to Lea while I was just coming back from Maryland from my mom getting out of the nursing home from her recovery. She had an abdominal aortic aneurysm that we almost lost her with. For about a month we had the same daily uncertainty that you are experiencing right now, except this time I DID have God and understood some things to get us through.

It is so difficult to plan for the future when things are so “up in the air”. It is like a constant confusion of “what should, could I be doing” all the time. At least that is how I felt. I wanted to be optimistic; actually that is part of what kept me sane, but learned to have a “cautious optimism” whatever that means. All is well with her now. God is so good. We got through it without losing our minds:)

Larry I don’t know why I’m telling you all this. Perhaps there is a snippet in here that God intends to use to help you, I don’t know. I feel like I am kind of rambling on. I do know that the strength and stamina both you and Lea are displaying is evidence to me of God’s gifts of mercy and love for you both. I admire you, I really do.

I also work as a nurse aide in a nursing home, so some of the things you say about your caregivers really bless me. They do work very hard and most care very much. Many times we are treated with suspicion and criticism by family members, and what you say about your nurses has really had a positive effect on me in my own work as a caregiver, I guess because maybe somebody thinks that way about me and my colleagues even though they don’t say it. It is just an encouragement after a career full of harsh, constant criticism. I am sure your nurses appreciate you as much as you appreciate them!

Anyway, this is getting long. I hope that I didn’t say anything wrong, but I think that sometimes not saying anything at all can be interpreted as not caring, so I just want you guys to know that Bruce and I read your updates daily and pray for you both. If there is anything in particular besides strength, restored health, etc., that you want/need prayer for, please let us know. Thank you again for keeping us informed and for being such an inspiration to us all.

God’s Peace,

Oh, dear Cheryl, what wonderful stories you relate in this letter! Thank you for pouring your heart out, and for allowing me to share your testimony with our loving family of pray-ers for Lea. I, too, am amazed at how God is working in this situation, and how He crafts lasting victory from temporary defeats. Our real test of faith is always just around the corner. We don’t know when it is coming, but we can be sure that we WILL be tested. We must pray that we are up to the challenge. We may feel that we aren’t strong enough to bear the burden, but He will prove us wrong every time!

I pray this evening for God’s blessings on each of you and your families. Out of all the people in the world, you are the ones who are carrying the torch of God’s light, and I feel privileged to be able to share my humble feelings with you. I am also lifting up in prayer those loved ones who need God’s healing power tonight.