01/04/2014: A Letter to a Friend

This is an archived post from the webpage "healingteddi.com", which is no longer online. Since the posts have been moved off of the original webpage, some of the links may no longer work.  You can still navigate through the blog through this webpage, by searching through the blog posts.

I hope these entries can continue to encourage those facing appendix cancer

Original Post: 1 April 2014

A Letter to a Friend

So I was sitting back at my apartment, replying to an email from a friend and I thought I would share (a slightly modified version) it with you.  A bit of background, my friend was telling me about a car accident his wife just had, and how after he found out she was OK, his thoughts turned immediately to my family.  He knew that I would have gladly traded my experience with his 1000x over, and sent sympathies my way.  He was also inspired to share a sermon from his pastor with me, which focused on how God uses suffering and miracles to reveal himself and grow our faith.  Here’s what I wrote:

Hey ——,

Thanks for both of these emails and your words of support. They mean a lot.  I know I didn’t actually follow up on your offer to talk with me during Teddi’s surgery, etc, but I want you to know that I deeply appreciate the offer. It mean so much to me to go into that knowing you had my back!

In short, you’re right. I wish Teddi rear ended somebody, but instead she got a rare cancer that has stolen 1/3 of her colon, her spleen, gallbladder, 1.5 ovaries and put a horrific scar all the way down her abdomen.  It’s put her through misery none of us can even being to imagine.  What. The. Hell.  Does a Big-12 elite athlete, vegan who starts off each day with a huge smile on her face deserve that?  No, maybe some fat, couch-bound, lethargic dude with an addiction to cool ranch doritos and mountain dew does – but not Teddi!  I mean, what the HELL is that about?

You can look at this situation and clearly see:  It would be so easy to be bitter, so easy to resist it, so easy to hold this against some imaginary force bigger than myself – but thankfully I know that doing so would only bring me, her, my son and everyone else more suffering.  So I’m not interested.  In fact, what I want to do, is the most powerful thing one can do – consciously transmute suffering into healing, inspiration/motivation, and a positive examples to others.  This is the most amazing thing we can do as humans. But it sure as hell ain’t easy!

I don’t know if I’ve told you or not, but her battle with cancer has gutted me on multiple occasions.  It’s taken me into places so dark, so agonising and so scary that I don’t even have words for the helplessness I’ve felt in those moments.  There have been three occasions in the past six months where I’ve cried harder than I’ve ever cried in my entire life.  1. The night Wyatt was born and Teddi’s cancer was discovered – once I had them both asleep in bed, I was in a ball on the bathroom floor.  2.  After we got back from Sydney, Wyatt was two weeks old, we had just met with Dr. Morris about Teddi’s surgery and they described what would happen. I watched a video of a peritonectomy the night we got home – that’s what my wife had to go through?? Again – gutted, destroyed.  3.  When Teddi was wheeled away from my sight off to the theatre for that surgery – there are no words for that experience.  As soon as I made it back to the car, I sobbed.

But what I’ve learned from it all, is to feel it 100% right then and there and get right back to taking it one day at a time, staying positive and looking for all the blessings hidden within it all.  Focusing on taking your suffering, your terrible experience, and turning it into something beautiful.  And that’s what I’ve done.  I’ve inspired thousands of people with Teddi’s blog, I’ve used it to teach my family life long lessons, and it’s become something much more than just my wife getting cancer.

And I think that is exactly what you’re trying to get at.  The Ultimate Benevolence that underlies all this chaos, that source of the goodness within us, uses what we see as suffering to point us to the true glory we are capable of experiencing, into a space of mercy and contentment.  I might use different words than your pastor does, but within myself I feel the same message.  I’ve always had a deep respect for what Jesus taught and I often reflect on it.  So thank you, for reminding me of that lesson and helping me fit it back into my own worldview.

Would love to chat more on this sometime, in the meantime, I hope to make time for listening to the sermon you shared.

All the best,