Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I had lung disease for 17 years. I prayed for strength and courage. I got it. I beat it. I went from eight lung meds down to one. . .and then down to none. My diagnosis was COPD; now it's mild asthma. I haven't even used an inhaler in years.

I had cancer. I handled that, too. I prayed for strength. Once again, I got it. I no longer have cancer. I beat it.

I had MRSA. I prayed for strength and, once again, God was good. The docs say I still have it somewhere in my body, but it hasn't actively reoccurred in almost seven years. As far as i'm concerned, it's gone. I beat it.

Throughout all of this and a lot more, my husband was the watcher. He was never sick. I always joke that at our wedding, I got the "poorer" from the "for richer, for poorer" part and he got the "in sickness" from the "in sickness and in health" part. He took care of me. He dressed me. He bathed me. He fed me. He set up my meds and my IVs. He took care of the kids when I was sick. He did whatever was necessary. He watched. He waited until I was whole again. Still, I felt it was me going through it. I was the one who had to be strong. I was the one who beat my diseases, with God's help. He only watched.

Now the tables are turned. My husband has cancer. For the first time in many, many years, I am the watcher. I am strong, right? No. Actually, I'm a mess. I could handle it when it was me. I can't seem to get a handle on it now that it's him. I've prayed for strength and courage. I'm receiving it. Still, I am a nervous wreck most of the time. I take care of him. I bathe him. I hold his hand during uncomfortable and frightening procedures. I do whatever's necessary. I'm watching. I'm waiting until he's whole again. Do I have peace, the peace that I will win the fight like I had back when it was me? Am I as assured of victory as I was when it was me in that bed? Not yet. I'm still watching. I'm still waiting.

Watching is hard. I think it's harder than being sick, actually, especially when it's your other half, your soul mate, the God-given love of your life. I've been with him since I was 15 years old. That was long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away. All of a sudden, the thought struck me that I could lose him. It hit me hard. Real hard. After all, doesn't the Bible say we are one flesh? "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24, NIV) How do you lose half your flesh and still function? I know there are many who can answer that question for me. I just haven't been able to wrap my head around it quite yet. Not so sure I even want to try.

I never knew watching could be so hard. I look in the mirror and now see the same look on my face that I saw on his when they told him to put my affairs in order, that I was dying. He couldn't handle it. I couldn't talk at the time. I was too busy trying to keep breathing. In my dazed and drugged state, I thought it made him weak. He was the watcher. He should have known how to handle it. Now I'm the watcher. I'm not weak. I simply don't know how to handle it. My heart goes out to him for all the times he watched and waited and despaired of ever bringing his wife home to his kids again. Forgive me.

I thought I had the hard job, getting well. Now I know that the hard job is being the watcher. Want to know my theory on why watching is the harder job? I think it's because you finally understand what having no control really means. When it's you that is sick, you can marshal your willpower, get your good cells attacking the bad ones, positive talk yourself right out of that bed. You can't do that for someone else. So you watch. And you wait. And you pray. You pray that the doctors are wrong and it will all work out just fine. I'm praying now, not for strength and courage, but that it will all work out fine for him. For us. I can't marshal his inner forces for him. All I can do is pray. And watch. And for now, that will have to be enough.

"I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you." (2 Kings 20:5 NKJV)


  1. Beautiful post Carla, you have a way with words.. as much as Ray cared for you I know you will care for him and your love will sustain both of you! you are in my prayers

  2. Well Done Carlie...

    I know now that you have gotten this out there you will feel a little better and I am proud of you for taking the time to do that!! I Pray the Lord will indeed lift your burdens and bring others alongside now that you have placed this in our hands, too. May indeed the Father Keep on Blessing you with His Glorious Strength and Tender Loving moments of Power for you from within!!!

    God Bless You Mightily My dear Sister!!!


  3. You are an inspiration to me Carla! You are such a blessing to so many. This is an amazing insight and testimony to your love and faith!

  4. Oh, Carla, I SO understand. I had cancer (I beat it with God), and two surgeries in 2005, then in 2006 my hubby got cancer and in 2007, he had open heart surgery. I agree totally with you - it's much harder being on the sidelines and watching your sweetheart go through all this.

    God is there for you hubby, though, just like He was for you. He is the great physician, the healer. Rest in the Lord (I know this is definitely easier said than done) and allow Him to give you peace.

    Prayers for your hubby!!

    Love, Julie D. (from FB)

  5. I really love what you said here about the "watcher". You have had a long journey, my friend. Beautifully written

  6. This is beautiful. I will be praying for strength, grace, and comfort for you both, and for healing for your husband. Thank you for sharing. <3 God bless you both.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. It was very moving. I am in the role of the watcher with my 3 year old daughter. It is so very hard. I am lifting both you and your husband in prayer. Lord bless you both!
    Love, Dawn

  8. Carla,

    Your an inspiration to me also. I hope you don't mind me sharing this with others. I am praying for you and your husband (and family). God is with you and will carry you through these times also. ((Hugs))
    Terri D.