It’s been 5 days since we heard the dreadful news, and we are just beginning to come up for air.

In that first conversation with a doctor, in just a few excruciating minutes, Nate and I found ourselves tangled up in a snarl of horrifying words we did not expect: pancreatic cancer, inoperable, metastasized, stage 4, terminal.

“Stunned” does not explain our response. “Crushed” is better. “Devastated” is accurate.

The doctor was backed by six others in the room, all eyes fixed on us. When he paused to let us respond, I spoke first. Trying to will the words away, to banish them from the room, I said, “But we only came for surgery on his back! He doesn’t have any other symptoms! We don’t know anything about any of this!” As my voice got louder and began to crack, Nate reached for my hand.

We had known about his back pain and the stenosis, bulging disks, arthritis and spurs causing it. Having made the rounds to several doctors, we’d settled on “the best in the country” and signed up for spine surgery to take place on September 28… which is tomorrow. In Nate’s routine pre-op physical, multiple red flags popped up. Two short weeks after that, we were sitting in a hospital conference room surrounded by learned doctors, being assaulted with unwanted words.

Encouraging friends have responded. “Remember, this was not a surprise to God.”

And my heart has screamed, “BUT IT WAS TO US!”

Today, five days later, we are still reeling but are no longer screaming inside, at least not on this day. Our family is gathering. We all agree on how we want to spend our time. Love and support is pouring in from all directions, some quite unexpected and all exceedingly helpful and precious to us.

I plan to use this blog space to keep interested parties informed of Nate’s situation while the clock ticks and the days pass. As we begin putting one foot in front of the other to plod into this foreign land, we’ll let you know how things are going. Feel free to comment. And thank you so much for your kindnesses to us already. We’ve seen that our un-surprised God has traveled ahead of us and now stretches out his hand to say, “Over here now. Follow me. It’s all going to utterly amaze you, and I can’t wait to show you.” And so with tears streaming down our faces making it hard to see, we follow.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16)

28 thoughts on “CANCER!

  1. Margaret,

    I have been reading your blog and loving your writing style but was stunned to read this post. My prayers are with all of you. Love, Tish

  2. We are thinking and praying for you daily. Thank you for letting us know. We hope to see you soon. Love and Hugs and Blessings, Debbie, Mike, Tom and Lisa

  3. Oh Margaret! I’m so very sorry to hear your sad news. I can’t imagine . . . Thank you for sharing and allowing us to pray for you and your family. Deborah

  4. I am so sorry Margaret…may the peace of our God -that goes beyond understanding- be with you, Nate and your beautiful children…receive my love and blessings…love, love, love, love to you

  5. Margaret… you have been coming to mind so much lately. Now I know why. God has indeed already surrounded you. He is carrying you and will continue to do so. I will keep you all in my prayers. In His love… Sue Thompson

  6. Margaret…this news was shocking to me, I can empathize only a portion; Looking back on the past few months, I agree with Sue’s comment; God has been preparing you, gone before you, and now He WILL – BATH YOU IN HIS GRACE to ‘get THROUGH’…this challenge together with all the love that surrounds you from HIM through family and friends. I most assuredly am not being trite…but I DO BELIEVE IN the power of prayer and miracles…HE IS…JEHOVAH RAPHA ..EL SHADDAI… i SPEAK..Nate’s name every morning for HIS touch to heal his body and believe for that manifestation to be a witness for His miracle power..Amen
    In His love,

  7. You are such an example of faith to everyone around you, especially your kids. You are my hero. I love you.

  8. …just when you thought the earthquakes were over,,,, another frightening tremor. May God above remove the fear as you walk with Him. I’m standing in prayer also for you, my friend, and your precious family.
    Love and prayers for Nate.

  9. Margaret and Nate,
    My mom forwarded me the news of your cancer diagnosis. I am heartbroken for you and your family. I have been praying for you and your children and trust that God’s love and protection will carry you through every dark place in this journey. I will pray that …”you do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Cor. 4:16. With love,

  10. Wow, what powerful words! Everyone tries to console with the dreary sadness that is unavoidable when hearing the news. You put it in a victorious way, even though tears makes it hard to see! I hope we all can be as much of a gift to your family as you all are to the rest of us!


  11. Dear Margaret,

    “Where your treasure is, so will your heart be.” A big chunk of your heart is about to preceed you to heaven. With so much treasure residing there already, you’ll never need to be reminded that this is not your home. We’re praying…


  12. Margaret,
    Please know we are lifting you all in prayer to the sovereign All-knowing, Most High whose Divine Wisdom is wiser than we. We know our Lord will hold you all tenderly in His almighty hands. Love from all the Greens.
    Linda and Ray

  13. Margaret….my mind and heart have been gripped with Nate’s diagnosis. I can just barely fathom that this is happening to our dear friend Nate. I carry both of you in my thoughts and prayers continually pleading with God that His grace would be sufficient and that you would know His peace that passes all understanding. We know that an all-wise God does not make mistakes, but the physical, emotional and spiritual pain and suffering we go through sometimes is almost overwhelming. God is greater than our pain. Praying that He will carry you through this great trial in an amazing way. My love and prayers are with you,

  14. Thank you for sharing so openly during this difficult time. So many friends love you and it helps to know what’s happening – and helps us pray for you better.

    May you feel God’s presence in a very real way as you journey on. I will keep you in my prayers.


  15. Dear Margaret and all, I am SO sorry to
    hear this news. Thanks to Mary for including me in the emailing. I had no’
    idea of the problems with the sale of your house, let alone the Cancer. I will join so many others in praying and
    very much want to know how things go.
    Love in Christ, Ruth

  16. Margaret: I just learned of your devastating news from Mary and your blog site. Thanks so much for letting me know so that I can share in your suffering and pray for you my dear friend of many years. Martha

  17. Nate & Margaret.Wally and l are so saddened by this news of Nates cancer.We will be praying for you all that God in His loving kindness will bring you through these rough waters with peace & understanding beyond all that we can hope or think.We love you guys and wish Gods Loving grace on you all. Love Wally & Barb Fuja

  18. Margatet and Nate, Heard about your life experience yesterday at a friends. I was reading Isaiah 43:1-2 the AM and thought it was a good reminder to share with you today. “When you go through deep waters and great trouble I will be with you. When you walk through the fire of oppression the flames will not consume you. The Lord who made you says DO not be afraid for I have ransomed you, I have called you by name. You are mine”. Praying for you!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Margaret,
    I have shared this with Mom. Since we have known of Nate’s cancer, your family has been in our prayers, everyday. God doesn’t promise easy roads, just that HE IS ENOUGH, to take you on the journey He has planned for you. I know He will prove Himself over and over again. All of our love. – The Craigs

  20. Margaret, I don’t know you, but a friend told me about your blog. She thought you and I sound just alike expressing our feelings. My heart so cried out for you. You are in the darkest place one can be in. My thought–what a special family this must be. I have been there too, but at times I did not have the peace you express. But, Margaret, something so sacred happened to me that I could tell only a select few. My Heavenly Father took me to a place, explained what was happening, and why I was there. Has the Word of God become so alive to you that you could hear the still small voice of God? This is not spooky or anything like that. He is precious, and His Word is precious.
    I would wish to finish sharing with you, but I realize I can’t in this short comment. My prayer is to be a blessing to you and Nate. May God bless you both so much this very moment.
    With Sincerity,
    Martha Ann

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  23. Margaret, I first heard you on Revive Our Hearts about a year ago. I had a friend who lives in England and had just lost her husband. I bought your book and sent it to her. My husband is on kidney dialysis and does very well and even still works. In August of this last summer my husband had a below the knee amputation. Your story came back to my mind and I listen to it over and over. I was not considering the thought of being a widow it was more of praying for strength going thru the time after the surgery and needing to be of help to my husband. Thought of you and how you prayed while thinking you could not take care of Nate and the Lord brought you through. So many miracles happened during the days of surgery and during the rehab after. My husband now has a prosthetic and is close to returning to work. The first miracle was – my husband in automobile sales and sold a car to a Dr from Turkey 2 years ago. He helped this Dr who had just come to this country and had no Dr license and no credit. He got the license and they got hiim the credit after several months. 2 years later in August we walked into a surgeon office and guess who the surgeon was? Yep the Dr from Turkey. He said you took care of me and I will take care of you. The first miracle of many. Thank you Margaret,

  24. Margaret, I have just finished your book, “Hope for the Aching Heart”. It was given to me by my cousin whose husband passed away 4 years ago. She understood my heartache and pain of suffering this horrible loss in my life.
    While reading your book it has touched my heart in so many way. Your story is so similar to my very own. My husband was diagnoised with pancreatic cancer June 30, 2016 and lived just 73 days. I realize your time was much shorter but our news was such a surprise as my husband had not been sick. He has experienced nausea during the month of June. We were so shocked at the devastating news on June 30. Already in stage 4 with the disease having spread to lungs, possibly the bones and other parts of his body. I was blessed to be able to care for my precious husband at home with the aid of Hospice. He was blessed that he never suffered with any pain during this time. The disease was just swift and quick taking and robbing him of his physical strength and to not be able to care for his personal needs himself.
    I just want to tell you how much your book has ministered to my heart. The loss is still so very raw for me and some days I wonder how I am going to get to the next day. I found myself during this time not knowing how to pray and relied upon my friends for this part of my life until I could get some kind of traction and my mind from wondering to the “What If’s”.
    Thank you for such consoling words of comfort through the scriptures and short prayers. No, I was not ready to be a “widow” and I too am having a hard time accepting the fact as that is where I am. I know that had God given me with a year or another 10 it would not have been long enough.
    My husband and I had just celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary in June. When you love someone so deeply there are never enough years.
    Your stories fit our lives so perfectly and often times I could put Buddy’s name where Nate’s was. (Trust you don’t mind.)
    Again, thank you for this wonderful devotional book. It will be read and reread many times before I have completed my journey and have found healing for my life without the “love of my life”.
    Words of encouragement to get from this day to the next are exactly what I need right now. I have lost my way but trying to stay on track reading God’s word and relying upon the prayers of my church family and friends. How does one get one foot in front of the other?
    May God continue to bless you in your writings. They are encouraging and bring comfort to others and to know that others have walked this path through the dark and lonesome valley. Trusting that I will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel but understand that it will take about a year getting through all of the first. However, a year seems so long and far away.
    Thank you for your blessing to me and others through these devotions of scripture and prayers.
    Living with a broken and painful heart at the present time and trusting God for healing in His time.
    Vesta Sue Zimmerman