Friday, July 24, 2009


In July, 2006, my husband, Patrick, was diagnosed with a Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Unknown Origin, which is unlike regular Squamous Cell Carcinoma in that the doctors are unable to locate exactly where it started. This makes it very hard to treat. His presented as a knot behind his left ear which increased to the size of a large orange before chemo therapy reduced it. He then had 39 rounds of complete head and neck radiation. Needless to say, by the time it was all over, we were very thankful that the cancer was completely eradicated but very sad to have to treat terrible, black burns on his neck and an almost complete loss of hearing. The hearing loss was caused by the first round of chemo. It is a very, very rare side effect and one that the doctors did not expect. They immediately changed the type of chemo he received but the damage was already done.

At that time, I was already on disability and Pat was out of a job. Our only concern was getting him through his treatments and cancer free.

Since that time, my health has deteriorated to the point that I am not able to stand on my feet for more than 5 minutes at a time due to excruciating pain. Pat is doing all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping and at the same time, still looking for a full time job. He has worked some since 2006 but has not had anything steady. Our savings is about gone and if he does not find something soon, our fate, as always, will be in God's hands. He's never let us down and I know He won't do so now. Whatever His plan, it will be for our benefit and to His glory.

As you read this poem, keep all of the above in mind, putting yourself at our dinner table in July, 2006. See if you would be as humbled by the faith of your husband as I was.

God Bless,


One night we sat at the table
With my sis and her husband George,
Ready to eat a steak dinner
So much food we nearly would gorge.

As we sat hands held in a circle
Ready to go to God in prayer,
My Patrick began to send his words
To our Father floating on air.

We sat there with problems many,
My poor health the oldest one,
And Pat was without work again,
Due to some unkind deed that was done.

And just the day before we sat
With the doctor, thoughts spinning round,
We heard the word called cancer
And it was a dreaded sound.

Pat thanked God for our many blessings
For our family and our friends,
For the food that we were blessed with
For our Savior whom God did send.

And then he thanked our Father
For the opportunities sent our way.
He didn’t ask to have them gone
Just for strength to get through each day.

Since that evening just two days ago
I’ve thought how could he see
The trials we have been given
As chances for opportunity.

But as I’ve looked into his eyes
And been held in his arms,
I knew that he was very right
For God never sends us harm.

Opportunity number one will be
For our faith to grow and grow
And for us to come much closer
To our God as on life’s path we go.

Opportunity number two will be
For family members who are lost
To see that God is with us
And we can’t lose no matter the cost.

Opportunity number three I know
Is the hardest one for me,
For it’s to let others serve us
And use their talents to fill our needs;

To share their love and blessings
As we’ll need them in times to come,
And know that God will get the glory
Along with His dear Son.

Opportunity number four is quite
A selfish one for me
As it brings our family closer
And helps us all to see

That we must work together
If we are to truly overcome
The opportunities before us
Without become gloomy and glum,

And to know that we aren’t guaranteed
A life that’s full of roses,
But with God and friends beside us
We’ll learn what God proposes.

There’s one more opportunity
That I mustn’t fail to see
And that is that my Patrick
Will always love and care for me,

And I will always love him
Through days both good and bad,
And we will turn our sadness
Into hearts that make us glad.

For no matter what the next months bring
Whether ease of step of muddy trod,
We’ll always have each other
And we'll always have our God.

And we’ll know that all works together
For those who love the Lord
And He won’t ever give us
More than He knows is our fair load.

So if life should send you struggles
And the way out you can’t see,
Don’t think of them as troubles
They’re God’s blessed opportunities.

Joyce K. Smith
July 29, 2006

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to see that you can transfer into your poetry some struggles that you might endure and make them opportunities...Your poem has great meter and the rhyme is done so well...
    Sorry to be tardy, Mimmy, but been bogged down and it has been hot here OR in the 100's..


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