Bringing Hope to Others With Cancer While We Wait

LarissaWaiting with Expectation Means Bringing Hope to Other

When I took my wedding vows I never really thought the “in sickness and health” part through all the way. I guess I just assumed that would come later in life – like when we were in our 60s or 70s. However, sickness arrived when my husband was 44 years old—while deployed in Iraq.

When I first heard the words “they found a mass” I was totally wrapped up in myself—and our future move from Okinawa to Oahu. As a Marine spouse I felt like all I had experienced had made me tough. That was until I first heard my husband being diagnosed with a leiomyosarcoma—this was going to require a whole new level of toughness. Before the official diagnoses the hubs named his mass T.I.M. for The Inconvenient Mass. I couldn’t stand the word mass so the hubs got creative and T.I.M. was named. The naming of the mass was just the beginning of the humor that has gotten us both through the past four years.

I never really saw myself as a caregiver—I am a wife to a very independent Marine who had been benched for a short while before T.I.M. was removed in 2011. I lived in cancer-free bliss, on the island of Oahu, and enjoyed our last tour to the fullest. I am grateful for the time God gave us thinking “we” were cancer-free. I knew the statistics and that T.I.M. could come back—science said there was a 40% chance. However, we would catch it in its infant stage and fight it early. Or, so we thought.

I wasn’t prepared for what the second diagnosis brought. The cancer was discovered in the unlikeliest of places. And, it wasn’t following sarcoma protocol—it had the nerve to come back in several places this time. Though I was caught off guard, our Mighty God was not.

We got a second opinion this time and so we take the five-hour trek to Houston every two months to get new scans and discuss the sarcoma’s growth. Right now B.O.B (Blobs on Bill) is growing at an unimpressive rate—so we wait. We wait for two months to pass. And then we wait for the results. And then we wait to hear what the specialist has to say. Then we drive back home and we wait again.

And in those waiting periods life goes on. Life goes on after a cancer diagnosis. People move on after they think you are ok. And yet, I don’t get to move on. I am in a two-month holding pattern.

I have noticed that God is using these two-month stretches of time to grow me. To show me that I can lean on Him and that He is still in control. He has not moved on though family and friends have. He cares about me. The weird part about waiting is living and moving forward while waiting. Life has to go on. Bills still have to be paid. The dogs still want to eat. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday still come around just as Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday do as well. Holidays come and go. In the midst of this waiting I lost my mother to cancer. In the midst of waiting I have taken a girls weekend. I wrote 31 days in a row on “Doing Community Well”, while waiting. In the midst of waiting I take care of my husband. We nap every day. Exhaustion is his only “symptom” right now. I am resting while I am waiting. I am praising God while I am waiting. I am enjoying time with my girlfriends while I am waiting. I co-lead a women’s Bible study while I am waiting. We open our home every Wednesday night to our Life Group while we are waiting.

One weird reality right now is that I am a caregiver to a mostly healthy person. Both the hubs local oncologist and the specialist at MDA say that he is the healthiest cancer patient they have. And, so, we wait!

Someone asked me recently what my ministry was and it dawned on me that my ministry is my husband. And my/our ministry, as a couple, is to shine brightly in the dark world of cancer. We bring hope in with us wherever we go.

Our ministry is bringing hope to others with cancer (and their #caregivers) while we wait to see… Click To Tweet

Romans 15:13 (NIV) “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

My ministry as a caregiver is to walk into MD Anderson with my cancer patient and I smile and hug others when I get a chance. I talk to other patients and caregivers since I am the extrovert in our family. I share about how we are trusting God during this “terminal” waiting period.

1 Chronicles 16:8 (NLT) “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.”

People without cancer give us weird looks. Or ask a ton of questions. Or any variation of looks and emotions and questions. Cancer families just know. They understand the waiting. We actually wait and laugh and make jokes about cancer together. It’s our coping mechanism. It gives us a break from the reality of what we are facing. And it makes all the sitting in waiting rooms so much easier.

I see this current season in my life as a privilege to serve my husband and others and I pray daily that He would be glorified through me! I am waiting and I am praying. And I am waiting with expectation for my God who is faithful.

Psalm 5:3 (NIV) “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”


LarissaLarissa Traquair is a blogger, volunteer and C.I.O. (Chief Inspiring officer) of the Gr8tful Tribe on Facebook and on Periscope. She is known as the Gr8tful Chick on all her social media outlets. She is a mom to a pair of adopted bulldogs and has been married to her Marine for 22 + years. They are retired in Texas now and trusting God through the transition from active duty to retiree all while dealing with a cancer diagnosis. She loves all things paper –scrap booking (Project Life); stamping; and paper planning. She also loves dark chocolate and doing lunch with girlfriends. She shares gratitude, her love for food, and what God is doing in her life over at www.thehouseoftraquair.blogspot.com. She currently serves on the social media team of a military ministry called Planting Roots where she can be found coordinating their Periscope Broadcasting schedule among their 21 member volunteer team.

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Larissa, speaking from the other side of the caregiving fence, your courage and sense of humour – and your love – are exactly what’s needed.

    You guys are in my prayers.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 88 – Tabula Rasa {FMF}My Profile

    • Sometimes, Andrew, all I can do is love my husband – so many things are out of my/our control. Just grateful for a God who is in control!!! Thanks for your sweet words and for your prayers!!!! God bless you!!
      Larissa Traquair recently posted…My Break is Over!My Profile

  • Beautiful words to share to bring hope and encouragement no matter what side of caregiving you are on. Thank you for making me smile and I am praying in your waiting.
    Mary Geisen recently posted…O Come O Come EmanuelMy Profile

    • Happy to make you smile and I am so GR8tful for your prayers!!! God bless you sweet sister!!!
      Larissa Traquair recently posted…My Break is Over!My Profile

  • Larissa, love this friend. Thank you for sharing you story. Advent is all about waiting, isn’t it? There is holy in the waiting. Continuing to pray for you, Bill and those who are journeying this cancer journey. I may have to share this post with my friend Laura’s daughters because they too have been waiting.
    Tara recently posted…Sunday Blessings 103My Profile

    • Please share with anyone you feel would benefit from it!!! We are all in this together!!! God bless you sweet friend!!!
      Larissa Traquair recently posted…My Break is Over!My Profile

  • Dear Larissa … those waiting room seasons are the hardest. That you are choosing to reach out to others with smiles and hugs and conversation is such a beautiful gift. Many blessings to your family …
    Linda Stoll recently posted…November GratitudesMy Profile

    • God has been so sweet in these encounters with others. His hand is all over this situation for sure!!!! We have met some of the most amazing people and we have already lost one unfortunately. This is definitely a bumpy ride that only God could navigate well!!!! God bless you!!!
      Larissa Traquair recently posted…My Break is Over!My Profile

  • May God continue to give you all that you need to minister to your husband in the days ahead. Thank you for sharing your story as I know many will be encouraged to read it. Blessings!
    Joanne Viola recently posted…The Time of WaitingMy Profile

  • larissa, i enjoyed reading your story…and hearing how GOD is helping you and your husband endure and even thrive during this time of trial. you will be on my heart in the days ahead.
    martha brady recently posted…THE GOOD SHEPHERD PREPARES A TABLE FOR ME…My Profile

  • I think waiting would be the hardest of all. Thank you for sharing the ways God ministers to and through you in the waiting times. Love the humor!
    Barbara H. recently posted…A Few Grimm’s Fairy TalesMy Profile