Wineskins Archive

February 11, 2014

In God’s Arms – Part 3 (Jul-Aug 2002)

Filed under: — @ 5:48 pm and

By Angie Wilhite

Complete healing…of my brother’s mind…but what about his body?In time, Greg’s mind healed completely. In August of 1989, Greg started back to work. It was very difficult and tiring. He complained about pain in his legs. He attributed the pain to riding the tractor too long. Gradually, the pain intensified and spread to his back and abdomen. Greg was forced to quit working after six weeks.

On Greg’s last full day of work, he drove himself to the emergency room. He requested medicine to relieve the excruciating pain he was experiencing. The doctors checked him into the hospital that day and began a long series of test to try to pinpoint the pain. He was released within a week and no diagnosis was given. However, the pain grew worse and Greg was admitted again in a few days.

Bone marrow tests revealed Greg had Burkett Lymphoma. This type of cancer moves rapidly through the bloodstream. We were told that Greg could live up to a year with chemotherapy. Without treatment, he might live a month. There was no cure. The news was devastating. Our hearts were broken.

Greg opted to take the chemotherapy treatments. He received three painful spinal taps. His pain and suffering intensified. He began vomiting numerous times a day. Many times he never made it to the bathroom. He would mess all over himself. He had difficulty swallowing and talking because his throat was covered with painful blood sores. It became increasingly difficult for him to eat or talk. Greg began to wonder if he should have ever begun the chemotherapy treatments.

I was shocked to learn of Greg’s cancer. Part of me was numb. Part of me was extremely sad. A picture came to the back of my mind. I could see an image of God holding my brother’s tall, thin, limp body in His arms. This vivid picture stayed with me in the days to come. Visualizing Greg this way brought comfort and strength to my heart and soul.

I traveled back and forth to the hospital daily to visit my brother. I would spend the day at the hospital with my mother and brother and then return home to my family in the evening. Mom remained at my brother’s side nursing and caring for him.

Friday, October 27th, 1989, I was preparing to leave the hospital to go home to see my husband and children. Greg’s physician, Dr. Tippin, met me in the hall. He stopped me and said, “You’re not leaving, are you?” I replied, “I need to go home to my daughter after school.” He said, “I think you need to stay while I talk to your brother and mother. I have just discovered numerous infections in Greg’s blood. I need to find out what Greg’s feelings are on being resuscitated if his heart stops. His heart could stop anytime.” I stood silent. “Was I hearing him right? Could my brother really die anytime? God, he’s only thirty-two years old. Didn’t the doctors tell us he could live up to a year? It’s only been seven days since Greg came into the hospital. This just couldn’t be true. Was I dreaming? When would someone wake me up and tell me this had all been a bad dream?”

I quickly made arrangements for someone to care for my children and made plans to stay the night at the hospital. A nice family room was provided for patients and their families. I knew in my heart it was going to be a long night.

The doctor spoke with my brother and explained his options to him. Greg opted not to be revived. We respected his wishes. He knew he would only be a living vegetable if he were revived. He didn’t want to waste anyone’s time, energy or money to live a lifeless life.

Coming in Part 4: preparing for my brother’s death

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