Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me. Mark 14:34
Those of you who have followed my blog know that my friend Eva has pancreatic cancer. This journey for her has been a roller coaster ride. A back and forth from hope to despair to hope again. The pain and suffering she has endured has been immense. Through it all, she has tried to remain positive, yet realistic, and she continues to have hope for her future.
For those who know her, she is a lively, outgoing, funny person. She is caring and giving. Being around someone in so much physical pain is hard for some people, but Eva always manages to put people at ease. She is very open and honest, actually graceful about what she is going through. She’s not perfect, none of us are, but she is a light in a world of darkness.
Back in January, faced with the then diagnosis that there were no options left for her, she called and asked me if I could help plan her funeral. She said it was too much to bear for her husband, he just couldn’t. Of course I said yes, I didn’t want her to go alone. She was grateful for the opportunity to plan what she wanted, to let us know how she wanted her life celebrated. Most of us try to spend our time not thinking about these things, but she didn’t want to burden her husband in his grief should she die. She wanted him to know what to do.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have never shopped for a coffin or anything like that. Every funeral I have been to was planned by someone else. I was apprehensive at first, but as soon as I picked her up, I was put at ease. We laughed and joked the whole way to the funeral home.
When we got there, the sales agent was kind and gracious. I think he wasn’t quite used to an alive person planning their own funeral. And she is very much alive. Living more fully than some non-sick people I know.
We were a little overwhelmed by all the choices. Eva picked out the things she liked, and the sales agent and I recorded them. She even climbed into the coffin and had me take a picture. That did not sit well with some who saw the picture, but she meant no harm. We were joking and laughing, all the while I was weeping inside. We all have to face our own mortality someday, Eva is just open and honest about it.
Eva loved this crystal remembrance that can have ashes inside of it should one choose creamation.
Since that time she has had more of a roller coaster of hope and despair and hope again. She said the Cancer treatment centers of America were amazing. She was treated like a queen instead of a number. They performed a nerve block to help stop her pain, though complications have left fluid on her spine, which is also painful. She says she has met so many amazing people along the way who have been so kind and loving.
As for her current situation, she at first was told a couple of months ago, there was concern about her being strong enough and the scans weren’t clear enough for a Nano-knife procedure, but now with new scans it is able to be done. The Nano-knife blasts electricity into her tumor and destroys it. It has had much success. But since it is still considered experimental, her insurance has now decided to deny it. So it is now that she is left in the position of asking for help financially. I hate asking people for money, but I will ask for her sake. If you feel so inclined, please consider a donation. If not, please continue to pray for her and consider sharing the link. Thank you to all who have already donated.
Eva, I believe, has always been a beautiful woman.
She is even more beautiful now as she has grown closer to the Lord, trusting in him, and bringing our community together in prayer. She has said she is grateful for her cancer because it changed her and her families priorities and brought her back to God.
As we delve deeper into this Lenten season, let us always remember, hope is still here. Hope is in Christ, both here and in the life to come. I believe Eva is here still because of your prayer and her love for her family. Keep up the prayers. God Bless you all. You all know I love music, so I leave you with this beautiful song by Audrey Assad.