Monday, February 21, 2011

In Sickness & In Health

When I started writing this 4 days ago, I was sitting in the waiting room of a hospital while Cosbie had surgery to remove some lymph nodes from his neck. He has been sick for a few months now. Around Thanksgiving he went to the doctor and they said he had mono. The day we went to get our engagement pictures taken he woke up with a very swollen neck, mostly on his right side. He had been to a couple of doctors with a couple rounds of antibiotics, but nothing worked. Week before last he went back to the doctor and was sent to the ENT on Tuesday. The ENT was pretty concerned and sent him to get a CT scan right then and sent the results back to the doctor that day too. When they met with the doctor and looked at the scan, they were almost certain that he had lymphoma.

Tuesday Cosbie called me during my lunch break. He asked me if I was sitting down and I knew I wasn't going to like where this conversation went. I wish I could say that I kept it together and was able to be strong for him, but I couldn't. I lost it. I was devastated and terrified and angry all at once. I was mad at myself for not being more concerned sooner. I was mad at the doctor for not doing anything about it sooner. And I was mad at God for threatening to hurt the man I had prayed to come for so many years. Somehow I made it through the rest of the day at school. I could have never done that without the awesome teachers that I work with here. I am so thankful that they were here for me. A few minutes after I left school, the tears just wouldn't stop. I pulled over into a parking lot and just cried. I couldn't breathe. Everything started to look black and fuzzy and I thought I was about to pass out. For a few minutes, fear and anxiety completely gripped my body. It was the scariest thing I have ever felt. I was alone and terrified of what was about to happen to me. And then it was just like God got in my face and said, "ok, we're done." And I was done. I felt peace. I was still crying, but it was different. This was of God, not of Satan. Even though I was upset, it was still glorifying to Him. When I got back to Dahlonega, Savannah came over and sat with me, let me cry for a few minutes, and then just talked and ate dinner with me. She was exactly what I needed- someone to let me cry but also someone to let life be normal for a few minutes too.

I needed to be with Cosbie. There was no way I was going to be able to stay in Dahlonega and not be with him, so I packed a bag and headed to his house. I am a crier, but I also have a hard time dealing with things. I have these mood swings where I go from needing to talk and cry to wanting to pretend that nothing is happening within seconds of each other. I know it's ridiculous and very difficult for people to deal with, but that's how I've always been. I can already tell you that this is going to teach me to talk about things and deal. I had a hard time Tuesday night. Cosbie was the one calming me down and comforting me, and it should have been the other way around. I wanted so badly to be able to get myself together and be strong for him, but I just couldn't do it.

Wednesday I was still in denial. I was mad at everyone for talking about it all the time and I kept thinking it would just go away. I was putting up walls to everyone, including Cosbie. I knew he didn't need to deal with me on top of everything else, but I couldn't figure out how to deal with this. Thursday was surgery day. The whole time he was in surgery I was still thinking this was going to be nothing and we would be done with all of it by the end of the day. The surgery would fix whatever was wrong and we wouldn't have to worry about this anymore. When the surgeon came out, he told us that it was pretty evident that Cosbie does have lymphoma. The good news is that his body has already started attacking it. I couldn't think straight. I couldn't see. I felt like I was going to be sick. This couldn't be happening to him. To us. I don't remember much else. I remember sitting down next to my mom and just crying. I don't know what anyone else around me was doing. I couldn't breathe. I was focusing all my efforts on trying to breathe and not pass out. I was scared and angry and just kept telling my mom, "I can't do this." I was afraid. Afraid of what was going to happen. Afraid of what I didn't know. And afraid that I wasn't going to be able to be what Cosbie needs me to be. I am so thankful for the people that were sitting in that room with us. I could have never done that without my mom there with me. Some of Carol Ann's friends were there and they prayed over us and helped me feel peace. And the sweetest volunteer that was working there, Chica. I knew I had to get it together. Sweet Chica let my mom and I go into a nurses' bathroom where we sat and cried some more and prayed and then sucked it up. I was never going to be able to be what Cosbie needed if I couldn't get it together. So I did. (sucking up the tears is one of my spiritual gifts.) And I kept it together. Because that's what he needed. He knows me. He knew I was hurting. He knew I was scared. He knew I had cried and would cry some more in the days and hours to come, but that's not what he needed to see when I walked in that room. He needed me to be strong. He needed me to be honest with him about what the doctor told us. He needed me to learn to change his drain and pay attention to the nurse talking about his medicine. What we do know is that this is very treatable. Yes, it is cancer, and no one ever wants the one they love to have cancer, but I'm not afraid of losing Cosbie anymore. All of my fear comes from the unknown of what is to come.

It has been a long week, and this is only the beginning. There have been moments when I cried and yelled and screamed alone in my car. There have been moments when I have been on my knees begging God to be the God who gives and not the God who takes away. There have been moments when I have been angry. There have been moments when I have been mad at God because I know and believe that He can heal Cosbie and that He is choosing not to. I will admit that I struggle with those moments more than anything else. I have asked why. I have asked to take his place. I have been sad and mourned the loss of all of our plans- a wedding, a honeymoon, a family, a normal life. There are times when I would give anything to go back to Monday afternoon- our first Valentine's day together. Mexican food, a movie, and Cosbie. My heart was full. 24 hours later it was breaking and terrified.

We don't know what we're doing about the wedding. We don't know when we will be married- sooner than May 21? on May 21? or after? But what I do know is I am marrying him. I'm not leaving. I'm going to be right by his side every step of the way. Cancer is not our life; cancer is our next 6 months to a year. We have the rest of our lives after this to be together cancer free. It's not going to be easy. Some days will require more faith than others and some days will involve more tears than others. Some days he will lean on me more and other days I will lean on him. There will be awful days and then there will be ok days. But at some point every day I still see my Cosbie. I see the man I love in his smile. He won't be overtaken by this and neither will our marriage. I believe that God allowed this to happen now and not before we met because we can take this on together. There are a lot of questions without answers right now, but I don't care. I only love him more through every day of this and there's nowhere else I'd rather be than by his side.

Our God is bigger than lymphoma. He's bigger than us and bigger than our fear, doubts, and tears. No matter where we are, He is the same. He has been so faithful to us and He won't stop now.


  1. Love you so much my sweet and best friend!!! So thankful for our faithful and wonderful Savior!!!!

  2. You have an amazing faith!! Praying for you both!

  3. You are amazing and you are so right
    God is bigger im praying extra for strength and peace that only GOd can give! Love ya sweet girl thank you for Sharing your heart!

  4. I love you. We are praying and are here for you.

  5. you don't know me --- I was sent a link to your blog by someone who sent a note that said "does this young woman remind you of anyone?". I've only read a couple of recent postings, but you do indeed remind me of someone. She is around 100 now and started serving God when she was 21. Her life has been full of the usual ups and downs, wonderful times and devastating times and through them all, she has served God. Many times over the years our pastor would call on her to testify and man would that put fire in her veins ...... she always started with "I've been serving God for x years, since I was 21 years old" and before long she'd be shouting and praising. Of course, as each year passed the "serving for" would increase. What an amazing woman she is! Serving God now for over 80 years. You, Caitlin, will be just like Sister A .... and will serve God all of your life and share his love with all of those around you. You, like her, will bless many.

    You said this:
    Our God is bigger than lymphoma. He's bigger than us and bigger than our fear, doubts, and tears. No matter where we are, He is the same. He has been so faithful to us and He won't stop now.

    This is so true! So true. He is all of these things and more and he will help you through this. Don't beat yourself up for giving into human emotions during this journey .... God gave us our emotions for a reason, they help us to be who we are, who he designed us to be.

    Prayers for Cosbie and you!

  6. Sweet Caitlin,
    You are absolutely covered in prayer. This is so beautifully written and I know it's from the depths of your heart. I promise to "pray without ceasing" for you, Cosbie and your families. I believe in the power of prayer. Much Love~Jennifer

  7. Caitlin,
    I know I don't exactly know you, but please know you are being covered in prayer daily. I admire you so much...and I will continue to echo your words:

    Our God is bigger than lymphoma. He's bigger than us and bigger than our fear, doubts, and tears. No matter where we are, He is the same. He has been so faithful to us and He won't stop now.

  8. Caitlin, these words have blessed me. It is hard to believe you would have a time when you put up walls because the walls don't appear in the transparency of your writing. This is a hard journey. Indescribable to most people. I was thinking this morning how people will say to me, they admire me. What does that mean? People may admire the way I am handling something but I'm sure they would never ever pray to be walking the circumstances I am walking through. On the other hand, people admire others that they pray God will use them similarly (like maybe Louie Giglio or Andy Stanley). So my first inclination is to say I admire the way you are handling this because I do.....but I just don't think that word is right bin this situation. I am very sorry you are having to experience the grief of many dreams.....that stinks and there is no way around it. But I am prayerful and hopeful that we will see God's amazing power and love and I pray great things for you.....not just a great testimony but great things that bring you great joy!

    Your aunt to be Carol

  9. Caitlin,
    I am a friend of Lindsey's and I just wanted you to know that my heart breaks for you and I pray for you continually and am confident that God has some amazing things in store for you and for Cosbie that will bring Him the ultimate glofy. He has entrusted your faith enough with something this difficult, and He will be there with you and Cosbie every step of the way.

    And keep on planning that wedding! It will undoubtedly be the most beautiful one around. :)


  10. Every now and then I read yours and Lindsey's blogs for encouragement in my walk.

    I just want you to know that I love you and am continuously praying for you.

    Our God is bigger.

  11. Caitlin,

    I found your blog through another blog I read. I just want to thank you for sharing your heart and allowing the blogging world to pray for you on this journey. Our God truly is way bigger than lymphoma and I encourage you to hold on to that promise! I'm looking forward to reading how God is working in your situation in the future! We're kind of from the same area - I go to Toccoa Falls - so it's kinda cool to find someone local! I will be praying for Cosbie and for you - y'all look like a precious couple! :) My heart and prayers go out to you.


  12. Dear friend,
    I wanted to give you your space and time to deal with this in your own way, but I need you to know that I am with you in spirit and have been and will continue to pray without ceasing. Jesus and I have been talking about you non-stop. Today, I found this and felt the need to share with you...

    I Thessalonians 3:7 "Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith"

    Basically I am just so proud of you and the way that you are handling everything. I loved your heart felt post. I'm fully assured that God will not give you more than you can take and He will continue to strengthen you and Cosbie through this unfortunate journey. You have an incredible faith and you are a light to us all. We can't see it all just yet, but God's plan for all of this will unfold in due time and it will be more glorious than anything we could imagine. So please continue to stay strong in your faith because our Lord will provide. Know that I love you both and will be praying for you both!

  13. Caitlin,
    I love you friend. You have such amazing faith, and you are completely right, God is bigger than all of this, and He will get you and Cosbie through this hard time. We are praying for you both!

  14. Caitlin,
    i came across your blog as i was reading some other blogs. your words truly exemplify your passion for helping the love of your life beat this obstacle in the way. no one ever wants to hear that a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. but your heartfelt words really moved me and i think if you leave your faith and trust in God's hands, he will guide you, Cosbie and your families to see the light at the end of this somewhat dark tunnel now. you're all in my thoughts and prayers.


  15. You will never know how proud I am of you. Always have been. As I read your blog, I was speechless. What a mighty God we serve that takes our anger, hurt, fears, and tears. Know that even though the words are not coming out right, I admire your faith and wish I could be as strong. There are over 100 people at my church praying for Cosbie. I don't know Cosbie really but love him because you do. I love you, sweet niece. Doris

  16. About four and a half years ago, when I was facing similar circumstances, my daughter's sweet, young friend sent me an encouraging message that include this scripture: "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23 Those verses blessed me a great deal at the time, and I am now praying they will bless you and Cosbie. We serve a mighty and loving God. We are praying for you both! Mrs. Ross