As I mentioned at the end of last week’s blog, some miracles are small and some are BIG! They are all powerful and very personal when we recognize them. I think it is important to realize God gives us what we need at the exact moment we need it the most.
On Tuesday, September 22nd of last year, Beth and I arrived at the Abrahamson Center in downtown Philadelphia around 10:30am. We hoped her creatinine levels and her blood levels would be good enough, so she could start a new round of chemotherapy. At that point, they were trying any chemo drug they could think of.
All of her numbers were pretty good and we were relieved we would be able to do the treatment. However, after we got settled into our chemo suite, the Physician’s Assistant, Sara, (who absolutely loved Beth and was wonderful) came in and told us the insurance company denied the drug Beth’s doctors wanted to try. If you ever battle cancer that is something you get used to. My faith was high that day and I just felt like God had it all under control. I told Beth not to worry and it would all work out. The nurse began giving Beth her preliminary fluids and when it was time for the drug she walked in with the bag and said, “the insurance company just approved it!” We were ecstatic! The drug was administered and we were assured it was great and everyone tolerated it. Little did we know at the time, that was the beginning of the end. Unfortunately, Beth was that one in a million who didn’t tolerate this drug at all. This was the drug that messed up Beth’s bone marrow and destroyed her blood’s ability to produce platelets.
On Friday, September 25th I was excited because my band was playing at a big fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis. After a nine-hour day at QVC, I drove to the hotel where we would play. I was thinking it would be a fun night and a nice diversion from all of the stress we had been through. My band played great and the event was a huge success. After I finished packing up all of my equipment, I called home around 10:30pm. Beth answered and said some really weird things. I knew something was wrong. I asked her if Kelsey was home and when she said, “yes!” I asked her to please give the phone to Kelsey. I asked Kelsey what was going on and she said her mom had a slight fever and took a sleeping pill. I told her to wake her up because I had to get her to the emergency room. Patients who receive chemo treatments have a low immunity system and are susceptible to infections, so any fever, no matter how high, should be taken seriously.
When I arrived home, Kelsey was trying to get Beth dressed. This was an almost impossible task because she kept lying down on the bed. She just wanted to sleep. I helped Kelsey get her ready and I drove her to our local hospital. We got to the emergency room after 11:30pm and had a very long night indeed. Beth had a strange rash that started developing on her legs and the ER doctor just couldn’t figure out what was going on. Her temperature was around 101 degrees. I suspected it was all a reaction to the chemo treatment she received three days earlier. Around 2:30a.m. I was so tired that I was starting to grow cranky and somewhat impatient. I’ll never forget how Beth calmed me down with her smile and a wink. The same smile and wink that calmed me down so many times before. She continued to handle it all with amazing grace and a relentless positive attitude. Around 4a.m., the ER doctor told us he was going to give Beth a bag of antibiotics and let her go home on one condition. We promised we would come back immediately if the fever returned. Beth and I finally crawled into bed around 5:30a.m. It was a long night indeed.
I woke up around 12:30pm just in time to watch my Michigan Wolverines beat BYU 31-0 in football. I was on QVC that evening hosting a two-hour Christmas show. As I drove into work, I wondered what Christmas would be like this year and I hoped and prayed Beth would still be with us.
The next night, Sunday, September 27th I cooked steaks on a grill I was selling that week called “The T-Fal Optigrill.” Beth loved steak, but she barely touched hers that dinner. I knew she wasn’t feeling well so I took her temperature and it was back up to 100.6. Kelsey and I drove Beth back to the ER and Kirstyn met us there. I hosted two hours on QVC that night and then drove right to the ER after. Fortunately, this hospital is only five minutes away from QVC. Another big miracle through all of this was that God helped me stay focused on the job at the Q. I count that as miracle #9.
From that night on we took the most difficult journey we had ever been on. It was truly a roller coaster of emotions. Through it all, Beth continued to impress us all with her strength, courage and her heartwarming smile that I was fortunate enough to see so many times before.
Next week you will read about how God sent a male cardinal to me at the precise moment I needed a sign of hope. God bless and thank you for reading about the most incredible person I have ever known, Beth Wheeler.
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