The Blog Post I Never Wanted to Write

Andrew&SamanthaSmith2014-80

I don’t have a smooth introduction into this. We have had a difficult time facing this reality, let alone writing about it. So, bear with me as these words stubbornly flow from my fingertips.

About four months ago, we learned that Andrew’s cancer has returned. We both lived in a state of shock and depression for a while after we were hit with this news. We’ve taken the past few months to cope with this and what it means for us. Family and close friends were told, but otherwise, we’ve intentionally kept things very quiet and private between us. Truth is, we’ve enjoyed normalcy. We’ve enjoyed having conversations with friends and strangers that didn’t center around cancer. We’ve enjoyed our leap of faith in buying our first home together, truly believing in the core of our hearts that we had beaten this disease and were free to move on with our lives. We’ve enjoyed feeling like two twenty-four year olds. We’ve enjoyed living without wondering. Andrew and I want to hold onto that as long as we can, but we know things are about to get more rocky in our lives. We have so cherished and valued the support and prayers of the community that has wrapped itself around us and we know we will desperately need that yet again.

Andrew will have to undergo a bone marrow transplant. This is an intense procedure. It has great risks, but potentially, great reward. This could be a cure. It could be an answer to prayer. It scares the heck out of me, but it’s our best option at this point. Thankfully, we have a donor. That was a huge victory in and of itself. Andrew will be out of commission for quite awhile and we would so appreciate your prayers over our next year or so. There will be some very tough days, days full of vomit and frustration. Pillowcases covered in thin, wispy hairs that have fallen off of Andrew’s head due to intense radiation and chemotherapy. Stacks of books and a Netflix queue full of movies and shows recommended by friends and family. This will be our life for the months to come. But who is ready to fearlessly face this thing head on? Andrew, of course. Sure, we both went through sadness and confusion for awhile, but Andrew has handled the idea of this next phase like he always does- like a warrior. Cancer really picked the wrong guy to latch onto. We are about to kick its butt to kingdom come. For good.

So friends, with a heavy heart from a worried wife, I ask for prayers. Prayers of praise and thankfulness, first and foremost, for God has a beautiful plan for all of this. We thought He had finished this chapter of our lives, but He has something else in mind. We welcome that, accept it, and pray for the courage to live it out as Christ sees fit. We’re so thankful for modern medicine and that something like a bone marrow transplant even exists. What a miracle. Andrew and I ask for prayers for patience, comfort, and bravery as we face the months ahead. Patience for the months to go by smoothly and quickly; (and for all of the Butler games we’re going to have to miss this season! 😉 ; comfort as we truly do not understand why this is happening in our lives, but trust in the will of the Lord; and bravery as this is just plain scary. It’s terrifying to think of “what if,” but we pray for valor and boldness to be triumphant over this.

“Grace carried me here and by grace I’ll carry on.” 

44 thoughts on “The Blog Post I Never Wanted to Write

  1. Having lived with cancer for a short while,I understand the confusion, pain, challenges and frustration yet knowing in my soul that God’s plan is best while my heart ached. We found David’s psalms to be encouraging. He asked God for specific help – he was not hesitant to say exactly what he needed. We can go boldly before God’s throne, knowing our Great High Priest, Jesus, is already there, making intercession for us, even when words fail us. Prayers for courage and peace beyond men’s understanding. Rose

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Dear Andrew and Samantha,

    I am so sad upon reading your e-mail. I, too, had thought that the cancer was behind you. I never thought of it recurring or of Andrew needing a bone marrow transplant.

    I am glad that you are in an area of our country and world in which there is good, excellent medical care. This is a blessing and one you need.

    I will be praying for the two of you as you navigate this time . . . again. I will pray for Andrew’s health and for his body to get well again, and for you, Samantha, as you stay by his side as his helpmate in God’s Design.

    Thank you for this e-mail. I appreciate being on your mailing list.

    Your friend,
    Suzanne Twist Note: My husband Tony is working overseas, but will return in mid-September for his work stateside. I will forward your e-mail to him so he is aware of this health development and can pray also.

  3. As a fellow cancer survivor, I am sending all my strength, prayers and faith in God to give you both what you need to take this challenge head on!

  4. Thank you for your blog. Those who ever knew Andrew have wondered how he was doing and will certainly keep praying for both of you and all his family that love him so.

  5. Prayers to both of you. #BulldogNation is behind you 100%. Praying that God will grant you peace beyond all earthly understanding.

  6. I had colon cancer 6 years ago and I beat it. I had an operation for prostate cancer in Feburary of this year and I beat it. Please keep your faith up and he will beat it
    Our prayers are with both of you

    Gene Gordon. Butler 61

  7. Keeping you both in my prayers. The way you have handled this challenge and your courage to share your experience with others is inspiring. Very proud to be a fellow Bulldog, and kick cancer’s butt!!!!

  8. Andrew & Samantha–
    My heart sank reading this most recent blog post. I am so sorry this is happening again, but with that said, I know if there were ever two faith-filled warriors who can bravely win this next battle…it’s you two. Please know you’ve both been in my daily prayers from the beginning, and that’s exactly where you’ll remain.

    Rebecca Cameron, Butler ’91

  9. Our hearts goes out to you both. We pray for you both daily.
    You r right the cancer picked on the wrong couple. Your
    Love and faith will carry you both through all this craziness
    Just know you both r love by many, keep your faith and we
    Love you both, we r a call a way.

  10. Continued prayers during another detour of your life’s journey. I am a 12-year CML survivor who went through a stem cell transplant in 2007 (on our 20th wedding anniversary!). Can’t say enough good things about nbmtlink.org for advice on getting through transplant.
    If anyone can get through this it’s Andrew! May God continue to give you strength and healing.
    Donna O Butler Class of 1984

  11. My husband and I have watched Butler play at Xavier for many years and have been following your incredible story of courage and faith. Please know that we will be lifting you and your family up in prayer everyday!! Lean heavily on God and know that He will carry you both through this.
    Love and prayers coming from Cincinnati

  12. Prayers from Tennessee for you both.
    Your faith is such an example of love for The Lord!!
    I’m sharing the words our pastor gave us when he was diagnosed with colon-rectal Cancer: I have reread them many times as my husband fights his cancer battle.
    I’m convinced that…..
    1.”God loves me and has already cured me of the worst disease I ever faced – my sin nature. ”
    2. “God has a wonderful plan for my life”. Jeremiah 39:11
    I trust Him and I trust His plan.
    3. “God will never leave me and His grace is sufficient for me. Hebrews 13:5
    4. “God will work this for good”. Romans 8:28
    God has a Plan – Presence – Purpose
    I will trust Him to heal or to use this to bring glory to God.

  13. We continue to pray for Andrew and that God will use the bone marrow transplant to rid his body of cancer and bring amazing health to him with no more complications or recurrence. Our love and prayers are with you and your family. Henry and Marcia Jones

    Sent from my iPhone Marcia

    >

  14. We have been praying and will continue with ferver! You both are touching so many people with your testimony of courage and faith.
    Vickie and Dean Rush

  15. As a retired Southern Baptist minister I have placed you at the top of my list to pray
    daily for you for healing…..I do believe in healing!!!! Bill

  16. Hi. One prayer among the many is for you and Andrew to do whatever can help you stay encouraged on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis. The evil one can snatch joy and hope away from your days ahead in the blink of an eye. There is no power to counter this greater than Jesus Christ and the fellowship of his believers.

  17. I am a good friend of Marion (John, your brother in law’s mom) and she asked me to pray and gave us a link to your blog. Thank you so much for sharing the reality of what is going on in your lives. My husband and I will be praying for you and your family at this time. Yes it sounds like a real lot to be facing! May Father God bless you and keep you safe under the shadow of His wings.

  18. Andrew and Samantha,
    We are with you, behind you, and ready to lift you up in prayer. If anyone can beat this, it’s you. God bless.

  19. A few months ago I was telling a friend the story of how my son was named. I had always had a name planned out if I were to have a girl, but a boy…nothing. It was then that I realized we lost track of our inspiration.

    My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant, and were probably technically pregnant when we attended the 2010 Diamond Head Classic here in Hawai’i at UH. I always spot the “44” jersey numbers right away; look for them actually, since that was my number while playing. To my joy, Butler’s 44 had our last name! We looked up the roster, and long story short, we knew that “Andrew Smith” would be the perfect name for a boy. We found out we were pregnant a few days later, and 4 month later that it was a boy. I’ll even admit to googling your Andrew to see if he had a middle name we could use as well. 😉 And I spent a good portion that tournament trying to get the perfect shot of the back of Andrew’s jersey. Ha!

    When I found your blog a few months ago, my heart sank. We became big Butler fans after that win at the Diamond Head Classic, and big fans of their/your “Big”. In October of 2011, we welcomed our own Andrew Smith into the world. I am so glad he’s named after such a pillar of strength, perseverance, and fight.

    I’m so sorry to come back to your blog and see this news. Our thoughts and wishes for patience, strength, health, and comfort are sent your way.

    1. Jennifer, this message just made my week and I haven’t stopped thinking about it! Thank you for sending this along and bringing joy to us with it; it really touched me. It is a strong name and is held by a strong person! I wish your family and son as much joy and love as I feel with “my” Andrew every day! Blessings!

  20. I don’t know either of you but my heart told me I needed to post something to your blog. In 2007, my son’s ALL relapsed after being cancer free for 6 years. After 5 rounds of intense chemo, he underwent a stem cell transplant. Thankfully, he is cancer free, married, and living a normal life.

    The journey you are about to take will not be easy for either of you but you will make it. Life will be normal once again. Both of you are in my prayers. God Bless!

  21. Andrew and Sam,

    No I don’t know you but my husband and I have walked your path …. 25 years ago. See, I was diagnosed at age 30 w acute lymphocytic leukemia, potentially very fatal at my age then. We had two kids, 15 months & 3. Went thru chemo and into remission. Came back 2 years later and I was in your shoes now. My oldest sister was my donor…. And I just celebrated my 25 year survival w a huge party this last Saturday w friends and family! You, too, can do this!!! It’s a rough first year, but it’s all worth it, I promise!

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