Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Cancer Crisis: 5:30 am at the UIHC

I hope folks will forgive me for this as this post is only tangentially about Virginia and her cancer.  It’s still dark outside as I begin this.  Virginia is sleeping right now.  Her breathing is heavy and a trifle labored.  She is hugging tightly the most recent acquisition to her stuffed critter collection, a large green frog holding a heart that says “Kiss Me”.  I’m awake answering e-mails, thinking, and praying

I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail and phone calls.  The words of encouragement are, well, encouraging.  Some of the e-mails have asked me blunt questions, one in particular asked “How could I still post those Demotivational Posters during this time?”

My answer to that is that I’ve got to do something to keep the smiles coming.

One e-mail from an online buddy struck a chord.  I won’t re-post his e-mail because he revealed some personal information that I assume is for my eyes alone.  As I read through my response to him, I realized that it very nicely summed up how I was currently coping with the whole situation.  S.L. I wrote this to you but I hope you don’t mind my sharing it with everyone…

At 43 years of age I have seen careless death, needless death, folks who have spent years in pain wishing they could die, and more senseless tragedy than I really care to.  I’ve lost both sets of grandparents.  Virginia and I have had a miscarriage.  I also lost a cousin when he was 10 due to drowning.

I have also seen pregnancy where the doctors said it couldn’t be done.  I’ve personally witnessed miracles of healing that defy common wisdom (I wish cell phone cameras had been invented the day I witnessed of boy with a serious birth defect grow his face back in front of the entire church).

My faith has always carried me through the toughest parts of my life.  I’ve been told by many people that my faith is a crutch.  That may be true, but then everyone has a crutch of some sort.  I just happen to replenish mine at church instead of the liquor store.  Please be aware that in no way am I representing those as the only two options and am by no means placing you or anyone else in a category. 😎

Yes, my faith tells me that someday after she passes from this life, I WILL see Virginia again.  I will see my grandparents.  I will see the child who never even had a chance.  I will see my still-born sister.  I do believe that the human soul is an eternal creature and will spend eternity in one of two places.  However Virginia’s eternal soul will not help me feed the boys.  She will not help in keeping the house clean.  Once she’s gone, I’m faced with some things on this plane of existence that truly scare me.  We are barely making ends meet with both of us working.  PIT #3 is only 11 years old, he’s not taking the whole “Mommy is going to heaven” thing very well.

Even though my faith gives me comfort and hope it does nothing to change some of the very real problems I’ll be facing once Virginia has left her cancer ridden shell.

Why does God allow things like this to happen?  Why is a young mother torn from the embrace of her husband and children?  Why does $h!t happen, God?  Believe me, even though I have my faith I still ask these questions.  They’re not easy to answer and folks who have asked these questions are faced with two choices; one to abandon that faith or two to accept that there is more to this existence and that we as humans do not comprehend everything.

We have never met face-to-face but I do number you among my friends.  If your conclusions about life, the universe, and everything are correct then my faith costs me nothing and provides me comfort in the time of a serious crisis.  If my conclusions about what’s going on are correct then again I have lost nothing but have gained something in the long run.

When I wrote that I was scared about the future, I may have unintentionally given the wrong impression of my thoughts regarding what will happen after Virgina has passed from this life to the next.  Yes, I am scared.  However, it is not the scared-out-of-my-wits-unable-to-do-anything-but-piss-my-pants sort of fear.  It’s the type of fear I had as a child, the “Daddy the thunderstorm is really scary is it going to get us?  No Steve, we’re safe inside the house.  C’mere, Daddy has a hug for you” fear.  I’m still scared but my faith tells me something larger than I has things under control.  I don’t see the whole picture.  I don’t know the reasons for “WHY?”.  But Daddy did and I believe that God does.

Science does not have all the answers.  Science cannot explain that spark of life.  Science cannot explain everything.  Every scientific FACT out there has yet to disprove God.  Scientific THEORIES abound that try to explain things that science cannot test for.  The thing is that faith does NOT require proof.  I believe that God exists.  I believe that He is in control of a larger plan that I do not understand.  This plan requires that my wife have cancer.  The future is not set, she may recover, she may not.  I do not know what the future has in store.

Pain is temporary, pain is something we have to endure here.  When Virginia leaves us she will leave the pain behind.  Someone will still have to feel it.  We live in an imperfect universe.  I will happily share my faith you if you ask.  I hope am not now and will not ever be seen as shoving it in front of you.

To answer your implied question, What is Truth?  Is it what the doctors tell us?  Is it what Televangelists tell us?  Is it what the Media spoons out to us in carefully measured sound-bites?  No, Truth is something that each individual must find for themselves.  There are guideposts for that journey.


That in a nutshell (ok a very large nutshell) sums up why I am both afraid and unconcerned about the future.

To this I add that I do not make friends easily.  Once made, I do not give them up easily either.  I have been disappointed many time by people who claimed to be my friends.  When I say that someone is my friend please be aware that this is not a title I bestow lightly nor is it a title I take for granted.

I’m not going to apologize for sharing my faith in this post.  If it offends you, it offends you.  I do not claim that I have discovered THE TRUTH, only that I believe that I have.  Truth is a personally journey for everyone.  I cannot make your choices for you.  I can only give you a glimpse of my journey and hope and pray that it helps you along yours.

May 10, 2010 - Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight | , , , , ,


  1. It sucks that you feel you have to explain yourself, but you did it in a great way. Hope today goes well.

    Comment by cassey | May 10, 2010

  2. @Casey – I don’t think it sucks that I felt the need to explain. I’m surprised I was able to form coherent thoughts yesterday. But thank you none-the-less

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | May 10, 2010

  3. Steve,I think it sucks because it doesn’t seem as if the questions were of the “I’d like to understand your faith”, it sounded – and I could be wrong – like they were of they “Why cling to faith type”.

    Here’s to today being a good day.

    Comment by cassey | May 10, 2010

  4. Stev, thanks for the most honest, gut-level testimony I have heard or read in a while. Like you, I am scared about what the future holds, but at the same time, I know Who holds the future.

    Also, and I know that this is small comfort now, but I believe that Gin WILL be healed. God is a healing God, and she will be free from the cancer and the pain. If not in this world then in the next. Guaranteed.

    I love you, man (and I hope you know I’m not just saying that). I’m sorry I can’t be there with you right now. I’m in the midst of a major transition in my life as well, but one that I think pales in comparison with yours. Please know that even if I am silent at times, my heart is with you and yours, and you are constantly in my prayers.

    Comment by Hank Harwell | May 10, 2010

  5. My dear son,
    What a glorious testimony and I want to add to it, but not detract from it: The God who has so carefully orchestrated the universe and the pattern for our lives very carefully took care of yesterday’s needs in ways we would have never set in motion ourselves.
    He met an urgent financial need for you in a most deliberate manner, not because you asked but because He planted the thought in someone’s mind to assist you.
    Without God, we would grieve as those who have no hope. With Him as our source we weep, we sorrow, but we know that someday we will meet Virginia again, your beloved grandparents and both of our children along with your nephews and nieces who have gone before. That is where our strength lies. I love your testimony my dear and I think it is the most eloquent you have ever been in talking about your Lord and Savior. He brought you and your wife together and he will keep you together in death because her memory will live on forever in our lives.
    You are an awesome son, man, and father and we love you beyond belief.
    Your mom.

    Comment by JoAnne Nibbelink | May 10, 2010

  6. You’re an inspiration, Steve. Being brave isn’t the same as not being afraid. Thank you for this testimony.

    For what it’s worth, you and your family are on my prayer list until further notice.

    Comment by Xose Lucero | May 10, 2010

  7. Steve, the answers to the questions may never come. The questions may never end. But the fact that you have no doubt at all WHO holds the answers to those questions is most assuradly not in question here. How incredible that in the midst of such an insurmountable storm, you know where to look for your peace. I pray that all who cross this path and read the words you have so graciously shared in the midst of your grief, will find the same peace that you have. I have asked all those questions, some I got answers to, some I may never have answered. My storm wasn’t the death of my spouse, but the death of my marriage and the loss of my dreams. I dare to dream again. The only thing that got my thru those horrible months and years was knowing that God, my Father, would never abandon me, no matter what my husband or children did. Sometimes HE’s all we have to hold on to, but HE’s always enough. I carry you and Virginia and your children in my heart. I wish there was more I could offer than my uplifted prayers, but it is all I have. But we know who holds tomorrow and we know that HE is always faithful. I love you both.

    Comment by Cat Travis | May 10, 2010

  8. @Casey – No the question was not a “why cling to your faith?” as much as it was your faith by different from mine but I’m still keeping you in my thoughts.

    @Hank – Thanks, dude one of these days we will meet face-to-face.

    @Mom – *blush*

    @Xose – As I told S.L. this long diatribe may not have been the answer to the e-mail he sent me, but it was something that I needed to write and commit to “paper”. Thanks for keeping in us in prayer.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | May 10, 2010

  9. I promised you I’d pray. I did. I cried. I’m still in awe of your strength in going through this trial. I know that you’ll say that your strength is coming from your faith, and I’ll give you that. Just in case you didn’t see it, here’s what I’ve chosen for you, the PIT’s and Gin.

    Lord God,
    Remember Christ your Son who is peace itself
    and who has washed away our hatred with His blood.
    Because you love all men and women,
    look with mercy on all who are engaged in battle.
    Banish the violence and evil within all combatants
    so that one day, we may all deserve to be
    called your sons and your daughters.
    Grant this through Christ our Lord.

    Peace brother, peace. That’s all I can say. I truly wish I could do more.

    Comment by Gary Weller | May 10, 2010

  10. @Cat – Thanks. I’m nowhere near the dare to dream again portion. BUt thank you for the prayers.

    @Gary – Dude, I’m touched. Seriously. I wish I could print out this post and ALL the comments and post them on my wall.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | May 10, 2010

  11. 🙂

    “I’ll meet you there, Father… even if I have to pick the lock.”

    Comment by drcheckmate | May 10, 2010

  12. @Dr. C – Thanks brother. I read this post out loud to Virginia. She smiled as I read it to her. Again thank you and you know why. 😎

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | May 10, 2010

  13. Hello Steve. I am a sign-language interpreter and have known Virginia for several years. Please tell her I am praying for her and all of you. I don’t know what else to say but that this sucks. Eloquent, huh? She has been in my thoughts constantly since yesterday. Please take care.

    Chris from Tama

    Comment by Deputy's Wife | May 11, 2010

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