In Sickness and In Health
by Matt and Lucy Coles
We had been engaged for 13 months, with 22 days until the big day, when Matt, at age 23, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. We could never have predicted this, with no history in the family and no smoking, but it wasn’t necessary. God was in control, our souls were flooded with peace, and the last 10 months have been nothing less than miraculous.
Matt had major surgery before we headed home from D.C. to Texas for our wedding, and four days after the wedding he had a second operation. Matt came home with some pretty awesome scars and a definitive diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. In the midst of the challenge, the Body of Christ overwhelmed us with love, support, and an overabundant dose of prayers.
Along with the diagnosis of lung cancer came questions of chemotherapy and babies. We wanted lots of children, as many as God would bless us with. Our doctors advised us differently. We were asked multiple times if we would like to put sperm in a sperm bank in case the chemotherapy made Matt infertile. Most people on chemotherapy become infertile, and when the therapy is finished there is a 50% chance that it will be permanent. With no discussion needed, we told the doctor this was not an option. One of my greatest longings has been to be a mother, and as it is presented so wonderfully in Psalm 21, “You have granted him his heart’s desire; you did not refuse the prayer of his lips.” On February 16th we found out that we were pregnant. Matt is still going through treatment, and the Lord is abundantly good.
We write this as an encouragement to those who face adversity in their marriage. We can’t express enough the graces that are reaped through the Sacrament. The Lord has granted us many spiritual friends who, though we have never met them, pray for us daily. Through the sacrament and these loving prayers we are able to take our lives one day at a time, not worrying about the things that are to come, but focusing on loving: today, right now, every minute.
When we took our vows on June 24, 2006, we meant every word we said: “I, Matthew, take you, Lucy, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” And in turn: “I, Lucy, take you, Matthew, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”