"The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad."
Today is the day we have been waiting for since late March when we found out that Tammy's Leukemia had returned. Today at approximately 6 p.m., she will start her second transplant. It's a painless procedure, as it's all done through a blood transfusion.
We've had a lot of time to think about this. We're aware of the risks, but we know that the doctors and nurses here have been very well trained and they're ready for whatever may transpire. And we take great comfort in the fact that they rely on the Great Physician for guidance in treating their patients.
We know a lot of people who follow this blog have known Tammy for a long time. Very few have known her longer than I have, as we met in the summer of 1966 when her family started attending our church. Some of you, however, have only known her for a short period of time, or maybe you've never met her and were directed to this blog by a friend.
So for those of you in this last group, I would like to tell you about Tammy. I would like you to know why she is so special and why so many people are praying for her. For those of you who do know her well, this can be a fun little refresher.
Tammy was born in Topeka, Kansas, in July 1959. She has two younger brothers, Mike and Jim. Her parents, Lynn and Carleen Young, have been second parents to me, first as a boy and for the last 31 years as the man their daughter chose to spend the rest of her life with. When I was ready to be baptized in February 1967, Lynn was the elder who helped me get ready.
Tammy and I will celebrate 31 years of marriage in August, but our love goes back much further. We were both entering second grade when her family came to Westwood Christian Church. I immediately had a crush on her. Second-grade boys aren't supposed to like girls, so I "showed my love" by stealing her purse and throwing it into the boys' bathroom. My brother would always get it for her. She says now that she always knew I'd be the one she'd marry, but I'm not sure what I did to give her that idea. I'm just thankful that it worked out that way.
My family moved away after Tammy and I finished fourth grade. We stayed in touch, but not real closely. We'd come to KC occasionally, and we'd always go to Westwood. If her family was in town, we'd always say hello, but I figured my chances were done. When we were in college, I met my Mom in KC for a long weekend, and we went to church at Westwood. The choir was singing a song that we knew, so we went downstairs and asked the director if we could join in. She said yes so we put on the robes. I looked across the basement floor and saw this beautiful girl walking toward me. I'm sorry to say that I didn't recognize her at first, because it had been several years since we'd seen each other. But as she got closer, I realized who it was. My heart was "all aflutter."
We spent much of the day together, as she convinced her parents to invite my Mom and me to join them for lunch (I found this out later). Curiously, I rode in the back seat of her brother's car with Tammy, and we just talked. As we parted that evening, I told her I would write to her, and she said the same thing. We wrote for several weeks, with the closing going from "In Christian love" to just "Love."
I called her Christmas morning to wish her a Merry Christmas, still nervous that I was misreading her reactions. She said she was thrilled to hear from me. At the end of January, I decided to take a five-day weekend and go to KC. That would be the true test. I got off the plane and from that minute on, I knew she was the person God had picked for me before the beginning of time.
We've been through a lot together, as is true with any married couple. We have two amazing children, and we have built a lifetime of memories together, many of them around how we got through difficult times.
Tammy's prayer since she was a little girl has been to be used in a mighty way. Through her initial battle with Leukemia in 2008-09, and now again this spring, I believe that many people have come to a deeper relationship with God partly because of Tammy's example of faith. She is my hero. She is the love of my life.
Thanks for letting me share some of the reasons with you.