Chapter 1-How It All Began

“Mrs. Weldy.  Your husband seems to be in an inordinate amount of pain.”

Those words came to me from the doctor at Carle Clinic in Urbana, IL as he was attempting a liver biopsy on my husband.

“Oh, that’s ok,” I commented glibly.

“But you don’t understand.  He is in a great amount of pain, and I think I may have punctured his gall bladder.  We will have to do emergency surgery to remove it.”



At our church in Decatur, IL

Roger and I were busy serving the Lord near Decatur, Illinois, he as a pastor and I as a 5th grade teacher.  God had directed us to a small church where there was enough work to keep us happy and enough trouble to keep us dependent on Christ.

Little did I know that the circumstances of that day in October of 1993 would make amazing changes in my life.  And our family.


Let’s go back to the beginning of the story about how he got “de-livered.”

Roger was a consummate note-taker.  On post it notes.  On napkins.  On the backs of envelopes.  On any scrap of paper he could find.  He was also his own best advocate for his well-being.  By that I mean he kept great records about his health.  He felt that no one was as concerned about “your money or your body as much as you are, so you better keep on top of the dollars and the docs.”  I helped organize and digitize them, but he was the one who wrote everything down at the beginning.


Our family in 1990 before everything began

In fact, I looked through his notes starting at 1990, and while I will spare you the details about his intestinal and bowel activities, he pinpointed the beginning of his issues to our trip to Florida in June of 1990.  For the remainder of the year he met with our primary care doctor several times and was eventually referred to a gastroenterologist.  He diagnosed Roger with ulcerative colitis.

Of course, when you have a diagnosis, doctors put you on medicine.  Prednisone.  Dipentum.  Flagyl.  He reacted to the Dipentum with fever and subsequent pneumonia.  They stopped that drug, and he seemed better until the fall of 1991.

And then for about two years Roger battled with constant diarrhea.  In his medical journal he noted a correlation between problems or stress at church with intestinal flare ups.*

The first of many colonoscopies was scheduled in July of 1993.  And after lots of bloodwork, the doctor in Urbana requested a liver biopsy.  Evidently some numbers were elevated, and he suspected a problem with the liver.

Did you know that they can do a liver biopsy in a regular hospital room?  They asked me to step out in the hall while it was performed, and that’s where the doctor found me to tell me the he punctured Roger’s gall bladder.

Which brings me to the beginning of this chapter.

I think about my reaction:  Oh, that’s ok.  Through all of Roger’s health problems that was pretty much our attitude.  That’s ok.  Maybe we were too ignorant to worry about what would happen two decades later.  Maybe it was our underlying faith.  It’ll be ok.  One thing I do know.  We approached this season like we did our entire married life:  We trusted God.

By the way

When Roger used to tell this story it went this way:

The doctor told me there might be a little pain after the numbing but that is all there is to a liver biopsy.  All of a sudden I yelled out, “That really hurts.  It’s still hurting.”  And then he said, “Oh, I think I may have hit your gall bladder.”  That explained my excruciating pain.  It was like a sudden gall bladder attack.

And then when I heard my sweet Glenda say, “Oh, that’s ok,” I thought: Grrrrrrrr.  We should have traded places and then see if she would have said, “Oh, that’s ok.”

The doctor’s explanation later was that my liver was a little higher than the normal placement of organs. I always knew I had a special body.  After all, I had six wisdom teeth.  I’m not surprised that things were jumbled up inside of me.

*Roger was a sensitive guy.  He was kind, gentle, and definitely not a “yeller” or “screamer.”  He worked diligently at every job he had.  In fact that is one thing that drew me to him.  I often watched him work on yard crew at college, and he worked hard. If a job was given to him, he did it with all of his might.  So when he was called to preach and got into the pastorate, everything was important to him.  People.  Plans.  Preaching.  And he took all of that to heart, bearing the burdens of the church just like a servant does.