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May 24, 2005, wasn't the typical wedding anniversary for my husband, Gerald Myers, and me. In fact, it was the worst because we met with an oncologist who described a treatment plan for Gerald's squamous cell nasopharyngeal carcinoma with which he had been diagnosed the week before. But after six months of rigorous treatment, Gerald beat his disease and began to recover.
However, in January 2008, we found his cancer had returned. His oncologist recommended a second opinion. Gerald and I traveled to Houston to have a second opinion at M.D. Anderson. While there, we had an unusual experience, which led us to believe that we didn't go to Houston for medical reasons at all.
When we met with the oncologist, we were impressed by her humility as a physician. She told Gerald that she couldn't guarantee a cure, but since he was such an unusual case (I already knew that), nothing was impossible, and his attitude would make the difference.
She basically recommended a treatment that could be offered in Campbellsville. Were we disappointed? In one way, we were extremely glad to be able to do everything at home. But in another way, we expected some miraculous experimental advance. Anyway, we made plans to return home within the week.
The true reason we were drawn to Houston was to soon follow at the airport on our return trip. After passing security, we stopped at the food court and ordered breakfast. As we began to eat, I noticed a familiar face in the same line we had just left. I told Gerald that I thought it was a young man from Campbellsville, Jamie Noe. Lo and behold, it really was Jamie. What a coincidence, we thought. We explained why we were in Houston and learned that Jamie was going to share our flight.
Soon, a stranger from a nearby table stood up and approached our table. He asked Gerald if he was sick. Gerald replied, "Yes, sir, I have cancer." He then asked Gerald if he wanted to be rid of it. Gerald's first reaction was, "Well, duh ..." However, he politely said that, yes, he would. The middle-aged man then asked if he could pray with us, and we agreed. After the Amen, the stranger assured Gerald that his cancer was gone and returned to his table.
After a flight cancellation, Jamie, Gerald and I finally boarded a Southwest plane headed to Nashville. We were glad to have met Jamie there and began to think that our meeting was not a coincidence at all, that all things happen for a reason. After a crowded, but uneventful flight, we said our goodbyes and exchanged e-mail addresses at the luggage claim area.
Weeks passed. I responded to one of Jamie's e-mails, but didn't give the stranger at the airport a second thought. Then one week in March, I had three consecutive dreams about the man. Now, I'm not one to remember any vivid dreams, but this was different. The man's face clearly loomed large in my dream.
But what really grabbed my attention is that he told me each night, "It will be all right. Gerald will be fine." Wow, I still get cold chills.
At first, I was hesitant to say anything to anyone, including Gerald. One afternoon, Gerald came to my classroom at the end of the day and was sitting at my desk. I asked him if he had ever given that man in the airport any thought. He said that he had, and when I asked him if he thought the gentleman could have, in some way, been an angel, he concurred that it was quite possible.
Since then, several related events have happened. We ran into an acquaintance who was amazed by our story.
He, in turn, suggested we call Gary Osborne, another cancer survivor from Campbellsville, who had had a similar experience with a stranger in Houston more than 10 years ago.
Sure enough, just a few days later, in Wal-Mart (of course), I spotted Shirlene, Gary's wife, and assumed the man she was with to be her husband. We introduced ourselves and began speaking to each other about our experiences with strangers in Houston, Texas. It was the most amazing thing; our stories were almost identical.
After three chemo treatments, Gerald had a PET scan, and guess what? Just like it was supposed to happen, the cancer in the lymph system had been resolved, and the tumor on his hipbone had shrunk to half its original size.
Since then, he has had two more scans ... no sign of cancer. No way can this be a coincidence. The angel at the airport was absolutely right!
I don't know yet what God's plan is for Gerald, our three children, and me, but I feel compelled to share our experience because God sent us a promise through the stranger and kept it.
- Terry Myers lives in Campbellsville with her husband, Gerald, and their three children, Zachary, Elijah and Rachel.