Back in the Bunker: A Lesson in Courage


In the lowest level of the Cancer Agency is an area I refer to as ‘The Bunker’ because of its nuclear warning signs everywhere and the thickness of the concrete doors. There is a quietness down here unlike the rest of the hospital. Silence because of the soundproofing of the construction and silence because it is a sad environment for the patients there.

It still freaks me out a little, and we have seen allot this year. Fourteen months ago they “took a chance” on Brenda with whole brain radiation – right here. I remember being told before the treatment, “You need to understand some people do not make it through the treatment.” That get’s your attention.

‘The Bunker’ is one place where I actually like to have someone with me waiting for Brenda. My daughters and sons came last year for they understood it is too easy for Dad to get discouraged when alone here. Half-joking I referred to it then as being like a scene from “The Walking Dead.” There are so many patients who are receiving radiation as a paliative treatment to help them with pain and they look like they are near the end of their journey.

Image by AMC Cable Network

So what is my wife doing here? She doesn’t fit in with this crowd. In fact she stands out. All the staff love her – you can see it in their faces and by how they interact with her. Peace and joy radiate from her because of our faith and the prayers of thousands who support her.

Brenda is not always steadfast and brave. We both have our moments. Last night she reached out to her little prayer circle because she said she was losing her nerve. We prayed, they prayed and today went well. Many do not know this, but my wife is from a card carrying Albertan ‘cowboy’ family. Often I see the cowgirl in her. Like a cute little Canadian version of John Wayne in a dress, Brenda would echo, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

So here we are again in ‘The Bunker’ getting Brenda measured for a CT guided radiation treatment that starts Monday on the primary tumour in her lung. Technology today allows them to do this with a precision unknown even five years ago. Her tumour is of a size now where this radiation treatment is possible and her new oncologist wants us to “kill that thing” to relieve pain and continue extending her days. After the lung is zapped, the radiation oncologist mentioned wanting to “have a go” at the cancer in her back bones. This is all good news and provides hope and that sense of life and living another day.

Being in ‘The Bunker’ does something for me.  The protective concrete environment here reminds me that cancer cannot silence Brenda’s courage. It cannot cripple our love for one another. It cannot break our family apart – we were prepared for such a challenge. Cancer cannot destroy friendship – in fact our friendships with others are growing deeper. Cancer cannot shatter the hope we have in God’s love, mercy and grace and we will not allow it to conquer our spirit in all of this.

So it is time to hunker down – apply ourselves seriously to the task – and hit ‘The Bunker.’

Prayers gratefully accepted. – Carson

12 thoughts on “Back in the Bunker: A Lesson in Courage

  1. Beautifully written, Carson. Thank you for this update. It’s a wonderful reminder that prayer changes things!

  2. Please know that you and Brenda and constantly and consistently in my prayers. And this week will be no exception. Bless you Carson for being a true life partner – and peace to you both. God is good all the time. Barbara

  3. Prayers humbly given. Love too. We think about you and Brenda often. Thank you so much for keeping us updated through here. I will definitely be praying for the Lord’s company for you over the next week during this time, especially in the moments when it seems most trying. And in those moments – for what it is worth – please also know we are praying earnestly and fervently.


  4. praying that all goes well with Brenda’s treatment. You may not know me personally as I am from asia. but I subscribed to your blog and have been receiving them. I may not fully grasp the emotions that you go through but I think I can understand a bit since a co-pastor of mine has been fighting leukemia since jan 2014. he has been on leave from the ministry since then. we have been praying for him regularly and can understand that there are happy days and sad days…happy when we hear news that cancer cells have not been active since his chemotherapy in may 2014…but sad that the transplanted bone marrow isn’t producing the antibodies he needs to fight off the infection for 3 months now (he was back in confinement in jan 2015). but we go on with him…it is not easy…and like you we just keep the faith and keep trusting God. God bless you Carson and may the Lord uphold you and Brenda and your family with His righteous right hand.

    1. Penny bless you for taking the time to write. We have many brothers and sisters in Asia – some have come specifically to pray with us this past year.
      Your co-pastor is blessed to have you by his side. We join you in praying for those antibodies to be produced. Pray for zero cancer cells. Blessings, Carson

  5. Dear Carson and Brenda,
    Praying so often for you both, praying for peace and life and love multiplied… praying for cancer cells to be destroyed and blown away… praying for strength and courage for each step… praying that with each step God calls you to take, you would both, bring His peace, and take territory for Him! You both are so loved and precious to me! Holding you close in prayer!

    “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develope passionate patience in us, and how in turn that patience forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling sorry changed. Quite the contrary–we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.”
    (ROM 5:3-5 Msg)
    Love you so much,
    Mike and Sue ❤

  6. Praying for God’s grace, healing, and the peace that passes understanding (for all of you!).

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