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Keeping the Faith

Rick- bell



I would like to nominate my husband Rick Hays for “Keeping the Faith” Award. My husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January 2011. Rick and I are blessed with 3 sons between us, two beautiful daughter-in-laws, and 4 loving grandchildren. At the time he was diagnosed with cancer, we only had 3 grandchildren and the youngest had just been born on January 10th! This all came up very sudden. On Saturday, January 15th, Rick and a friend were golfing when he tripped over a fence and fell hurting his wrist. Sunday, January 16th, when taking a shower he noticed his left hand wasn’t doing anything, but didn’t tell me at that time. After Church that day I made the comment, if your wrist is still bothering you Monday, I will call our primary physician and get you in. After lunch Rick said, “I probably need to mention something else to you”. I was like what now? He proceeded to tell me about his left arm and hand not taking command and that it was his left leg that didn’t clear the fence. Monday morning, we called Dr. Jim and they told us to come right then and they would get us in. Rick and I were both thinking a stroke. Dr. Jim ordered an MRI of the brain scheduled for Tuesday. Wednesday first thing, we picked the MRI disk and proceeded back to Dr. Jim’s office. Upon reviewing the disk, he told us he was sure it was a tumor. He sent us to a neurosurgeon in Tulsa for further review. I will never forget that day when I walked out of Dr. Jim’s office he said; “Sherry, it doesn’t look good and you are going to have to be strong, I’m afraid you have a long road ahead of you.”

On Friday, January 21st, Drew, Rick and I met with the Doctor in Tulsa. Our doctor there basically laid it on the line and told us he only had 8 – 12 months to live. They gave us the worst case scenario. There was a chance he might not make it, he could be paralyzed for life, he might not remember who we are, chance he could have speech problems, etc. Surgery was scheduled for Wednesday morning, January 26th. I will never forget that feeling. Lord, is this really happening? What do we do? I contacted our preacher while more testing was being done and we got the prayer warriors going! Drew helped me contact all the family to let them know surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, January 26th. All of our kids and family came in that weekend. On Sunday we all went to church. The preacher is as emotional as my husband and brought a sermon on faith in between tears! Rick and Barrick had stayed up talking until 2:00 Sunday morning about all the possibilities and Barrick talked to Rick about accepting the Lord. That morning Rick and Barrick went up front. I knew nothing about this, so it was the best surprise a mother could have. Barrick accepted the Lord and Rick gave his testimony to our congregation. He said “I’m not scared, the Lord is with me and whatever plans he has for me I will accept”. Rick’s main concern was his family and friends. He didn’t want to see us hurting. There was so much more, by the time he finished there wasn’t a dry eye in our congregation. We live in a small community of 600 or so and you talk about the testimony getting out! We had phone calls, e-mails, text for days. The day of Rick’s surgery there were 42 of us with him. After surgery our doctor walked out and approached us to say Rick might have to be in rehab for several months. All of a sudden he looked around and said “Are all these people with you”? Yes they are! The doctor was speechless and said “he is one blessed man”. He proceeded to tell us the tumor wasn’t the primary cancer and more test would have to be done to find where the cancer originated. It wasn’t 15 minutes when the doctor came back and said “Hay’s family, this guy is amazing, he is moving his legs, arms and wants to see his wife kids and family”!

Rick had 3 Cyberknife radiation treatments to the brain within a month of surgery. After further testing we found out he has lung cancer. At that time we decided to go to MD Anderson in Houston. This is the best decision we have ever made. The cancer had spread to the brain, and since has moved to his left adrenal gland. Since January 2011, Rick has gone through numerous chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments and another brain surgery this past October. We lived in Houston for several months while going through these treatments and still go every 3 months for testing. Rick has no use of his left arm and limps when he walks. The tumor in the brain was located on his motor skill strip which affects his left side. Every day he faces numerous challenges. He continues to smile, have a positive attitude and thanks the Lord for each day. He hasn’t lost his sense of humor either! When returning to MD Anderson in October, we knew his left side was losing strength. My sister went with us to help me drive. On the way down, one of his salesmen called and asked how we were doing. Rick said the bad news is, between Rhonda and Sherry we are stopping at every Quick Trip between here and Houston. The good news is they may have a cure for Cancer when we get there.

Rick is an inspiration to our family, friends and our whole community! He continues to work full time. Our faith in the Lord has grown much stronger during all these trials. Rick and I both believe God has a plan for him and that he’s not through with him. God is our Rock! Always Remember to Keep the Faith and your days will be blessed. If it wasn’t for our friends, family and our faith in the Lord the past 2 ½ years would have been impossible. Every morning we thank God for giving us one more day together. “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” – Philippians 4:13

I love you Rick!