Prayer brought Natalie and Todd Rose through a crisis over Todd's cancer.

Prayer brought Natalie and Todd Rose through a crisis over Todd's cancer.

February 23, 2015

Natalie Rose's husband Todd had been feeling poorly for such a long time, her first prayer was "to finally figure out what was wrong. We knew he was gravelly ill."

So when the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer came, "It was not the diagnosis I was looking for but I remember feeling it was answered prayer."

The statistical outcome was not good: "Less than 10 per cent survive. And there was no guaranteed complete recovery."

Once the diagnosis was given, Natalie said she became a prayer warrior and focused on the next step – treatment.

Strength came from other sources too – their Church, the staff at the Catholic Pastoral Centre where Natalie works, phone calls and gifts of food.

"We found, as a family, that is what gave us the grace to get through it."

When the operation day came, Natalie felt the most at peace.

She asked for some signs. Sure enough, she ran into someone she knew through the St. Vincent de Paul Society and a chaplain. "God sent his angels and saints to be with me," she said.

Hours passed and finally the surgeon came through the doors. He held up a finger – one finger. That was the signal that they had caught the cancer at stage one, not the usual untreatable stage four.

Todd told Natalie, "I have healing pain, no more dying pain."

Treatments followed and he has now been free of the disease for three years.

Natalie knows this is a cancer that can come back at any time.

"We live with this, still pray for continued health and are keenly aware of 95 per cent reoccurrence. We live with that but not in it."

The couple also lives in gratitude. Todd had received the Sacrament of the Sick from Father Martin Carroll and knew that Archbishop Richard Smith said a Mass for him in the Holy Land.

For as much pain as he was in, Todd said to Natalie, "Imagine all the people who have no one to take care of them."

Such a life-shattering event changes you forever, said Natalie. She is more aware of what is important and what is not important in life.

Prayers of gratitude are a constant in their lives. As well, she has gained a greater understanding of the communion of saints. "We are all in this together.''