Madonna House

Diagnosed with Cancer

by Deacon David Cavalier

Four months ago, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, cancer of the blood plasma.

My life, as I once lived it, changed radically. It changed from a time when I thought I had everything under control to a time of losing that control or, better still, of relinquishing it to a stronger, more powerful Person.

With much of my day now spent in sifting through the many thoughts and emotions that go through my head, I can’t help but think that God’s hand is totally involved in all that is happening—as hard a “pill” as that was to swallow at first.

I was losing control of my life, but he was taking over—seemingly just to make a point of who really is in control!

One could think that I’d be angry with God. Why me? Why now?

But I’ve now concluded: why not me? Why not now? My illness has resulted in so many graces that God brought through so many prayers—graces for myself and my family. (Do not underestimate the power of your prayers.)

The choice my wife Elaine and I made of an alternate treatment is a road less traveled and therefore, I have discovered, it requires a greater amount of patience.

Every day is a learning experience into the unknown of a daily protocol of treatment, which every now and then gets tedious. (Only my wife really knows how impatient a patient I can be.)

But now I take it one day at a time, and see each small success as a sign of healing. But that is all in God’s hands. It is his will that I have been trying to follow, so things are becoming easier and more peaceful.

The community of Perth, Ontario, where I live, and the surrounding area and many parishes and congregations near and far have responded overwhelmingly to my call for prayer, and this has been a very humbling experience.

So I thank you all, dear friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers, for the prayers, the cards, the Mass intentions, the meals, the support, and other expressions of generosity.

My hope is to be here for quite some time yet, so that I may serve my community once again as a deacon, and I have confidence because my hope is in the Lord.

Now, almost four months into this affliction with its good days and bad, I have come to the reassuring conclusion that I am in a win-win situation.

I either get through this part of the disease to a point of remission and perhaps full healing and spend some quality time in the ministry I was prepared to do as a deaconor I enter a very Glorious Place where I will spend eternity—finally seeing God face-to-face. That has become a very exciting prospect!

This is the reality I have come to accept.

I would like to conclude with a passage from Scripture that has brought comfort to me at this time:

May you attain knowledge of God’s will through perfect wisdom and spiritual insight. Then you will lead a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way.

You will multiply good works of every sort and grow in the knowledge of God. By the might of his glory, you will be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully, whatever may come (Col 1:9b-11).

David Cavalier, our associate deacon, submitted this article in December 2013.

When we included it in the February 2014 issue, it looked to him and to us as if he would live for some time yet. But this was not to be.

The February issue was out just one day when we received news that David was dying. Then three days later, on January 21st, surrounded by his family, this good man peacefully died.

In his article, he had said, “I have come to the reassuring conclusion that I am in a win-win situation.”

Either he would go into remission or even get healed or “I will enter into a very Glorious Place where I will spend eternity—finally seeing God face-to-face. That has become a very exciting prospect!”

The Cavaliers first came to Cana, our family retreat-camp, in 1989 and served there as a host couple from 1995-2005. David was ordained a deacon in 2011 and became an associate deacon of MH in September 2013 after he had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma.