Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Can you survive cancer as a couple?

Angie here: Today I have a special guest post from Debbie and Dick Church. We're not only celebrating their new release, Don't Ever Look Down: Surviving Cancer Together, but we're also celebrating the success of surviving cancer as a couple. Please share this with your friends experiencing the devastation of cancer. They bring such hope. Welcome Dick and Debbie Church...

Dick and Debbie Church view the world through God's joy.

By: Debbie Church
Dick and I fell in love over 32 years ago and have never quite gotten over it!  We have had some interesting moments, but we have made it through each challenge. Love always finds a way.

Unexpectedly, our lives changed in an instant when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2008. We knew life would never be the same. Cancer has taught us so many things. When we lived in Florida, horrible thunderstorms often rolled in during the late evening. Flashes of lightning and torrential rain reminded us of the awesome power of nature. But just as soon as it began, it passed, leaving a renewed freshness in the air. 

Cancer is like those thunderstorms—one after another. But just when you think it will never stop raining, the skies clear and the evening seems fresh and renewed. We cherish those moments.

Dick loves to climb mountains. He always tells me that the view from the top is worth the climb.  I never believed him until I faced my own mountain. The mountain toward recovery was high, almost too high for me to climb. The chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and hundreds of other difficulties made me so weak that even the thought of climbing was inconceivable.  

With the encouragement of Dick and many others, I took one step at a time. I slipped and fell so often. Each time I got up, the summit looked closer. That gave me hope. With each passing day, I got higher and stronger. And soon, I could see the top. I gathered all the strength I could muster and took one more step. Dick was right. What a view! I was on top and thrilled it was over! But I pray I will never have to climb another one.

We have written a book entitled:  Don’t Ever Look Down: Surviving Cancer Together.  It is our journey of surviving cancer together. It's candid, honest, and sometimes brutal. My experience as an oncology counselor for over 18 years brings both a personal and professional insight, making it quite a unique story. Dick gives a rare glimpse into the life of a husband who has learned to understand and deal with the challenges of a wife with cancer. 

To find out more about us and the book, go to
But most importantly, Don’t Ever Look Down: Surviving Cancer Together is our love story. No matter where cancer may take us, it will never take away the love we have for each other. When all is said and done, that will be enough.

About the book:
Marriages don't always survive cancer, even when patients do. In this unique book, the authors share their journey through cancer as husband and wife with honesty, humor, and hope. Don't Ever Look Down offers encouragement and practical advice to couples who are facing the same steep mountain climb.

As an oncology counselor, Debbie Church has worked with hundreds of cancer patients. Through her own experience with this disease, she gained a greater understanding of cancer's impact on individuals and families. Her husband, Dick, shares a man's perspective on entering the mysterious worlds of gynecology and oncology. An experienced mountain climber, Dick compares Debbie's battle with cancer to the difficulties, dangers, and triumphs of climbing a mountain.

Topics include: 
*The stages of cancer.
*The ways spouses respond to the intrusion of cancer in their lives, and advice for couples dealing with this disease.
*The impact on sexual intimacy.
*Advice for counseling kids of different ages as they deal with fear and trauma when a parent has cancer.
*Advice on handling the burden of mounting medical bills and the added stress they induce.
*Confronting difficult questions about faith, death, and God.
*How to be a friend to a friend who has cancer, and what not to say.

Book can be ordered online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble or any local bookstore.

Author bio:
Debbie Church spent more than 18 years as an oncology counselor before being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. Debbie is currently the Coordinator of the Cancers Survivors Network at Saint Joseph’s Hospital. Dick is a consultant with a national mission agency.  Debbie and her husband Dick both hold Masters of Divinity Degrees from Southeastern Theological Seminary at Wake Forrest. Together Debbie and Dick co-authored the book, Don’t Ever Look Down.


  1. I love your blog, so I've awarded you the Versitle blog award on my blog.

  2. What a story. They were blessed to have each other for support and love. I'm glad they put it down for others to read.
    Thanks for sharing this, Ang.

  3. I'm sorry I missed the post yesterday! What an amazing story. Debbie, thank you for blogging with us. Your book sounds like it's packed with wonderful, helpful information.