What does risk-taking look like?

We learned the results of Dan’s biopsy last week while away from home: A small amount of prostate cancer. 

The urologist said Dan could opt for treatment, but he recommended expectant management—sometimes called “watchful waiting.” He said a normal side effect of expectant management is anxiety.


Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Dan is a young sixty-something. Active. In good shape. Eats well (except the little boy in him that loves sweet treats). 

Which means the odds of him ever needing cancer treatment are very slim. Besides, prostate cancer has a high cure rate. Basically, you remove the cancer while it’s contained within the prostate and you’re cured.

My head knows all this.

But my heart … now that’s a different story.

Because the “C” word is a powerful, emotion-evoking word.

And because I’ve lost one husband to prostate cancer. And I don’t want this husband to go through any of that.

Would I rather not have married Dan and never have to deal with prostate cancer issues ever again? 


I’d rather be married—even with this intimidating ‘C’ word hanging somewhere off on the horizon—than not be married to this wonderful man who makes me laugh, who enjoys hiking and paddling and camping with me, who wakes me up every morning with a mug of spicy cinnamon tea.

Turns out, any undertaking that involves adding people into our hearts is risky business. More people to love, to take care of, to worry about.

And most worthwhile, meaningful, life-changing endeavors involve some sort of risk. 

Saying yes to fostering or adopting a child. Leaving the comforts of home to offer medical attention to those who have no access. Serving as a mentor to teenagers. Stepping off the edge of the cliff—from a place of safety as a widow—to partner in marriage again.  

All risky stuff.

This thought from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better

No risk. No accomplishment.

What if …

Dan and I were stopped for lunch in Northern California when he received the news from his urologist. We drove north along Hwy 101 through the redwoods toward our destination, discussing the urologist’s report.

This thought from Dan, my very wise, very kind, (very handsome) husband:

Having a God who is a physician, a provider, who cares for me – this gives me peace, no matter the outcome. 

There is a letter written by Peter around A.D. 60, encouraging persecuted Christians to stand firm in their faith:

Cast all your anxiety on [God] because He cares for you. — 1 Peter 5:7

What if we could truly adhere to this admonition? What if we could give our worries to God and leave them there?

This is me, tossing all my anxiety upon the One who has shoulders bigger than the entire universe, the One who can carry the weight.

Besides, God and I know how to do prostate cancer. 


What if we enjoyed the journey?


4 reasons for spontaneity or … How to fly a kite


  1. Tanya Neelon

    Love and prayers to both of you. Tanya

  2. Sending love and prayers.

  3. Nancy Darst

    Oh gosh, Marlys and Dan, life just never stops with the challenges. Our hearts and prayers are with you both. Looking forward to a visit sometime soon.

  4. Pam Laverty

    Love and our prayers for you and Dan.
    Thank you for sharing so we can pray specifically for Dan and you. Love you.

  5. Melody

    Beautiful and courageous. I will be praying.

  6. Ali Kent

    Dear Marlys,
    I love reading your articles! I have such wonderful memories of your encouraging us to do the Hoola Hoop! I am so happy that you and Dan are married and inspire each other. My prayers follow you.

  7. Joe Albert

    You are both in our prayers.

  8. Julie A Miller

    The lessons of life never stop coming do they? More growth ahead, with the strength to do so. You continue to inspire and remind me to hand over the tough stuff to the one who can carry it. Will keep you on the prayer list.

    Bless you both,


  9. Diane Worden Waldbueser

    We are sorry to hear of your diagnosis of prostate cancer. We’re praying for both of you. We are going through the same thing and understand your message of the C word! God bless you both! Thank you for sharing!

    • Diane – I heard about Chuck’s diagnosis and the “watchful waiting” recommendation. You do understand, don’t you. Praying for you two.

  10. Pete Lawry

    Carol and I are praying for you both as you journey through life together!

  11. Barbara

    Oh Marlys! Your list of 2020 challenges is long already and now one more! You do have so many wonderful happenings to balance some of those challenges though. But this! Certainly I’ll be praying along with so many others and know Dan will be in good hands with your medical team headed up by the Great Physician, God himself. Love to you both.

  12. Tricia

    Dear Marlys,

    Love your gift of writing, you do an amazing job at it.
    You and Dan are such wonderful people in our eyes and especially in God’s eyes. I know that He has great plans for you and Dan and will give you all the strength and courage you need to go through this difficult time. As you said Dan is in very good health and he has you by his side and God Almighty our great healer with him. I am so sorry that this has happened, please know that we have and will be praying for you guys and care very much. Much Love and Prayers, Tricia.

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