Day 37: My heart is breaking

As I write this, my wife and best friend is undergoing a long and complex surgery to remove a cancerous tumor that has invaded and compressed her spine. If the surgery goes well, she’ll be able to feel her legs, stand and walk again.

To our friends who are learning this awful news in this impersonal way, I apologize. Stephanie’s diagnosis is 24-hours old. Efficiency won out over politeness.

To the Carfree Houston readers who have never met either of us, I know this isn’t what you signed up for. I’m sorry. No one gets exactly what they want today.

I will share one transportation-related insight, though. In the past two days, at least six friends have offered me their cars. These are generous and wonderful people. But right now the last place I should be is behind the steering wheel of a car. I’m too distracted to drive. My mind wanders, and I would endanger myself and others.

Yesterday I took the bus home from the Texas Medical Center hospital where Stephanie will be for at least the next week. It felt comforting. It took longer than driving, which is what I wanted. It was away from our current reality. Uber rides are good, too. I can decompress and send emails and call people. Two Uber drivers asked to pray for Stephanie.

Our car-free experiment continues, but it is changing. Blog posts will appear less often, if at all. Stephanie’s recovery comes first.

You’re good people. I know you understand.





  1. Paul, my heart and concerns are with you and Stephanie. Prayers will be said for both of you. How very sudden life changes while you’re making plans. Thanks for posting.

  2. I am so sorry to hear this. Thoughts and prayers with you and Stephanie. I pray all goes well for her.

  3. My heart is saddened to hear of your wife’s battle and your heartache. Fighting cancer is a battle like no other and as difficult as it is today I assure you wonderful people will come into your lives in support. In addition, know that I, and pretty others, have already started praying for you both! If I may be of any assistance please do reach out.

    Our God is an awesome God! Keep the Faith & Stay Strong! 🙏🏼

  4. Paul, I’ve been following your journeys over the past month with enthusiasm, and I am stunned and saddened by this new life trial for the two of you. I wish you and your wife strength, courage, and renewed health as you both go through this unexpected turn of events. I pray for total healing.

  5. Paul, so sorry to hear the news about Stephanie’s health. I am around and ready to help in anyway. special hugs to you and Stephanie going your way.

  6. Paul and Stephanie. Surely goodness and mercy will follow and carry you both. Dixie and I are thinking of you and sending healing thoughts.

  7. Paul and Stephanie… prayers for you both!! Love and Hugs. Please keep us posted and here for you in spirit or in person if needed. ❤❤

  8. Tell Stephanie to hang in there – and you too. Lots of prayers coming to you from North Carolina and the extended Cobb family. From Stephanie’s cousin – Vicki Jones Johnson

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