When Rachel Creed’s two brothers moved to Texas, they shared an immense enthusiasm for their new church home: The Village Church. “Back home in Maryland, I started to listen to sermons on podcasts,” said Rachel. At the time, she and her husband, Michael, were working at his father’s church, but they both felt a pull to move to Texas. “Michael and I prayed about it and felt it was God’s will that we move.”
Within a week, Michael found a job, and a friend graciously offered them temporary housing. Rachel secured employment soon after. “Moving here was very good for our marriage,” she said. “I knew God would stop us if we weren’t meant to come.”
The young couple settled into their new home and began attending The Village’s Flower Mound campus. “We experienced a lot of spiritual growth after we moved here,” Rachel said. Part of that growth included the opportunity for Rachel to serve in Steps as a small group leader. This group of individuals seeking counsel for their struggles would later bring comfort to Rachel and Michael during an unthinkable trial.
At the hospital, Rachel received a life-altering diagnosis: She had a tumor in her right temporal lobe.
Two years after the Creeds moved to Texas, their spiritual foundation was tested. On a warm August night, at 19 weeks pregnant, Rachel had a grand mal seizure. “Michael thought I had thrown up and went to get me a drink of water,” Rachel said. “When he came back to bed, he realized I wasn’t all there.” The couple had been trying for over three years to get pregnant. During these trying years, they experienced two miscarriages.
Rachel had a second seizure on the way down from their apartment and a third on the drive to the hospital. At the hospital, Rachel received a life-altering diagnosis: She had a tumor in her right temporal lobe. “They thought perhaps I’d had the tumor for years, and it was just slow-growing,” she said. Doctors determined that surgery was not her best option and opted to closely monitor the brain tumor. “I felt God wanted us to find it then and not during childbirth,” Rachel said, since the Creeds planned to have a home birth. “Had I had a seizure during delivery, I’m not sure how I would have fared.”
Rachel began a terrifying journey of doctors’ appointments and seeing multiple surgeons and specialists, trying to determine the best course of treatment for her and her unborn child—a boy the Creeds decided to name Caedmon Ryker. They chose the name because the doctors commented that the baby’s heartbeat was very strong, and when Michael went home later to pick up a change of clothes, the song “Warrior” by Isaac Wimberley came on. Caedmon means “warrior,” and Ryker means “strong”—a perfect fit.
In October, the surgeon determined that Rachel’s tumor needed to be removed immediately because they were afraid the cancer might spread quickly. “So far, all the news we’d received had been good. It was such a shock; I started crying,” Rachel said. The Creeds’ baby was around 25 weeks at the time. “They told me there was no need to monitor him during surgery because he wasn’t far enough along to have a good quality of life even though, technically, he was viable.” Rachel and Michael were shaken to realize their baby was not the doctors’ priority—Rachel was.
Doctors recommended radiation and chemotherapy, but the Creeds decided to delay treatment until Rachel was far enough along in her pregnancy to give Caedmon the best chance of surviving.
The night before her surgery, some of The Village staff came to the hospital and prayed over her—an act that brought Rachel great comfort. “I knew God was with me, and however He chose to protect the baby would be best.”
During Rachel’s six-hour surgery, doctors believed they were able to remove all of the grade two astrocytoma. Furthermore, Rachel’s unborn son came through with flying colors, but the Creeds’ battle against Rachel’s diagnosis was far from over.
A follow-up MRI showed a slight glow around the edges of the area where the tumor had once existed. Doctors recommended radiation and chemotherapy, but the Creeds decided to delay treatment until Rachel was far enough along in her pregnancy to give Caedmon the best chance of surviving. Their goal was 32 weeks—Christmas Eve. On January 9, Caedmon Ryker was born, weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces. “A friend of mine said she prayed me past every week because she knew the longer I stayed pregnant, the better chances Caedmon would have,” Rachel said.
A month after the birth of her strong warrior, Rachel began another arduous passage of endless doctors’ visits, radiation and chemotherapy. Today, she is still seeking treatment but is hopeful for the future.
“We had a lot of unintentional growth this past year,” Rachel said. “God gradually changes you, and one day you don’t recognize yourself because the transformation was so quiet. Moving to Texas has been good for us emotionally, spiritually and now physically…I think it’s pretty safe to say there are several reasons why God led us here. Having our son alive and healthy is a huge gift.”