He beat leukemia once but doctors said an Evansville Police detective wouldn't beat it twice. They were wrong. Detective Nathan Schroer returns to work just weeks after being sent home for hospice care.
Doctors call Det. Schroer's recovery nothing short of a miracle because, medically, they couldn't explain it. Det. Schroer says all the explanation he needs can be found by looking up.
At the end of a dark and silent hallway of Holly's House, sitting at a cluttered corner office, humility is back at work.
"It's very humbling but it's great to see them again and begin to carry my weight," said EPD Detective Nathan Schroer.
Although he's eager to carry his own weight, Det. Schroer isn't easing himself into it. It's his second day back at EPD's Special Victims Unit.
"I'm doing great, I honestly feel great," Det. Schroer said. "I jokingly tell people there's not much muscle left in my body after laying in a hospital for three months."
"My wife and I were even talking about how long it took me to recover nine years ago as opposed to this time. I, just by the grace of God, felt like I bounced back in almost a week."
You could say instead of interviewing witnesses, this detective and department chaplain witnesses to others. When not in the office, he's serves as an associate pastor at Northwoods Church in Evansville.
Nine years ago he beat leukemia thanks to a brother he never knew he had. That brother became his bone marrow donor.
Nathan and his wife Lindsey then adopted a son after doctors told them they would never be able to have kids of their own.
A few years later, Lindsay gave birth to not one child but two.
Nathan considered his test against leukemia a blessing no matter the outcome. But in February, this man so deeply rooted in family and faith would be tested again.
Doctors said recent testing showed Nathan's leukemia had returned. Schroer then went down to Houston, Texas for treatment. That chemotherapy didn't work. Schroer then returned to St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville for further treatment and chemotherapy. That didn't work either.
Nothing seemed to work which left Schroer with the only alternative. In May, his home would become his hospice.
"It was just kind of decided among the doctors that my body couldn't handle it anymore and there weren't any more drugs for me to use," Schroer said. "My doctors told me to go home and be comfortable and be around your family. Plan for the inevitable."
That's when Schroer's plans for inevitable turned into prayers for the inevitable.
"[I asked] Lord help me to die well," Schroer said. "Help me to reflect You as much as I can these next couple months. Take care of my wife. I know You will. Take care of my kids. I know You will. Help me to die well. It wasn't my faith."
Schroer hates admitting it wasn't his faith that got him through the dark and lonely hallways that pointed toward the end. But when the results of his most recent biopsy came in, his doctors were stunned.
It was almost as if to say 'O ye of little faith.'
"No leukemia, gone," Schroer said. "I feel like a man who is back from the dead. When you've been given the chance to come back from the dead, God forbid you waste it. It wasn't my faith. It wasn't my faith that got me through. As much as I hate to admit it to people, I didn't think that God did that anymore. He wasn't going to do it for me."
"I'll forever be trying to wrap my head around it. God has not promised me forever. One of these days I am going to die but I got today."
He's got today.
At his cluttered desk near the end of a dark and lonely hallway, there's nowhere he'd rather be.
That's because when Schroer thinks about it, it sure beats the alternative.
Schroer says he can't thank the department and community enough for their support and prayers the past few months. He also had nothing but the highest praise for the doctors and nurses that took care of him.
"I've had so many officers tell me what God has done in their life," Schroer said. "To me, that's infinitely more important. To me, when I hear that God is doing something in this officer's life, I can look back at the leukemia and think it was worth it. It was worth it."
"[The doctors and nurses] were incredible. They didn't hesitate to pray with me. They didn't hesitate to hold my hand when I was having a bad day and I was having some bad days."
To see our previous coverage of Nathan Schroer's story, click here.
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