Ron continues his narration. With dozens of friends searching for news of any new cancer treatments, Ron and Deborah discover an experimental chemotherapy called CPT-11. They drive to San Antonio together to undergo the treatment, but as soon as it begins, it proves too painful for Deborah to endure. Shortly after Deborah’s 55th birthday, Ron, Deborah, and Carson attempt to visit Regan in Colorado, but the altitude of the mountains and Deborah’s chemo-depleted red blood cell count causes her to literally suffocate, forcing them to evacuate back down to a lower altitude. After returning to Texas, Deborah calls a minister to discuss her funeral.
Despite Ron’s begging God for a miracle, Deborah’s death seems to rapidly approach. While their faith is a source of comfort amidst tragedy, it does not take away the tragedy or the pain itself, despite Ron’s pleading. Even though religious faith provides a source of hope and comfort, it is not necessarily a cure-all or fixative, and it does not provide easy answers to life’s questions.
Everyone senses that Deborah’s time is near. Carson and Regan both fly back to Texas to be with her. Confiding to Ron, Deborah admits that she is afraid of dying, and that she wants to live. After a doctor tells Ron that Deborah likely only has a few days left, he sits in his car and weeps and screams.
Even armed with their Christian faith, Ron and Deborah both finally feel the fear of death and the full pain of life lost. Again, this tempers the depiction of faith in the story, preventing the reader from forming an unrealistically optimistic view.