Thursday, June 14, 2018

Strength to the Weary

The past few weeks have been a mad whirlwind of appointments, plans, phone calls, babysitters, updates, and the like, and I haven't had much time for my blog. 

Last week we discovered, for sure, that my husband's cancer has persisted.  Apparently the surgery with clean margins in January got the primary tumor, but there were more cells lurking that did not get removed, and they're now in his tongue and lymph nodes.

He's set up to begin chemotherapy on Monday and radiation quickly on the heels of that.  Life has changed rapidly for us.  I have a hazy memory of life when my biggest musings revolved around homeschooling and transplanting coral bells.....seems like a long time ago.

Today we are driving to a teaching hospital at a comprehensive care center three hours away to get a second opinion before treatments begin here.  This type of cancer is common and fairly straightforward in treatment (surgery, radiation, chemo) so we don't expect any surprises, but we both want to have another set of eyes looking at his case to determine whether we are continuing on the right track.

I suddenly know more than I ever wanted to know about cancer.

My husband is strong and healthy and a couple of days ago he did a hard mountain run to an overlook he loves, and it's incomprehensible to me that in just a few days he'll be a patient in the chemotherapy infusion room.  What?

In the midst of it we are blessed by many things.  Our family, friends, and church are wonderful.  His medical care so far has been top-notch, even in our small city (and I'm picky and demanding when it comes to medical care!).  I've been so impressed by his doctors and other medical professionals we've met. His medical expenses are basically all covered by insurance, since we easily hit our out-of-pocket maximum in January, and we paid all that soon after, so everything he's getting now is free.  He's probably going to qualify for an immunotherapy trial once it's all over, and if he does, that's free as well.......

And did I mention our friends and family?  We are so, so fortunate.

My emotional state ebbs and flows and I'm so blessed to have friends I can call or text anytime.  Thank you, Lord, for my friends.  Especially my dear Allison.

Thank you for praying for my husband.  Keep them coming. This summer will be very hard, but I am looking forward to beautiful words in November or December, when he has his first post-radiation PET scan: "complete remission."

May it be so.

*******************************

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

-Isaiah 40:28-31

Monday, June 4, 2018

'Twas the Night Before Surgery.....

I'm not faithful on this blog right now as I'm a tad distracted by my real life but the essence of my news is that my husband's tongue biopsy came back negative yet again (!) and his lymph node biopsy indicated "suspicious" cells, so it's time for surgical biopsies. 

A patient who had cancer several months ago....a PET scan that lit up on the tongue and neck....a mysterious mass on his neck....this looks like a recurrence, right? Obviously, right?

But the doctor still hasn't found it, even after 3 different types of in-clinic biopsies, and the only way to know for sure is to have surgical biopsies.  In the morning the doctor will do a very deep tongue biopsy and cut along my husband's original neck incision to remove the mass and have it analyzed. 

Masses of people are lifting up prayers that there is no cancer.  I mean, PET scans can be wrong, or can light up for other reasons.  The mass could be scar tissue or an infection.  We just don't know.  And as long as we don't know, I'm holding out hope and prayers that my husband does not have cancer.  And this surgery, scheduled for 7:15 tomorrow morning, will be the definitive answer we've been trying to find for nearly four weeks.  

The past few weeks have given me countless stories of God's faithfulness and one day I'll share a few, but for now I'll just say that although the past month has been so challenging, I have learned to walk by faith like never before, and have been blown away by the love God has shown to us through situations and other human beings.  He's doing something here, although we don't know what yet.

If you have the time and desire, I welcome prayers for my husband tomorrow.  And I thank you for them!