What do you do when a Dr. walks in a room and says “You’ve got cancer….we don’t know what kind or where it originates from, but you’ve got it and it’s really really bad”.
This is what’s been going on in my life the last few months. Honestly, I’ve just been in survival mode for the last while. One day runs into the next day and I’m never sure what time it is. Things have felt so dark lately that I can’t even see the next step in front of me.
I’m not the one with the cancer. It’s my husband. But as anyone knows, once one of the two in the partnership gets cancer, the whole family has cancer. What do I tell my 6-year-old and my 3-year-old? Their life has been turned upside down too. Oh yeah, and I found out I was pregnant with baby number 3, three days before he was diagnosed.
Haven’t we been through enough lately? I’ve been so MIA recently on this site because really, I’m not sure what to say. But I figured that it was worth a small update even if I wasn’t sure what to update it with.
I’ve found myself suddenly basically a single parent, single wage earner, and a full time cancer patient nurse. I’ve watched the love of my life dwindle from a 210 lb. bodybuilder to a 128 lb. bag of bones and still losing. He can’t pick up the kids and wrestle them anymore. He can hardly walk because of the tumors pressing up against his spine. He hasn’t been able to keep food down for weeks and weeks- oh yeah and he’s got a broken neck. They tell us it’s all just an ugly complication and side effect of eroding bone in the c2 vertebrae. There have been countless hospital stays trying to battle 104 degree temperatures and ugly secondary infections. And a surgery to insert a permanent pain pump that will dose his spine with meds to try and get him comfortable and keep him comfortable, or at least as comfortable as he can be. I don’t recognize him anymore.
The radiation did nothing. The first few rounds of the most aggressive chemo has done nothing but ravage his body even further and steal his health and quality of life. I’ve cried more tears than I can count and my anxiety levels have been through the roof. I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. I’m scared. I’m stressed. I’m weirdly lonely even though frequently I’m surrounded by people. I’m humbled. I’m failing at everything and doing nothing well. Am I depressed? Probably.
But…. I am grateful. I am so very very grateful. This is not the end. This is just the beginning. There are so many good people in the world and in those moments where we feel the most vulnerable, is usually when the heavens part and those angels gather around us and bear us up. I believe in God. I believe in miracles. I believe in all the unbelievable. This is one of those experiences that will forever change us and write on the slate of who we are and what ripples in this world we will create and the good we can do. This is an experience we have been blessed with to show us what we are made of and to bring us to our breaking points.
I’ve seen countless miracles. One is this baby that’s coming in three months from now (it’s a boy by the way). Three boys…. I can hardly contain my joy. The three miscarriages previous to this pregnancy now make sense. God knew that I would be in the throws of cancer right now and that adding a labor/delivery or newborn to the mix would probably have been more than I could handle. He was merciful enough to say “not now, but trust me…. you will need that perfect promise of hope at the right time to remind you that you still have something to live for”.
Another miracle is that the Dr.’s told me that there was NO way his neck would heal because there was not enough bone there to heal….he would need to have surgery to fuse his spine and neck together. They wanted to do it the last time he was in the hospital but they couldn’t get his secondary infection under control, his white blood count was exactly zero and it made the possibility of an already high risk surgery- impossible. Fast forward a few weeks…. the X-rays show that his neck is trying to heal on it’s own. The surgeon said “let’s give this a few more weeks to see how it’s progressing… even under normal circumstances I wouldn’t suggest surgery right now”. So we’ll go in at the end of this month to do more X-rays to see how the neck is doing. But imagine that- it’s healing on it’s own- after everyone said it couldn’t.
Some one asked me the other day to sum up what I had learned…. I’m not sure how one can sum up everything into one sentence. However, one thing I have learned is that sometimes life has a way of throwing you, and abusing you and breaking you and you get to a point where you feel like all you’ve got left is your faith. That’s where I’m at. All I can do is turn to God, know that all of this is part of the plan and hope that I’m making him proud in my ability to withstand it with hopefully a least a tiny bit of Grace. At the very least, if I’m doing a terrible job at withstanding the storm, hopefully he knows that I am humble, teachable, meek and hungry for guidance and direction.
This is one hell of a ride we’re on. I don’t know how the story ends or what other twists and turns it will take. It’ll be interesting to see where we end up and who we become. However, what I do know is that we are survivors. We’ve survived up until this point and we have no intention of not surviving now. We are going to face this with as much courage and bravery as we can muster with hopefully a little bit of humor along the way. The kiddos are doing great- and we’re naming this new baby after his daddy. 🙂
Much Love- Kate