The way we deal with uncertainty says a lot about whether Jesus is ahead of us leading, or behind us just carrying our stuff. ~Bob Goff
Well, THIS Is something we never expected to be doing- deploying a Caring-Bridge site. CB sites are for sick people. But, here we are....on Caring-Bridge and sick. With lung cancer. What.The.Hell. So many times over the last 4 weeks, we have looked at one another and said "Um, how'd we get HERE?" And I'm willing to bet EVERYONE else who has a CB site says the exact.same.thing.
So, in the sterile, yet warm words of Caring Bridge autofill: Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
Our site's name is From the Heart and the Hip- "The heart" because of Love- I mean, have you MET my husband? He.Is.Love.....and "the hip" because I want permission to be snarky sometimes. Sassy. And coincidentally, that's where the diagnosing biopsy was taken from. See what I did there?
After a roller coaster of 3 weeks of multiple tests, and finally a bone biopsy on the 19th, my adorable NON-FREAKIN'-SMOKER husband Jeff was finally diagnosed with a form of lung cancer. And as luck would have it, it was discovered that it had spread to a couple of bones too. So, did you know as a non-smoker, one has an “average” chance of getting lung cancer. Yeah, we didn’t either. We’ve been plunged headlong into a department of the hospital (oncology) that we didn’t really care to visit.
Friday Oct 29th, we met with the Radiation Oncologist, Dr Lovett, who is confident he can knock it down out of the bones. When Doctor Lovett was doing the intake, he was very surprised that Jeff didn’t have a lot of symptoms and/or pain that is often associated with his illness. The doctor took another look at the films and unsatisfied that things weren’t “lining up”, he ordered another MRI Friday afternoon at 4:55. He immediately brought us across the hall and got us right in- it was like having a speed pass through the toll booth. Or a fast pass at Disney. We were instantly reassured with his take-charge plan.
After the MRI, he came in to inform us that “Good news. It is NOT encroaching the spinal column as I first suspected from those first films. It is totally treatable in those 2 vertebrae. We will start 10 days of radiation on Monday. Had it been encroaching in any manner, we would have been starting radiation immediately and probably doing it over the weekend too. So, this is good, because I expected to be giving you MUCH worse news than this today.” God showed up. As we prayerfully had asked.
After a harrowing 3 1/2 weeks of not knowing anything, and going down a rabbit hole of despair almost daily, it is almost a relief to have a diagnosis that we can now attack. Cancer messed with the wrong guy. Between his spirit, humor and goodness, add in our prayer warriors NATIONWIDE who are ferociously on their knees praying for complete healing, and God’s AMAZINGNESS, we are confident in our ability to WIN THIS. Oh yeah, modern medicine too. We’re grateful for that also!
Side note: I wouldn't wish AN UNKNOWN DIAGNOSIS WAITING PERIOD on my worst enemy. It.Was.Torture.
The morning of our appointment on the 29th, through our tear-filled prayer time, we asked God to show up big at that appointment. We needed just a glimmer of hope. “Give us a sign, God." Good news to sustain us. It seemed like we had SO MANY repeated questionable test results, with no answer, which left us in a dark place. Having patience during times of trial is such a test. WE want answers NOW. Trusting in God, but fearfully questioning at the same time. I likened it to praying with one eye open. A very conflicted, difficult spot for a Christian to be in. But we asked, and we humbly, gratefully received.
Again, on the morning of Oct 30th, we prayed. That morning brought radiation assimilation- sticky stickers to mark where the rays will be and TATTOOS! Yep. Jeffry now has 3 tattoos. Never mind that they are the size of pinheads- it's INK baby. That morning also brought our hematology oncology appointment with Dr Eisemann- he explained that with a smoker lung cancer patient, there are clear triggers and paths of treatment. With a NON-smoker, lung cancer patient, the triggers are less clear. WHY do non-smokers GET lung cancer? He wants more eyes on Jeff's pathology slides so they can formulate a CLEAR, focused plan of attack with chemotherapy. So, on November 15th, we are headed to Dana Farber in Boston for a consult with the worlds best. And we also may be forced to sneak in a trip to the North End for some authentic Italian while there.
Soooooo...... What's it like right now in Blissville?
If we didn't have the films and pathology report, you would think that my husband's biggest problem is finding time to clean out the gutters. He looks amazing. He is still working. I am still working. We are both doing the best we can with our volunteer work. With his superman steroids, his appetite is still good and he finishes what I can't. Sleep is challenging due to the same steroids, but we have some good prescriptions for that. We are spending time with friends and family. And doing a lot of praying. More prayer time than ever. So, we're trying to keep as busy with normalcy as we can. Well, except for a few doctors appointments here and there. Oh, and a really inconvenient diagnosis. And a $6 million machine shooting gamma rays into my husband.
(Insert Heavy Sigh here)
So, here's what we need right now. Prayers. If you have been, thank you. If you haven't, please start. Discernment for doctors and technicians, strength for Jeff and for me, courage for Jeff's mother June, and his children Jeremy and Sara too, and for the despicable, loser, uninvited, POS cancer that decided to show up in my husband to GET OUT. It's not welcome.
What else can you do besides prayers? Hopeful words of encouragement from your mouths to our ears. Uplifting texts and emails and calls are always welcome. Please don’t feel like you’re bothering us. Ever. Your words and love give us strength. We might not always respond right away, but we will eventually.
Not only have your words of encouragement and the “we’ve got your backs” helped us feel stronger, but your stories of triumph and faith have done wonders for our spirits. And we thank you for your grace and patience- this is all new ground for us to navigate as a couple, and we so lovingly appreciate your calls, emails and text messages more than you will know. We are overwhelmed and humbled by the outreach, truly. Please don't stop reaching out- we love hearing from you. We are grateful for every day. And you should be too! As we know, tomorrow is not promised, so get out there and LIVE!
In the mean time, we are oh so grateful for your prayers and your love. WE FEEL IT ALL. Remember, we want prayer WARRIORS, not prayer WORRIERS. Be bold with those prayers. HE hears you. HE likes big, bold, scary prayers. That’s where HE shows up. And shows off. He wants to LEAD US onto the field of victory, not carry the equipment to the bus. HE is ready. And we are too!