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Speechless, But Not Without A Prayer

I have to admit that the news from Stanford shocked us.  From our experiences in 2003, 2006, 2010, and 2011 we have always been told that this is a slow growing cancer. It had only been a mere sixteen weeks since her last scans and we did not expect to learn that nine masses now replaced the three that were removed in her last ‘procedure’.

I am still in shock, and perhaps will be for a while longer.

Her recovery, while not setting speed records, was still trending forward. She CAN walk on her own. She CAN get out of the house and into life for longer and longer periods. She IS gaining weight.

And she still DOES have cancer.

After we arrived at the Stanford Cancer Center but before we saw the Radiologist, Carole and I took a long walk through the lobby and down the hall through all the clinics. It was our humble Victory Parade. She had never walked these halls before; every previous trip was in a wheelchair. Now she was walking through with a cane in one hand and my arm in the other. Her chin was up and just the smallest of smiles on her face. She was enjoying her passage from weak to walking but as is her style, she didn’t want to flaunt it or draw attention to herself while there were so many around us still fighting to take this very walk.

We both walked out mystified, greatly disappointed, shocked, and demoralized.

In the following days, the appropriate phone calls were made to inform friends and family and now the task at hand is acceptance and building resolve. This cup will not pass us by so we have to gather our faith in God and each other and prepare for another battle.

This battle will be unlike other battles, as they all have been.

This one will cost her hair, which in some ways is more of an insult, than surgery. It will also sap her of her strength and replace it with nausea. The Doctors have deep experience in helping patients get through the course of treatment as comfortably as they can, and we are relying in them to do that again.

All we know so far is that once every three weeks a cocktail of poison will be introduced into my wife’s system that may or may not kill the cancer which has now transformed into something far more alive and more aggressive than ever before. With this transformation, the treatment against this cancer has been changed from an informed decision into a best guess.  Will it react to this cocktail? Or that cocktail? And how long do we give it before we consider changing treatments?

And most importantly, how will her body already compromised so profoundly and for so long, react?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

Charles Dickens ~ A Tale of Two Cities


For us, these are the hard times, the times of speculation. The times where imaginations take precedence over facts and feelings run the gamut. A time where hope seems to fade and fear reenters our lives.  For us, it is a time of watching the happy world go by and asking just what it is we did to deserve this. It is a time where dreaming of rejoining that happy world is inappropriate while we steel ourselves for battle. All we know is threat. All we can do is prepare.

Prepare for what?

We don’t know, but we prepare.

4 Responses to “Speechless, But Not Without A Prayer”

  1. Christine Lindley says:

    Not one prayer — many, many prayers. Your many friends hold you before God every day.

  2. Michelle Nick says:

    Beautifully said as always. I’m an adult; I know well life is not fair, but this news just cries no fair!!! How could there possibly be more? I am so sorry and I am on my knees for you both.

  3. Dianne Copland says:

    You have put my thoughts down on paper so eloquently. Over the last 17 years we have experienced this over and over again. You still take that victory walk and yet find another battle ahead. How will it be attacked, chemo, radiation, surgery or all of the above. Will you have to find someone to care for the children at home and what do you tell them. And yet it comes back, over and over again. You want to cry but there are no tears left. You grieve but yet he is still with me. We hope and pray, but there is no end insight. So you prepare and greive another day, another week, another month and year. You anticipate the end!

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