***If you are just joining the blog, you may want to read a few of the previous posts to catch up, this is a healing journey. It’s my story, as I walked along side of my husband Paul during his battle with cancer. We began this journey in 2011- these are the emails that I used to keep all of our friends and family in the loop. ***
We are in Troy tonight. Paul is scheduled at 6:30 for surgery, tomorrow morning… So we came down early.
Today was a great day. Each day he seems to have more strength.
It has been really tough for him to do daily tasks… So when he walked around the driveway yesterday with his ski poles as walking sticks, I was excited. He struggles, he is so weak. His body is betraying his mind.
He thinks he is being lazy because he rests… I keep assuring him that his body is doing everything it can to fight… And it takes a lot of strength to fight… So try to give yourself a break. It’s tough tho… He’s a man… He’s a Marine. He’s tough… So when he gets tired or light headed… It frustrates him. I can’t imagine how humbling this is for him. It melts my heart to see those tired blue eyes staring up from his Calgon bath as I shave his head… I wish I could give him my strength. I wish I could fill him up with love and protein and he could be- all better.
My sister and brother in law came over this afternoon before we left. Over the past few days we have talked about how to calm the crazy in our minds. How to change the doubt and the fear into a heart of gratitude. How do you stay positive and up beat when the outlook is grim? His daughter gave him the sinners prayer in an email a few days ago… We have talked about our beliefs and what we know as our truth. But when you’re faced with stage four cancer and a terminal diagnosis… I guess you really begin to wonder if your understanding is enough?
Today, he has a new peace. They prayed with us and assured him that he was worthy. They talked to him about their own struggles and their own joys. My brother in law, is also receiving treatments for cancer. They helped him to know that he is not alone. They also told him when he gets the negative and the doubt in his head… To just know it’s not of God. To stop the thinking… Usher it out… And to positively know… he is covered with grace! (My wish- is to not share personal details about the talks… But to let everyone know how good he felt when they left.) Thank You- Don and Cindy.
We hopped in the car and hit the road and that’s all he could talk about. How awesome their visit was. How good and filled up he felt. Cancer is such a lonely disease. It will keep you trapped in your own fears and isolate you from your truth. It will fill you with doubt and anger… It’s a dark place to go alone. I am so thankful we have tiki-torches disguised as friends and family to help us keep light in our tunnel.
Tomorrow at 6:30am, he will have a surgery on his bladder to remove a tumor. He is excited for several reasons. First of all- to find out if it’s the same kind of cancer? The other reason is to get it out of his body! And lastly… He wants to hunt down the Oncologist to speak about the possibility of chemo. The Dr. in Detroit who came to speak to him about chemo got his attention. He had all but pushed every other Oncology Dr. out of the room when they mentioned treatments. This guy was different. Different in many ways. He was so knowledgeable and he wasn’t arrogant. He talked with us and answered our questions and told him of some new statistics and treatment possibilities.
He is now leaning towards wanting to try it. Ultimately- it is his decision. I can only gather information for him and support him with his decision- either way. How do you make such decisions? How do you find peace once you make the decision? Would you always second guess your choice to not try it if you didn’t? Would you always wonder if there was more you should’ve done? That’s another reason it was nice to talk to someone else who is going through something similar. The other thing he is thinking of doing- is switching his treatments to Detroit.
Well everyone- it’s 10:16 pm… And 4:30 is going to come real soon… So I need to sign off. Until next time…
Peace and Love,
Oh.. Wait… Thank you very much to the gym members, friends and family for the prayers, cards, money and gas cards… God Bless you all… Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Boy… the days go by so quick! We just got home a little while ago from Detroit. His surgery went well- they kept him overnight for observation… then sent him home this morning. They gave him a private room- at his request, so that I could stay with him. He was comfortable- not much pain…it’s usually done as an outpatient surgery- but because of the terminal diagnosis- they wanted to make sure there weren’t any complications.
They sent him home with a catheter and he has to go back on Friday to have it removed and to make sure he can void(urinate) on his own. At first they told us they would just let me take it out… and the nurse even showed me how… then she came back with discharge papers and said we needed to come back. He said that’s just fine with him… he would like to come back – because he didn’t get to speak to the Oncology Dept. He wants to see if he can track them down when on Friday and either talk or make an appointment to talk about chemo.
We stopped in Saginaw on the way home and changed his advanced directive- to ring more true with his wishes… Not sure if I mentioned it before… but when he signed the paper a few weeks ago- he was not thinking real clearly. My thoughts are that he had some brain swelling… because within a few days- he was talking clearly and no longer paranoid.
We have had a busy few weeks… and please know that I update when I can… or when there is news. You all have to remember- there are many of you… and just one of me. If you’d like to arrange a tier to trickle news down sooner… feel free- but I can’t do it. I can update the kids… and if they want to notify aunts- uncles-friends… and so on… that would be great… But I can’t. Maybe you guys can arrange for someone to make one call and then to notify someone else… and so on… Honestly… I had nine text messages- all from different people and 7 phone calls since yesterday. I know you all worry… but please know this is what I can do- an email update when I have the time.
My main focus is him.
Here is how the past few days looked.
Sunday- I packed a bag for him, packed a bag for me, loaded the computer- loaded the car. (I always have to pack a bag for a week or more, because you never know what could happen and we are too far from home…) Made breakfast, lunch, cleaned up the house… visited with Hailey and Cody- then Cindy and Don… then we hit the road. We stopped to eat… then drove to Troy- I checked us into a hotel- unpacked the car… made sure he had his meds- then did an email update for everyone. Slept horribly…he was up every hour and couldn’t sleep because he was so anxious. We probably got about two hours of sleep… got up at 4:30- showered- got his stuff ready… got him up and into the shower- packed up the car… then got to the hospitalby 6:10. Got him checked in. Got some coffee and breakfast… and waited until he was out. Went to his room and visited with Mellissa… ate some dinner. (Thanks Missy) Ran to the car got my toothbrush and a change of clothes… and crashed by 9:00. We were both exhausted. Got woke up at midnight, at 2:00 and then again at 5:00 by nurses checking in… got up at 7 and made coffee and got cleaned up. Got him checked out- rolled him out of the hospital and hit the road at 9:30… stopped for bendryl for him… then for gas and a coffee for me… stopped in Saginaw… left an hour and a half later… then stopped to grab some lunch. Stopped to empty his cath bag… stopped for him to stretch his legs so the bag would function and run down… then finally rolled in here around 3:30. Unpacked the car- changed his catheter bag- got him some coffee- started laundry… took a shower- yeah for me… then made him dinner and logged on here. SO… my point about this is… I really don’t have time to return his calls, return my calls, answer texts, and all the rest. Please know- I understand your concerns… I do… but there isn’t much more that I can do. You all will just have to wait for the next update.
I am not complaining about what needs to be done. I have gladly taken on this role. I wouldn’t be anywhere else. I am so blessed to be right here by his side. Also- there isn’t anything that anyone else can do to lighten the load… really. We have people who help with the things we can’t do… and we really do have it all covered. I do ask for help when I need it- and I do take care of myself… I have great support.
One of my dear friends once told me…”Denise, We really do teach people how to treat us… ”
So… that is why I am asking you all to be patient. He wants to rest and if you are coming by- please call first. Give him the option to say yes or no… It really is about him.
I love you all- I say this all in Love… Thank you so much for your support and your continued prayers and concern. Please be respectful of our needs too.
Peace and Love,