Several years ago I was following a Facebook page about a little girl who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the tender age of five. Her prognosis was not good. This family’s story was so heavy on my heart, I followed it closely until the bitter end. I cried real tears of sorrow when her mom posted of her daughter’s final moments. The only comfort I was able to find in their situation was that this little girl was now in Jesus arms and pain free.
My heart was so torn for this family I had never met, I decided I was not going to follow any other cancer stories unless I knew the family personally. I couldn’t handle that heart-wrenching, emotional rollercoaster again. Except now, I am following our own cancer story.
Two emotions I vividly remember feeling very strongly as I followed their journey were FEAR, and RELIEF. Fear that their story could become mine someday, and relief that it wasn’t my story.
As you walk along with me, dear reader, it is my goal to help YOU share in our PEACE, JOY, LOVE, and COMFORT that our Savior has given us.
The surgeons were able to remove all the cancer during my husbands surgery. He was able to return home after 4 days of hospital care. He is healing very nicely and is planing two return to work (from home) just two weeks out of surgery!
We were told at his follow-up appointment last week that the cancer was removed just below where they definterate between the colon and the rectrum. He actually had rectal cancer, but it is still called collorectral cancer. Cancer was also found in a lymph node. So that means he had stage 3A colorectal cancer.
There is a one in three chance of the cancer coming back without therapy. His chances improve to one in five with therapy. Studies show that at five years out from treatment, there is an 83% survival rate for patients with stage 3A colorectal cancer. This has all proved to us in our minds that chemotherapy and radiation are not optional.
We are now preparing for Gabe’s chemotherapy to begin in a few weeks. He will have what they call “sandwiched” therapy. Two months of chemo, 2 months of radiation, and then two more months of chemo. The hardest part is not knowing what to expect.
Schedules are difficult between Gabe’s appointments and the kids activities and appointments. We are also noticing our friendships and relationships with friends and family changing. For some, the bonds are tightening and drawing closer. Others, we notice a drawing away. Of course, we all are riding the rollercoaster of emotions, and sometimes all we can do to keep our minds from “going to the other side” is to watch Netflix!
This journey so far has not been easy, I won’t lie. However, there has been One Constant, One Source of strength that has not changed in our crazy lives. There is an old hymn that goes “I could not do without Thee”. If it weren’t for Jesus Christ, I certainly would have no strength to walk right now. Each time fear over the future has crept into my heart, God has sent verses of comfort to my mind. Each time I have wanted to pull my hair out with one of my kids (it wasn’t them, just me being short tempered these days) a friend would text me saying they were praying. When I start feeling weak like I just can’t walk this path, we get an invitation to dinner from close friends. When I start to think too deeply about things, my husband will get out his guitar and sing to me! People have put money in our hands, sent us gift cards, brought food to our house. We feel so undeserving of such kindness! God is always reminding me with each step up this rugged mountain path, that He’s here, and even if the worst thing I fear comes to pass, it’s going to still be OK.
“Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” – Psalms 73:25