The last couple weeks have been filled with more information, more doctor appointments, and the start of chemo for Ryan. I’ve received a lot of messages, emails, telephone calls and visits and the number one question is, “how are you doing?” I used to lie and try to sound chipper and respond with “Good!” but I stopped that pretty quickly because it felt so … well, fake. I definitely wasn’t feeling “good” …. not to mention, it’s grammatically incorrect to respond with “Good”.
Last Friday was a scary day for me. Ryan had his appointment with his oncologist to go over the pathology and MRI results. I was fully expecting bad news and wondering how we were going to cope with it, and where we would go next. I was expecting the doctor to say they had missed it in the first tests, but the cancer had spread to vital organs. Or further up the lymph nodes. There was a spot on his lung. So many scenarios were playing through my head that I really didn’t know how to respond at first when the doctor said, “It’s good news. It’s seminoma. And it hasn’t spread, other than the abdomen.” This suddenly increased Ryan’s prognosis from “moderate” to “good”. This meant 9 weeks of chemotherapy, most likely no further surgery, and we would hopefully be on the road to “normal” life by January.
After that appointment, we had a short lunch followed by “chemo teach”. Where they go over every possible, horrific, scary side effect chemo patients have ever experienced. And then finish with “but you may experience none of these. Or one. Or two. But not all.” Not a class I ever envisioned myself attending, but it was enlightening nonetheless.
We are now trying to teach the kids that hand washing, although important before, was now extremely important. Enter the house, wash your hands. Do not pass go, do not touch anything – wash your hands. When you wash your hands, sing the alphabet song in full. Slowly. If a friend comes in the house with you, she must wash her hands too. And no, washing her hands at home and then coming over isn’t good enough. Do it again.
I joked with Ryan that we would put a sign on the front door that says “Cancer Lives Here. Please Wash your hands.”
It’s been a hard balance for me, trying to keep life as normal as possible. Because Cancer does live here. It lives in Ryan, it lives in our home, it lives in my every thought, worry, motivation. And I just want it to go away. The faster the better.
So how am I doing? I’m coping. I’m okay. I’m trying to act as normal as possible, but the fact that Cancer has become part of our family never leaves my mind.
We have many requests asking how they can help. We are still unsure on that answer as we are on the beginning steps of our chemo journey. Right now, we have a schedule for meals that you are welcome to sign up for here. As far as what else we will need, we hope that will become more clear as things progress.
Yesterday while sitting with Ryan during his first chemo treatment, I did a lot of reading. That’s what you do when you have four hours to sit there. It’s either that, or just stare at each other which becomes really old really fast. I’m reading a book that I first was going to intentionally skip. The book is “Uninvited” by Lysa TerKeurst. It’s the fall study session with Proverbs 31 and I had made the conscious decision months ago I wasn’t going to participate due to other commitments in my life. Well, somehow, Someone put it in my heart and mind that I should read this book. And sitting there in that chemo room yesterday, I read this prayer from Lysa. And I felt like it was written for us and our current circumstances. And how did she know I would read and need this right at this exact moment. But Lysa didn’t know. Someone else who directs every step, every moment, and every circumstance in our lives – He knew I would need it.