A Journey of Tears

On September 30 my husband had an episode where he could not speak.  I thought he was having a stroke, and after checking the symptoms online, I drove him to the ER.  They got him in right quick, and did a CT scan.  Sure enough, something showed up on the CT scan, and they admitted him to the hospital.  All his symptoms had resolved by that point, and so the doctors spent the next three days running many tests on him, trying to figure out why a young healthy thin man would have a stroke.  His arteries and veins were very very clear, with no clogged anything.  It made no sense.

One doctor in  the group had a different opinion.

He is a neurosurgeon, and when he looked at the MRI, he said "Brain Tumor".

So, Wes was sent home with medicine for both:  They put him on blood thinners in case it was a stroke, and they put him on an anti-seizure drug in case it was a brain tumor.

A month later, he had a follow up MRI and a week after that we went to see the doctor to find out the results:  The tumor was lit up from the contrast dye and still very very much there.  If Wes had had a stroke, the spot would have cleared up by then.  The tumor is located in his speech center. 

So Wes was scheduled for a brain tumor biopsy surgery.  That took place on the 21st.  He was in the ospital for a few days, and came home last Saturday night.  We knew for sure he had cancer after the surgery. Yesterday, we got the pathology report and found out how aggressive it is.  It was the worst possible news.  The cancer he has is the most aggressive brain tumor there is:  Glioblastoma.

He's not had another episode of not being able to speak since that first one, and he is recovering from his surgery very well.  It doesn't seem like he is sick at all.  It is so strange. 

The treatment, at this point, is chemo and radiation merely to try and slow down the cancer's growth.  Surgery is not indicated because the damage from the surgery, at this point, would be worse than what the tumor is causing. And also because there is no way to get ALL of a glioblastoma, and they always come back. So, next week he has apointments with the radiologist, the chemo oncologist, and also to get the stitches out of his head.

I have been weeping buckets.  The doctor was grim, and vague as he could be, but I know from research that the median survival time from diagnosis of this type of cancer is 14.6 months.  Only 10% survive to five years.  I pray pray pray that Wes is one of them.

Meanwhile, I am weeping, the kids are weeping and we tried to have a lovely Thanksgiving dinner today.  The table was pretty, the food was good, and after lunch I cried.  Then we played scrabble and ate pie and Wes and I walked to the corner Rite Aid and bought a bottle of wine.  I should go have a glass.

And so a new journey begins for me as I walk beside my beloved husband:  A cancer journey.  Possibly a death journey.  A Journey of Tears.  I will be honest and say this:  I am terrified and heartbroken, and so are our kids.

The scripture that keeps coming to my mind is:  "The Lord is my Shepherd.....Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.  Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me." 

After we got the pathology report yesterday, Wes and I went for some coffee at a coffee shop.  We sat there crying together, and a stranger gave us her pack of tissues.  During that conversation we came up with a motto for all of this:  "God be glorified."  So whether Wes is miraculously healed, or whether he dies a Christian death at an all-too-early age:  God be glorified.  


Unknown said…
Beautifully written and from the heart. Thank you for your gift of writing.

Janet Evpraxia
elizabeth said…
I am so so so sorry. We will be praying lots for all of you. I will be lighting lots of candles and lampadas for you and praying the Akathist to the Mother of God healer of cancer.

If there is anything else I can do please email me at roosjeblog@yahoo.ca Meanwhile, know that you have my prayers.
Matushka Anna said…
Lord have mercy. I'm so sorry to hear this. You will all be in my prayers.
Elzabet said…
May God indeed be glorified. Please know you do not make this journey alone. ~hugs~ May St Nektarios pray to God for you and Wes and your family, and for all of us.

Athanasia said…
Alana, I am devastated by this sorrowful news. May God indeed have mercy and may your husband be healed by the prayers of St. John Maximovitch.

Mimi said…
Oh my dear. Love, prayers, hugs.
Tamara said…
Prayers for all of you. We weep with you and share your sorrow.
Glan Deas said…
God is always with us. May god give you strength for sorrow.

Kopi Luwak
Martha said…
Through the prayers of St. Nektarios, St. John and also St. Panteleimon, may God help your husband and family! ♥ I will pray.
Alicia Lewis said…
I can barely comment. My voice cracking as I read this out loud to Joshua. We read the research yesterday and were devestated by it, butto hear it read aloud from your heart... There are no words. A sweeter man, I have never met. We love Wes and pray for many years. We will not be in denial nor will we say anything to try and brighten things, just we love you so much. We love Wes so much. We love your kids so much. And, God be Glorified.
Alana, I am stunned by this heartbreaking news.

Assuring you of my prayers for all of you, and wishing I could send hugs.

Lord, have mercy .....
Laura Wilson said…
I'm so sorry. We will add you to our prayers as well. God be glorified!
Elizabeth said…
I am so sorry! It's something all of us fear on some level, and it's horrible that it is happening to y'all. Taking as your motto, "God be glorified," is one of the most positive things I have ever heard under these circumstances.

I agree with the first Elizabeth that the Akathist to the Mother of God, Healer of Cancer is a good idea. So is the Akathist of Thanksgiving , and the Akathist to St. Nektarios of Pentapolis .

I'm posting this information on the Yahoo Orthodox Women's list and the Facebook Orthodox Women's page (if you haven't already).

Our whole family will hold your family in prayer, come what may.

Love to you!
Dr. Elizabeth
Liz Fallin said…
Many prayers and hugs. Glory to God in all things.
Meg said…
Is there any way at all you can make the trip to Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne, WV? There is a deacon there whose wife survived peritoneal cancer through the intercession of St. John of San Francisco, and I would think they could give you some solid support on dealing with this. Meanwhile, you are both in my poor prayers.
I'm crying and praying with you! Your motto is a strong and beautiful one; may God give you all strength!
Maureen E said…
I'm here via Elizabeth's post. I don't know you at all, but I'm also Orthodox and my father died a year ago today from an aggressive glioma. You will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers, and if you want to, feel free to email me (elvenjaneite at gmail). The only thing I can say is that you can find grace in the midst of the sorrow.
I am so very sorry. Please be assured of my prayers for you, Wes, and the children.

I read this last night and was so shocked I couldn't comment. Even now all I can really say is that I am praying. Email me if you'd like. thegeekywife at gmail
Unknown said…
Dear Alana,
All my love to you, Wes and your children. My prayers, and those of my family, will join with all the others that are going up to the Throne for you.
Love & peace,
Ruth said…
I am so sorry, Alana! Praying for your family.
Vanessa said…
I ache for you, reading your blog. I have been in your shoes. Oh, how I have walked your path. I am so so sorry. If you would like, I blogged our entire brain tumor journey... you may find some helpful information there. www.healerinyourheart.blogspot.com
laura said…
pray, enjoy every moment. Document in photos and writing all the good moments. Make your husband as happy and comfortable as possible. Prayers.
Frewtyl said…
Alana, I have been away from the blog world for a long time, and only now am catching up. I am so so sorry to hear about Wes. You will all be in my family's prayers.
Anonymous said…
Lord have mercy. PRAYERS.
Carol Federoff said…
Lord Have Mercy.

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