Saturday, November 30, 2013

Heartache

I didn't really know that heartache ACTUALLY makes your heart ache.  But I know now.  It does.  I am so sad, and Wes is so stinking positive.  I just want to curl up in a ball under the covers and cry for the rest of my forever.  Meanwhile Wes is busy researching, and figuring out where to go to get a second opinion, learning about treatment options, and being all pro-active.  Of course he is.  He is the most stubborn man alive, and right now, I'm so glad for it.  Knowing him, his stubborn will take him far in this cancer battle.

It is utterly depressing to think of a two year survival time of being a good outcome and outside the norm. 

We made a list of what I need to learn to handle for if/when he dies.  One of the things on the list is to go over to Ratterman's funeral home and make some plans.  Another thing on the list is to talk to a financial advisor.  Another list item is finding out how much social security death benefits will be, and creating a budget. I want to do this before hand, and talk it over with him.  He is so much better at that stuff than I am.  

In my mind is the constant question:  What will I DO?  I'm one of those "lame" women who has never worked outside the home.  I've been a stay at home mom all of my marriage, other than being in grad school for a few years.  I graduated with my M.Div. in 1995.  After that it was diapers, breastfeeding, teaching kids to read, cooking, playing at the park and endless loads of laundry.  And then it was raising older kids, and cooking and  endless loads of laundry.  Now, it's a house full of teenagers, and cooking and endless loads of laundry.  And no matter how much I do to try and get healthier and take care of my health, it feels like I am ALWAYS hitting a wall in that department.  I still have very low energy, and quite frankly, I need lots of help.  And my help is deathly ill now. 

I keep looking at my wedding rings, wondering how much longer I will get to wear them.I've never been a widow before, and I'm not one yet, I know.  But there's a good chance I will be.  And soon.  I am so sad.

How will I cope when my fibromyalgia is really bad?  What will my children do? 

I need to find someone who can teach Maia how to drive a car.  And Eric, too, when he turns 16 next August.  I'm going to push him to go ahead and get his license asap.  Bethany is disabled and should not/does not drive,and for Ariana that is yet a year away. 

Meanwhile, I'll be driving Wes to radiation and work daily for the next six weeks, or so.  I should probably just focus on the NOW and stop thinking about the future.


We will be setting up a fundraising website this weekend, so that people can help us.  Chemo, radiation, and brain surgery, is very expensive. 

We put up  the Christmas tree yesterday.  Trying to be as normal as possible. 

Oh, my heart aches.   

Thursday, November 28, 2013

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.