I feel like I need to start a blog, a way to get out what I feel. No fancy title, no real purpose other than for me to record the things that have been happening in my life. I also want something to look back on, something I can reference, a journal if you will. I really don't know where to start. I just know I need to start writing. What I need to say will come to me.
A year ago in Feb. I was diagnosed with cancer, Leiomyosarcoma. I underwent a surgery that removed 2 discs and a vertebrae. I had 8 screws, two cages and 2 rods implanted. I underwent neuro-rehab and 18 weeks of chemotherapy.
It was an experience to forget, or was it? My wife Amy, kept a blog on the events of the following months. She commented on the joys and the pains, the recovery and the heartache. I got to read about what happened to me from the eyes of my wife. All of this can be found on our family blog site. Feel free to browse the months following Feb 09' up through the current date.
Well after all of the experiences we have had, we have more on the horizon. This morning was a routine 3 month checkup. I go in every 3 months for scans and tests to follow up on the cancer, just to make sure it doesn't spread.
I was feeling nervous just like I had for the previous follow-up visits. I new I was going to be fine. Getting ready for the day, I had the usual butterflies, the anxiety and the desire to get it over with. When we got to the Hunstman Cancer institute, we got the boys out of the car and headed in to the clinic. Sitting in the chair waiting for the Team of oncologists to come in and tell me that everything was alright, I had a different feeling, a fleeting thought of hold on to your hat! One of the Docs. opened the door and came in asking us how we were doing. We were fine, at least for now I thought we were fine. She asked me if I was feeling anything different. I said I was fine other than a slight twinge in my back, which I was told, visits in the past, was probably my body still adjusting to the drastic changes that had been made.
Well it turns out that the slight twinge was nothing more than the tumor making its new home in my T3 vertebrae. One vertebrae below the original tumor. With the News that the cancer had spread to another vertebrae and the thought of having to go through with everything all over again, I cried. I knew that what ever was going to happen, the Lord was going to be there to lift and strengthen us, like he did the first time. I still cried. I wanted so bad to hear good news, I wanted to be one of the success stories of having beaten cancer on the first try. Looks like I didn't get it right the first time.
The options we have are 3. Spot Radiation treatment, Minor surgery or Major surgery. The Radiation therapy as was described to me will basically cook the area and turn it into a "well done steak" Hopefully killing all the cancer in the process. Surgery is looking more and more like it will need to happen again. The tumor has already started to weaken the bone and make it soft. If we kill the tumor off with radiation, the bone is still deteriorated. The damage is already done. The Neurosurgeon said that we will likely go in and open me back up in the same place as before as well as though the front, under my arm between the ribs, weaving around the lungs and heart to get to the front side of the spine. We were told that this would be a much more risky surgery. However doing it this way would give us the chance to take out as much as possible, in terms of the infected tissue and bone surrounding the area. They would also add more titanium hardware to the front of my spine, seeing as how I would be missing now 2 vertebrae.
This all sounded so exciting!!! (can you hear my sarcasm?)
The thoughts I have running through my head are so many that it is hard to fish through them and think about what I want to say.
The one thing I learned from the first experience was that ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING! It will make or break you. Do I get depressed and sulk? Sure. Do I feel like if I go through this again, it will kill me? Yes. Do I feel like my little Family can take more of this? No..... But we will make it through. We have to be positive. We will have hard times, we will have pain, we will have exhausting days. Despite all that will be thrown at us, our Father in Heaven has promised us that he will be there to strengthen us and lift us up. During the first time I was in the hospital, I saw miracles every day, I saw the hand of God in all things. He was there to comfort me, to help me realize that the pain and hurt would be temporary, that all would be well.
The recovery I experienced after my last surgery was remarkable. I was able to get back to doing just about everything I had done before. My family can attest to the fact that I have been a recipient of many miracles. I will forever be great full to my Father in Heaven for such experiences. For the quiet moments of peace, for the added courage I didn't have, for the speedy recovery, for the company of the spirit on sleepless lonely nights, and for the thousands of answered prayers offered on my behalf.
I will forever be great full to My family, who spent hours and hours by my side through the worst parts of this ordeal. They spent time helping my little family. Making sure that we were alright. I love them and appreciate all they have done for me. More than anything I am great full for my loving Wife Amy. She has been a rock. She has had courage and fortitude beyond what I could ever hope for. She traveled up to be with me multiple times a day, she put more miles on her car than I could imagine. Most importantly, she always had something good to say. If I was feeling down she would boost me up, encourage me and show me that "for better or for worse" love. I Love you Babe!
I guess I am recalling all of these memories more for myself to help me remember that as scared as I am to go though it again, I know the same help will be there and God will again be by my side.