Today became the worst day of my life.
For the past couple of months, Dave has been experiencing pain and swelling in his left forearm. At first he just dealt with it and pushed through the pain and attributed it to tendonitis. After a bit, the pain wasn’t getting any better, so he told the therapists at work. Since he does repetitive movement at work, they just tried to ice/heat and physical therapy. Over a couple of weeks, nothing was helping and he was becoming increasingly debilitated in that arm, in where he couldn’t turn his palm up. Finally, after many people at work checked him out, they referred him to Kutz and Kleinert Hand Center.
The next week we had an appointment with the K&K doctors. They said he had carpal tunnel in his wrist, tendonitis in his shoulder and a possible muscle or tendon tear in his forearm (causing the pain, swelling, knot and inability to turn it over). The next step was an MRI, to tell them exactly what was torn. We were prepared for a surgery.
We had the MRI on Monday, April 21st. The next day, Dave called to get his results. And that is when my world came crashing down around me.
The medical assistant told us that they normally don’t tell patients their results over the phone, unless it was by a doctor. Dave’s doctor happened to be out of town that week. The MA told us that because the doctor was out of town and they didn’t want us to wait, she would tell us the results.
“Well, I have bad news. You have a bone tumor. We are referring you to a surgical oncologist.”
I was lying on the bed by Dave as he spoke to the assistant on the phone. When he hung up, I could tell there wasn’t something wrong. He looked at me with a confused look on his face and said “I have a bone tumor.” I immediately start freaking out, all while in denial. NO.WAY. This is not happening. Wait. What? I can not even explain all of my emotions at that moment.
Dave went on to work (although I begged him not to, because of my emotional state and the news we had just received. I just could not process it) and I called my parents. They all came over to be of support to me. We did the terrible “googling” medical advice thing, which scares you shitless. However, most bone tumors are benign. It is rare to just get a malignant bone tumor (not originating in another area). Dave had also recently been to his family doctor (3 weeks prior) and had routine blood work done and they were all normal. I found a sliver of comfort in those things.
We had an appointment set with the surgical oncologist on that next Friday, the 25th. The next couple of days was pure agony. The not knowing and the waiting is awful. The constantly going back and forth between worrying and then reasoning with yourself why it’s NOT cancer. He’s (newly) 30. He has never smoked. He drinks VERY little (socially). There is no family history. He is healthy. Not overweight. Blood work good. No other symptoms.
We’ve got this. Or so I thought.
Thursday we had to go pick up the MRI disc to take it to the oncologist appointment on Friday. When we picked up the disc, they also gave us the Radiologist report.
I can’t tell you what the rest of it said, because once you see that, you can’t process anything else. Everyone who knows me, knows I’m a hypochondriac. And my absolute nightmare/phobia is CANCER. My heart sank, yet was beating out of my chest. I could feel the blood drain out of my face. I looked at my sweet husband and almost lost it, but decided to be strong in front of him, for him. We tried to go about our day, staying busy and holding out hope that the radiologist doesn’t know for sure.
Friday was the appointment with the surgical oncologist. I was sick to my stomach. Dave’s blood pressure was through the roof. This was the moment. Keep in mind that this day, April 25, was normally a very HAPPY day for us. It is the anniversary of bringing our first born baby girl home from the NICU. We celebrate her every year.
The doctor entered the room and I don’t remember all that he said, but I do remember saying it was some kind of sarcoma (cancer) and that he needed a biopsy so we could figure out which type of bone cancer he had and that way we would know how to treat it. We talked worst case scenario of Dave losing his arm (not a big deal for me, but obviously, for him, that was a terrible outcome. Right above the other thing that you associate with cancer, that I won’t even say). The doctor told us they would do everything they could to shrink the tumor and save his arm, but he would have to refer us to an orthopedic doctor, since he didn’t do that type of cancer treatment. He also ordered Dave to have a chest CT scan, to make sure it hadn’t spread to the chest.
I wasn’t even thinking about it being any where else!! Now I’m REALLY freaking out.
When Dave went to his CT scan (that same day, right after his appointment), I sat in the waiting room, lonely. Hopeless. Miserable. I was sitting in the room with all OLDER adults. Then there is me. A 29 year old, mother of 2 young baby girls, waiting for her young, healthy husband to find out if cancer had spread to his chest.
I called my mom and bawled like a baby. The amount of ache in my heart is immeasurable. I literally want to die. Please God, let it be me! I can’t live without him.
After we left the hospital, Dave had already scheduled this day off from work (all before this started) and scheduled a tattoo appointment. He wanted to go through with it. So Dave’s mom came out to watch the girls so that I could go spend time with him while he was getting his new ink.
The new ink. The pocket watch is set on the time Mia was born. The Roman numerals are Finley’s birth day. The key is a symbol for the girls, and how they hold the key to his heart. The “Mia” and “Finley” tattoos were already there.
My thinking has all of a sudden changed. I didn’t care about money. I didn’t care about clothes we would wear, cars we would drive or big nice places to live in. As long as I have my family, I have it all. God will provide the rest. Although, I was certainly mad at Him. I just can’t understand.
While I was waiting on Dave to finish up with his tattoo, my dad rode down to see us and take me to dinner. Dad and I sat at that table in the middle of the restaurant and just bawled our eyes out. We were hurt, pissed, sad, scared, hopeful. All of those emotions were flowing into one. This seriously could not be happening. For the past few days, I have continually said “this is just a nightmare. This is not really happening. This is not my life.”
We spent the weekend together, loving on each other, crying (mostly all me) and trying to stay busy. My mind has played some horrible tricks on me and has had some terrible thoughts. I’ve prayed harder than ever before, but was still mad at His plan.
We had the biopsy done the following Tuesday. My mom and Dave’s dad came with us. And Tina came to watch the girls for us. I am so thankful for such a wonderful support system. When Dave went back, I called the doctors office to find out the results of the CT scan. I was on hold for 30 minutes, but I wasn't hanging up. I was going to get the answer, even though I did, but didn’t, really want to know. I had a lump in my throat the whole time I was on the phone.
Pam, the doctors nurse, finally answered and when I asked her for the results, she said “Ok, let me see if the doctor is available. Hold on just a second.” A minute later she was back on the phone and said “I guess I can tell you because he just handed the report to me.” She began reading the report and my heart was racing. Just cut to the chase, lady. She read “No evidence of metastasis to the chest.”
I felt the huge weight melt off of me. I smiled for the first time in days. I felt a sense of peace. Praise God for small miracles and the silver lining!
As of today, May 2, we are still awaiting the biopsy results. Again, the waiting is painful. I just want to know what type so we can get started on a treatment plan. I want to move on with this terrible chapter and close that book, never to open it again.
This is not supposed to happen. He is my absolute best friend in the whole world and we are supposed to grow old together. He is supposed to walk our girls down the isle. Scare all the boys that try to date our daughters. Protect them from whatever comes their way. We are supposed to have fun and spoil our grand kids together and marvel at the beautiful and amazing women that we brought into this world, together. We are supposed to move to a small condo when our kids are gone and take trips together. We are supposed to be like “The Notebook” and die together, while holding hands and still madly in love.
I know we will get through this. God is our maker, and our healer. The lover of our souls. He has a plan, whether we can see it or not. It is humanly impossible to not question Him and be angry with Him, but I still have to constantly remind myself that He loves us and that He will take care of us. We can’t see the forest through the trees, but He can.
I will continue to pray like never before. We have completely changed our life style. We now juice, 3 times per day, and eat squeaky clean. I’m talking all organic, no gluten, no refined sugar, no processed foods and lots of fruits and veggies. I have Dave started on a multi vitamin, a vitamin D supplement, probiotics, a calcium supplement and a bitter melon supplement (for blood sugar regulation, since cancer feeds on sugar). Cancer done EFFED with the wrong family!
I am doing EVERYTHING in my power/control to help him. I am also looking into Holistic healing, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, acupuncture, etc. WE WILL BEAT THIS!
For now, we have an appointment on Tuesday, May 6th, with an orthopedic oncologist (I wanted a second opinion) and we will wait to see what the other doctor says. They are supposed to be referring us to the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.
“I hope you live to be 100 years old, and I live to be 100 years, minus one day, so that I never have to live a day without you.”