Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Anger & Faith

So, right now I'm mostly angry.  Angry enough that I want to scream, throw something, break something, you get the idea.  Problem is there is no one to actually be angry with and THAT makes me angry.  I don't blame anyone, I don't blame God.  God is the one who will help us get through this ugly mess.  I'm not focusing on the "what if we had..." or "if only...".  None of that matters one bit and there's no sense focusing energy on that kind of crap.  Right now I need to work on turning this angry energy into something more positive.  Maybe tomorrow I'll figure out how to do that.  For tonight though, I think I need to just be OK with the fact I'm angry.

Enough of that.  Here's what we found out today when we saw Dr Dachman.  Yep, Mike has cancer - no surprise there.  The oncologist also said it looks as though the lymph nodes are likely involved.  Again, no surprise.  That means we're looking at Stage 3 colon cancer.  What we weren't really prepared for though, was finding out that the polyp that had been removed also appears to be cancerous.  We had guessed the polyp had been removed from roughly the same area as the main tumor.  Unfortunately, it was removed from the lower sigmoid colon.  Essentially, Mike had two seperate cancers in his colon - one at each end.  When the polyp was removed, the cancer from that area was also likely removed.  Although there is no way to know that for sure at this point in time. 

Now comes another bizarre twist - If the lymph nodes had appeared to be clear on the x-ray & CT, the suggested course of action would have been to remove the entire colon.  By removing the entire colon - all of the cancer would also be removed.  However, because it is highly likely that the lymph nodes ARE involved, he is only having the orginally planned right hemi-coloectomy.  With the lymph nodes involved chemo is a definite reality.  If they weren't involved, then chemo would not necessarily be a part of the treatment.  The plan is that the chemo will not only attack any damaged lymph nodes, but also any remaining cancer cells from the site of the polyp.  So...take your pick A) you have to get chemo but also get to keep half of your colon or B) No chemo, but you lose your entire colon & have to change your lifestyle to be within arms reach of a bathroom for a very long time.  Not an easy decision when actually faced with it.

Surgery will be open as opposed to laparoscopic.  Dr Dachman wants to be able to see and feel everything including the surrounding organs and lymph nodes to be sure they don't miss anything.  If anything looks suspicious, it comes out.  Fine with me.

During the surgery on Monday a "Power Port" will be inserted under Mike's collar bone.  This will enable him to have, as he puts it, "drive through chemo".  We don't know a lot about it at this point, but it sounds as though he'll be able to do more at home rather than sitting at the hospital for treatment.

Following surgery Mike will be in the hospital for 4-6 days.  He gets an epidural that will last up to 36 hours (lucky guy), but he also gets a catheter (sorry, trying not to laugh).  We've decided after talking to Dr Dachman that we won't have the kids visit until Tuesday.  Monday he'll be out of it for the most part anyway so there's no point in getting the kids upset about Daddy being "sick".

Mike asked the doc how long it would have been before he would have been obviously sick enough to see someone if it hadn't been for his failed PT run.  Dr Dachman said within 90 days he would have known he needed to see a doctor.  By Christmas his liver would be fully metastasized.  And by this time next year, he wouldn't be with us.

There may be some people who wonder why God lets things like this happen.  Mike lives right, eats relatively healthy, is active, doesn't fit the 50 years and up demographic, and is a good person.  Up until now, I've always thought that it isn't God who "lets" things like this happen, faith in God is the reason we can get through the worst of the worst.  I haven't changed my mind on that one. Even with as bad as it might get over the next year, I HAVE to believe that God will help us through this.  I see God in so many things.  The relationship we have with our primary doctor & the surgeon, the friends who have jumped in to help us when we may not even know what help we need, our family who has always stood by us and will continue to stand by us even if they are hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Thank you to Pastor Todd for introducing me to this song:
"Holy Now" by Peter Mayer

When I was a boy, each week
On Sunday, we would go to church
And pay attention to the priest
He would read the holy word
And consecrate the holy bread
And everyone would kneel and bow
Today the only difference is
Everything is holy now

Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

When I was in Sunday school
We would learn about the time
Moses split the sea in two
Jesus made the water wine
And I remember feeling sad
That miracles don’t happen still
But now I can’t keep track
‘Cause everything’s a miracle

Everything, Everything
Everything’s a miracle

Wine from water is not so small
But an even better magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn’t one

When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
Like I’m swimming in a sea of it
It used to be a world half there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now

Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

Read a questioning child’s face
And say it’s not a testament
That’d be very hard to say
See another new morning come
And say it’s not a sacrament
I tell you that it can’t be done

This morning, outside I stood
And saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
Everything is holy now

It used to be a world half-there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now


  1. So now you know your enemy, you will arm your selves with God, with family, with friends, with knowledge and you will fight and you will come out the other side. Give yourself permission to scream, to cry ,to moan, to laugh, to love. Take advantage of all the love and offers of help you will receive, but don't hesitate to ask everyone to step back if you need some time for just you and your family, people will understand. It is a very rough road ahead for you and Mike and my heart breaks for you, you are to young to have to go through this. But youth and strength are two of Mike's most important weapons in this war. You will both be in my prayers each and everyday, asking for strength and God's grace for you both. Hang tough.

  2. You and Mike are both inspirational to me. I know you wouldn't choose to be, but you are in this circumstance and you are.

  3. Radical Acceptance my friend.... that is what you have right now.. and I am trying to be there with you... shit damn hell... and other various words come to mind... but as my mentor tells me... everything is as it should be...

    Look for the miracles my friend... cause they are there...

    love you