All along we have had so many people praying for us. Family, friends, people we barely know & people we have never even met from all around the country. There is a lot talked about regarding the "power of prayer". I guess now we can add to those stories...
So, I go home to take a shower after talking to the docs at the hospital when Mike calls. I'm thinking, I haven't been gone that long, but maybe he's already been discharged. Instead, Mike tells me that Dr Dachman just called to tell him that of the 30 lymph nodes that were removed on Monday every last one came back clear! Are you kidding me?!?! I told Mike I would be right there. I grabbed my purse & sunglasses and told my mother-in-law I was heading back. She asked, "without drying your hair?" Yup. And I was outta there. Fortunately, the hospital is only about 2 minutes from the house so I make it no time. Park, speed walk through the lobby, run up the stairs and speed walk down the hall to the "family lounge" at the end of the hall. Mike is sitting there grinning at me.
On June 25 when Dr Dachman said, "I'm sorry, Mike, but you have colon cancer" my world turned upside down with disbelief. In that other sentence from Mike, "All 30 nodes were clear", there is another feeling of disbelief. I MUCH prefer this one.
It's weird how two completely unexpected announcements can have a similar yet so incredibly different effect. Shock, disbelief & fear vs. shock, disbelief & hope.
Two oncologists, the surgeon, our doctor and both of us believed the lymph nodes were involved. This thing had been growing for 3-5 years, several nodes were swollen on the CT scan, enlarged and hard when Dr Dachman held them after removing them, yet when biopsied were clean. Lymphatic involvement was so certain that the Power Port for chemo had been installed during surgery.
That said, it doesn't mean this story is over. There was the polyp that tested positive, which was located in the lower part of Mike's colon. Ideally, all of it was removed on June 25, but there just really isn't anyway to be positive of that.
On July 27 we will meet with the oncologist to determine where we go from here. Could be that we do nothing, could be oral chemo or it could be the regular chemo we were prepared for already. Honestly, we're more afraid of doing nothing than of Mike having traditional chemo. If we do nothing & there is even one cell left hiding somewhere, it will likely continue to grow. However, if we go ahead with chemo we will be able to kill anything that might still be hiding out. Using chemo proactively feels much less threatening that having to use chemo to save your life.
Earlier on in this adventure I hoped I would be strong enough to handle all of this. Obviously, there were moments, even days, of feeling frustrated, afraid, etc. Honestly, overall it hasn't seemed as difficult as I imagined it would be. I'm not sure what that says about me, but I just did what I wanted and needed to do. Of course I had a TON of help from my parents & my in-laws & friends, not to mention the emotional support & a husband with the most positive attitude & best sense of humor of anyone else I know.
On Monday we'll go back to see Dr Dachman so Mike can have the staples removed. Until then the challenge will be for him to be able to rest when he needs to and to manage the pain. More than anything we are both looking forward to a much deserved good night's sleep.
He really IS going to be OK.