It was just this morning that I was (perhaps somewhat insensitively) teasing Andrew about living the life of leisure these past few days – riding his bike, taking walks, meditating, sleeping in, playing at the pool (ALL things he loves to do and quite frankly, deserves to be doing more than ever right now)…and he responded with, “sure, if only I didn’t have this crazy alien growing in my lung.” Good point, oh, wise one. And yet, truth be told, this week has been an entirely different one than last week. After a very intense and full few days in Houston at MDA, we arrived home in Boulder to the arms and love of our kids and melted a bit. We were cozy, somewhat cocooned and fairly inseparable. And then life resumed some normalcy. And we have coasted these past few days. Andrew was in great spirits, feeling strong and healthy, and I had been trying to take his lead, and working hard to feel much the same as he, not always successfully.
And then this afternoon, Andrew received a phone call from his surgeon’s nurse at MDA letting us know that his pathology slides hadn’t arrived from Boulder in a timely fashion and thus, their pathologists hadn’t read them, so the multidisciplinary review that was supposed to take place on Tuesday, didn’t. She then went on to say that Dr. Swisher was going to be out of town now and the next review that could take place was on August 26th. Ok, that works. Andrew was fine with this, as she assured him that she would keep September 4th in the calendar as HIS date of surgery. However, she also went on to share that upon further investigations of his Pet Scan, there was some concern that his lung cancer is not “in situ”, and thus, not contained. What this means in terms of surgery is that on the day of his surgery, while he is on the table, his team will remove a lung lymph node and biopsy it on the spot. If it is positive, his wedge resection will in that moment turn into a full lobectomy. If it is negative, the surgery will proceed as planned. The biopsy is also cultured in a way that it will have an immediate result, as well as a 5 day result (I assume much like the strep tests we are so used to, rapid and 3 day growth). I could go on and on about the what if’s and the potential outcomes, yet the bottom line is that the wind was a bit knocked out of our sails again today. Because God is holding us all so tenderly right now, we were together alone when this call came in, something we have not had all week since returning from Houston. We crumbled a bit, were quiet for some time and then began talking and processing the sheer reality of Andrew’s/our situation. Perhaps we had gotten complacent this week and assumed that the information we had received in Houston was the gospel. Yet, of course it was not, nor can we expect his doctors to know everything. Medicine is not an exact science…we know that rationally, yet were really hanging our hats on the emotional belief that all is ok. I won’t speak for Andrew and how he took today’s news, yet I can share that we were quite a bit quieter this afternoon and perhaps a little more reflective, again. This is certainly not a bad thing. Its timely, and appropriate — just not as easy as coasting.
Of course, I remain in a place of optimism and faith. That’s easy for me to say, I guess. I have waves of incredible guilt that Andrew is the one experiencing this bout with cancer, and that it is not me. And thus, I am steadfast in my love and care and nurturing of him, and our three precious children. He is making it so easy for me to love him so deeply and unconditionally.