So here's the whole truth and nothing but the truth about where life has taken us the past year. About 6 weeks before I had my son a routine visit for Joel brought up the words that you never want to hear "area of concern" this time on his lungs. I will never forget sitting in that doctor's office, huge and pregnant, and hearing those words. It was terrifying. They waited a few weeks and tested him again-this time the "area of concern" was larger. 2 days before I had my son we went to the hospital to have the area biopsied. And a few days after our son was born (July 5th) the devastating news was confirmed-the cancer had returned. The very next day Joel had surgery to have his port put in so he could undergo chemo. We had a baby that was less than a week old and Joel could not even hold him for 2 days because of this surgery. He did chemo from that July on all of the way until this January. The tumor was responding and everything was looking good so the doctor told us to take a three month break and see where we stood. After the break was over tests revealed that the cancer had grown back to the same size it was pre-chemo. Devastating news once again. We have taken a little break the last month to pray, get several different opinions, do some drastic dietary changes, and make our final decision about how to proceed. Upon much thought and consideration we have decided to go forward with the surgery that the doctors have recommended to us to remove the tumor. I believe that cancer is a disease that involves the whole body and that you cannot just cut it out and it will go away. But I do believe, that for a tumor this size, surgery is the most prudent way for us to proceed. After the surgery we will continue on with some health and lifestyle changes that we have started and move forward from there. I know at the beginning of our cancer journey 3 years ago we were extremely open with everything that we walked through. This time around we chose to do things differently for a few reasons. A big reason was our son. I made a vow to him when he was less than a week old and asleep in my arms, that I would never let cancer take away from his first year of life. That has been a difficult vow to keep with all we have gone through, but I've fought hard to make it happen. But I didn't want every blog to focus on cancer because Lord knows how much of our every day to day life is about it. I wanted to enjoy my first year of being a Mom and I didn't want cancer to rob us from that. Another reason was his job situation. Many of you know that the first time we went through this Joel lost his job. He was adamant he didn't want that to happen again so we kept it quiet. How amazing is it that through this entire time of going through chemo he did not miss one day of work? It was difficult to watch how hard it was on him but he will never know how inspiring it was to see.
We have decided to open up now because, honestly, we need your prayers. This surgery is a big one-bigger than the first one was, and that one was a big one. He will be in ICU for 3 days and in the hospital for a week. They are trying to schedule him for surgery this very week. We are waiting to hear for sure what day that will be but they have told us we will probably only have one day notice.
I hate this disease. I hate it. We thought we had it licked the first time and would never have to face this again. In the past 3 years we have spent over 15 months of our lives living with chemo and now going through a fifth surgery (port surgeries included). But we are fighting for his life-and we will not give up. Do I still believe that God is with us? Now more than ever. I know that He has not left us or forsaken us. I may not understand why we have had to travel such a long road to get to Joel's healing-but I know that we will get there. Please, please be positive with us, believe with us and pray for us.
When we were in the prep room for Joel's biopsy we had another "coincidence" happen. You see I believe coincidences are God's way of manifesting and we have had several of these encounters happen just when we need them. The nurse who was prepping Joel for his biopsy sat with us and told us that everything was going to be ok. She had had cancer herself in 3 different areas of her body. She had been through countless rounds of chemo and countless surgeries. She shouldn't have made it but here she was today alive and well. She encouraged us to keep pressing forward, keep hoping and keep believing. That is what we have done and will be unrelenting in continuing to do so. She inspired us that day-as have many others.
Thank you for always loving on us and caring enough to be a part of our journey. And, as always, we want to see the greatness of God on display on our lives-and we know that He has amazing things in store for our family. The best for this family is yet to be.
We will let you know more details as we know them.
We love you.