A couple of months ago we were in Houston waiting in the lobby for Joel to get another CT scan. I was looking around at all the different people from all walks of life. People of every skin color, all ages, and all economic backgrounds. There was CEO's of company's sitting along side people that work behind the counter at fast food restaurants. People that are in the last few years of a long and fulfilled life by people in the very prime of theirs. Yet here we sit together in a lobby all having one thing in common-cancer. Never before had that been more clear until a couple we had an interaction with not long ago. The man spoke to Joel laughing softly and talking about electronics-he would not look at me. I could not have a conversation with the woman-all I could see were her eyes. She was wearing a burka. She kept her head down low and concentrated intently on the barium drink she had in front of her. A brief moment came when she caught my eye and I smiled at her. If ever possible I always try to have that moment of connection with any cancer patient I encounter. I want them to not feel like they are being gawked or stared at but rather here's a person who gives them a knowing and understanding smile. She looked at me every few minutes deep into my eyes and every time I would return hers with a smile again not knowing what was going on behind the thick dark blackness of her burka. Once her CT scan was done her husband got up to leave. She stood up to following him. Then she stopped right in front of me and leaned in ever so slightly as she touched my leg. I didn't know what to say except for wishing her the best for her journey and telling her God Bless. It was one of the strangest encounters of my life. Here was this woman that was worlds apart from me in age, culture, and belief system. We had nothing in common yet we had everything in common-cancer. With one look into her eyes I knew a million different thoughts, feelings and emotions that this woman has had because I have shared in those same feelings. Cancer is no respecter of persons. It was just another moment that I would have never had if we had not been a part of this journey. And it was another moment where my mind was blown at the places this illness has taken us. We FINALLY heard back from our MD Anderson doctor at 8:30 pm on Thursday night. By that time Joel openly shared our frustrations even anger at how long it had taken them to get back to us. Our doctor responded by giving us his personal cell phone number. Obviously we won't be taking advantage of that privilege and calling him ever 5 minutes!! (As tempting as that can be!) But should this happen again we now have a way to get ahold of him directly and we will definitely utilize that option. The doctor wants to keep Joel's chemo the same for this next cycle but he did come up with a new plan for how to administer his nausea drugs that he hopes will help to keep him from getting sick. We go back to Houston in 2 weeks and then we will re-evaluate things. Our doctor told us that while it may seem like he's trying to kill us, he really just wants to ensure that we never have to see him again. That Joel is cured for life. That is our greatest prayer as well so we are trying our best to endure. We would really appreciate your prayers that this new medicine helps and that he has a better cycle than the last one.
We want to say thank you to all of the people that have sent cards to us this last week! Many of them were from people that we didn't even know. We loved one that we got from a little girl that said there are lots of people praying for Joel and she hopes he "fills bedder". Love it! People never know how much it means to us that they are praying for us. I had 3 different people tell me this week that they pray for Joel every night. Wow! It always amazes me that people take the time to pray for us. They will never know how much it has meant to us that there prayers have covered our life.
Tomorrow-it is back to the grind for chemo round #5. After this week we will be down to 4 cycles. Sooooo close!
We love you all,