I guess now is a good time as any to share our news. This is a long one. So mix up a smoothie and hunker down!
Last Tuesday, the 3rd, Stew and I were told he has cancer. I know, I know, he’s only 30, we’re so healthy, we just had a baby, etc. It all went through our minds too!
I’ll start from the beginning. Stew has had a rib sticking out for about 6 months now. We just assumed it was from doing construction, but he couldn’t remember anything specific that he did to hurt it. So, we went to our doctor. She sent him for X-Rays, which showed nothing abnormal, and then to a chiropractor to manipulate it back into place. It just didn’t want to go back into place! So, about 2 weeks ago, Stew found an orthopedic doctor who specializes in the thoracic area of the spine. She said he might need surgery to attach the rib to his sternum again. So she sent him for a CT scan to see exactly what was going on.
Stew asked me to come with him to the follow up because I think surgery is a LAST resort, unless it’s a life or death situation. So he wanted me to give her a piece of my mind! I ended up meeting him at Roper St. Francis downtown and had to bring Turner along. So the three of us met in the parking garage and walk into the building. Dr. Kline met us in the waiting room, grabbed the CT scan disc and went to review it. She said she would meet us in the room once she took a look at the disc.
After a few minutes, Dr. Kline and some other woman walked into the room. I assumed this other woman was just one of those shadow doctors who was training or something. So, Dr. Kline started explaining that the CT scan showed that he actually had a cancerous tumor in his chest wall that had pushed his rib out of place. The tumor went above and below that place we were feeling as well. We have NO idea exactly what she said after that. Basically, all we heard was cancer, surgery, chemo, and radiation. Stew just sat there, I cried, and Turner giggled to himself while he chowed down on his happy puffs. It turned out that the random woman in the room was our “oncology nurse navigator”. We had a cancer nurse! Was this really happening!?!?
Dr. Kline set up a PET Scan last Thursday and a biopsy last Friday. The PET scan was a 2 hour process. My mom watched Turner while we went. The nurse for the PET scan came out and explained exactly how the test worked. He wasn’t able to eat anything before the test. This made his cells very hungry and ready to eat! Once he got there, they injected him with a radioactive sugar that would act as food for the cells. Any cells that were cancerous would gobble up this food and it would show up as a collection of the radioactive sugar in those cancerous areas. This would show exactly where the cancer cells were throughout the body and how much it has or hasn’t spread. I was doing really well and taking all of the information in like a champ. Then she told me that Stew would be radioactive until about 11:00 that night and he couldn’t be around Turner since he was so little and his cells were still developing. I BURST into tears. Somehow, bringing Turner into the mix made it harder to handle. The nurse leapt out of her chair and hugged me so tightly and started praying right then and there. She said, “God is in the business of performing miracles, and He is here holding you. He won’t let you go. He won’t abandon you.” And I know this is true. This is what Stew and I held on to the past week. This prayer is what got us through these past 6 days of wondering, and crying, and hoping.
After the scan, Stew couldn’t go in our house (Thank God for Gigi watching Turner ALL day), so we met our pastor for lunch just to chat and pray. Then we went to Luke and Suzy’s apartment (Stew’s brother and wife). Stew took a nap while I filled Suzy in on the day. The four of us went to Sullivan’s Island for dinner and a walk on the beach. We just wanted to keep busy and stay as positive as possible.
Friday was the biopsy. This wasn’t as long as the other test. We were only there for about 3 hours. Then we were able to go home and snuggle our baby. While they prepped him, I sat in my own little waiting room. At least I had a beautiful view of the marina!
The doctor took Stew back for the procedure. It was only about 20 minutes long. Then we just had to wait for about an hour to make sure he was good to go!
The hardest part this past week was the WAITING. We would be ok during the day because we were busy. We hung out with friends and family, and we prayed our butts off. We have never felt more strengthened by God in our lives! Our follow up appointment is scheduled for this Tuesday (tomorrow) at 9:30am. We just told ourselves we wouldn’t know anything until then and tried to push it out of our minds.
Yesterday, we went to church and then had lunch at my mom’s house. We left Turner with her and my stepdad so we could take a ride to World Market and walk around. We parked the car, and my phone rang. It was Dr. Kline!!! She had the results from both tests and wanted to tell us. The cancer was ONLY in that chest wall area. It originated there (which in the cancer world is GOOD NEWS)!!! It hadn’t spread throughout his body. It was Hodgkins Lymphoma which was also good news, because it’s easy to treat! NO SURGERY!!! Stew will have to go through chemo. She said this is the BEST outcome we could have hoped for. THANK YOU JESUS!!!
We also did some research on the Alkaline Diet, which we started a few days ago. Dr. Kline gave us the OK on this. The way it works is by starving the cancer cells and killing them. They feed off of glucose and thrive in an acidic environment. So, if you kill their food source, they die! I am doing it with him as added support. So, you’ll see A LOT of alkaline recipes in the coming months.
The reason I’m sharing is because I can’t possibly keep such a life changing event from you. I’m also sharing this so you live life. Love everyone in your life. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted! It’s amazing how last week our hardest decision was which flavor ice cream to buy, and this week, we’re meeting our oncologist to make a plan for cancer treatment. Through this all, we are still so thankful, because we KNOW it could be much worse. The sky is a little bluer today and the grass a little greener. And for some added celebration, here’s some Turner love!