Being blessed (or cursed) with an imagination that has long busted through the seams of normality, the dark is a space that can hold an embarrassingly excessive amount of perils. Albeit, the creatures of the night are usually confined to the constraints of my brain, there are times when the darkness that seeps into the portions of my heart is not of the imaginary sort. It is hard to be brave in the dark.
It has been several weeks now since we have learned that Kevin’s cancer has decided to make an encore performance on the center stage of our lives. The spotlight is once again on this tired old washed-up act long after what we thought would be its final curtain call. Sometimes, the darkness seems even deeper in contrast to the focus of a spotlight. I am afraid of the dark.
What we first thought was going to be a very simple outpatient procedure has snowballed into a much bigger undertaking. Our simple one act play has turned into a major production of sorts. As the treatment plan has shifted, the ground beneath us seemed to as well. Kevin and I will be departing for Houston’s MD Anderson early next week. He has several preoperative appointments that week and his surgery is scheduled for Monday, December 12th. The surgery will consist of the removal of bones in his jaw, some teeth, and a portion of his hard palate. In addition, they will be removing the cancer from his right sinus cavity, the cancerous lymph node and several other lymph nodes in his neck. They will use bone/tissue from an undetermined (as of yet) portion of his body—hip, forearm, thigh, to reconstruct the parts they are removing from his mouth/jaw.
He will need to stay in the hospital for about a week after surgery is complete and he must remain in Houston for a week after he is released for monitoring and follow-up. Barring any bumps along the way, our goal to be home for the holidays is marginal, but still a possibility. Being home for Christmas would be ideal, but having him healthy is essential. We don’t know the exact timeline, but after he recovers from surgery, we will return to Houston for more radiation. We have been promised that the radiation won’t be as brutal as last time. I am clinging to the validity of that promise.
Perhaps you don’t believe in miracles and subscribe only to the science and reality of that which can be proven without question. I assure you that miracles are real and goodness is alive and well in our world. There are only a handful of doctors in the world who have seen the type of cancer Kevin has and we are beyond blessed to have Kevin entrusted to a team of these brilliant minds. With that beings said, he is only able to access this treatment and fight this maggot of a disease because of the outpouring of love and support from an army of family, friends, community, and even strangers. I have no words to express the amount of gratitude and humble appreciation for everything. There is little peace in navigating this, but I can tell you there is no greater peace than feeling the burden of “how” being lifted by those who have absolutely no obligation to take on any of the weight. Those selflessly giving, praying, hoping, texting, calling, smiling, listening are his miracles…our miracles. Miracles are what makes the impossible possible…thank you for making it possible.
Yesterday I spoke to a dear friend who lost his wife to cancer. As I lamented about how I am unable to sleep at night and spoke briefly about my anxiety that is borderline DEFCON 2, he let me ramble. He then said, “I know what it feels like. I get it. Hang in there.” It really wasn’t so much what he said, but more the look in his eyes when he said it. A look of kindred spirit born of anxiety, worry, tears, and sleeplessness. A look that says: I have held my heart together with duct tape and caffeine; I have agonized watching my person suffer; I have known what it is like to not be able to take all the pain away. I am glad I have people who care enough to remind me that I am not alone.
Although I have resorted to an anxious insomniac, prone to tears and always in desperate need of a hug, the man who is actually living this nightmare is doing great. His attitude is on the verge of chipper. He is sleeping like a baby and soaking up moments with his family and friends. He is quick with a smile and hasn’t passed up an opportunity to eat, drink and be merry. He is the strongest person I know and I am so absolutely blown away by his positive view of what he is facing these next few months. He is my best buddy in the entire world. Unlike me, Kevin is brave. He isn’t afraid of the dark.
Please continue to lift Kevin up in your prayers and know there are no way to possibly quantify our gratitude. We simply are in awe. There are times when the darkness seeps into portions of my heart and I am paralyzed on how to possibly take even one step forward. Then, I am surrounded by a multitude holding the torches fueled by love and I find myself stepping into the light. Thank you.