My dad had a saying when I was younger; “Son, into each life, a little rain must fall.” That’s a nicer way than saying “No one gets through life without having to take a bite of the shit sandwich.Our portion came in the form of a diagnosis this week that my wife has ovarian cancer.

This is the “worse” part of the, “for better or worse” promise we made to each other 20 years ago.

Last Wednesday, during her annual medical exam, her OB detected a mass in her lower abdomen and investigated further with an ultrasound. He found a large mass (12.5cm) attached to her right ovary and quickly scheduled surgery for Monday morning to have it removed. We waited three days on the lab report and discovered Thursday that the mass that was removed from Karen’s right ovary was indeed cancerous, showing two types of diseased cells. One he described as less aggressive, the second more so.

His advice to us was to focus on the positive aspects of this discovery, the first being how early this was detected. There is microscopic evidence in two areas of remaining cancer cells, but he added that chemotherapy does its best work at this level. She will meet with an oncologist in two weeks to determine the next level of treatment.

In the initial minutes after the doctor left the room, we sat in silent disbelief, trying to get our head around what exactly this will mean. Karen’s first response was, “I guess I’m not the first woman to find out she has cancer.”

How instinctive our nature is to take solace in community.

I remember when Karen first became pregnant 20 years ago, and miscarried that pregnancy while only about 8 weeks along. As a young couple, we were obviously sad and uncertain about what had just happened. Then, a surprising number of women came to her side with a similar story, “That happened to me, too.” It didn’t make the pain go away, but knowing that there were others who knew what this felt like and could articulate it was more than helpful; it was incredible.

At this point there are more questions than answers. Karen will be off her feet for a few weeks and away from the restaurant. Thanks to the many of you who have sent flowers, email and text messages saying that you care. We do have a good community.

A New Chapter

9 thoughts on “A New Chapter

  • May 28, 2010 at 11:39 am
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    Kevin and Karen,
    I am an 8 year Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor – I know how scary that C word is and how dark the road in front of you must seem. Have faith in yourselves, have faith in a power greater than you, and know that I, as well as the rest of the BVH family will be thinking of you.
    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth Hancock

  • May 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm
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    Best wishes to you, Karen and your family during this tough time.

  • May 28, 2010 at 4:53 pm
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    I will be praying for you all! and you're absolutely right…we were designed for community!

  • May 28, 2010 at 5:01 pm
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    Karen and Kevin – As you may know, I'm a 9 yr. breast cancer survivor and as Elizabeth said, that C word is very scary. Thank God you've had early detection, and know this: with all the great medical technology out there, cancer is curable and there is light at the end of the tunnel you feel yourselves in right now. You are in my thoughts and prayers….and if there is anything I can help you with, please let me know. All of BVH will be thinking of you!!! Love you, Karen!!!!!
    Dolly

  • May 28, 2010 at 8:32 pm
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    Karen – although not a survivor, I've learned through seeing two close friends & a family member go through treatment in last year, that some days – you would rather talk about anything but "how you feel" or "how your treatment was", etc. Always know there's a group next door that you can lean on & talk about whatever!

    Kevin – sometimes it's the spouse who is sometimes forgotten – and is also bearing a huge burden watching their loved one go through this & have to keep everything else going at the same time. Remember – there are several of us next door that you can lean on as well.

    Our prayers & thoughts are with you both! Kristine

  • May 29, 2010 at 1:05 pm
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    Dad was right about the shit sandwich. The metaphoric "bread" of life makes the bite tolerable. From reading your blog, it seems as your family knows how to embrace the simple gifts of our daily bread. I am hoping the support of family, friends, and community keeps your spirits lifted as the medical community does their best to help Karen's recovery.

  • May 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm
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    Kevin and Karen-

    I haven't been by here lately, but Karen has been on my mind and so I've been praying but I didn't know any details. I'll keep praying. We're having dinner with friends tonight at B&C. We love it there…because of the two of you.

  • June 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm
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    Karen and Kevin, Just heard the news, thoughts and prayers are with you both during this difficul time. You are such wonderful people and I have been blessed to get to know you both. Hope to see you soon. Peace!

  • June 25, 2010 at 2:21 am
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    As a brother in a remote town I offer my support and prayer as you fight this illness. It is great that your community is surrounding you, and as a member of the greater community of Christ I want to stand with you as well. Be encouraged, and may the strength and peace of Christ sustain you during this time.

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