We got the phone message while away on our trip to Portland. It was from Karen’s oncology office:
“Your test results were inconclusive. We need to take another look.”
Four weeks ago, I knew in my gut that it was not going to be good news.
I’m sad to report that the doctors have discovered that Karen’s cancer has recurred, two years post-surgery this very week. The marker in her blood was elevated, and a CT scan showed a suspicious area in her lower abdomen. The biopsy taken by laparoscopy proved our worst fears this week.
The area is small, about 2cm, much smaller than what was discovered previously. Regardless of size at this point it is not to be ignored or underestimated. A second round of chemotherapy treatments have been ordered and will proceed in a week and a half. We brace for the worst and hope for the best.
King Solomon reminded his readers that “it is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.” We take his wisdom to heart and hold the reality of the situation in one hand, while not releasing the chance of a more favorable outcome in the other. Anytime cancer recurs, the odds in your favor decrease. But odds are still odds and sometimes you beat the house.
It’s Uncertainty and all Its unanswered questions that brings the most weight. Excessive energy can be spent trying to solve an equation that does not have a solution. Instead I am trying to center in on what I do know and that is, none of us own tomorrow. Cancer or not, no one knows what tomorrow may bring and worrying about it can’t add a single hour to our life span. Living one day at a time sounds like cliché, until you are forced into a situation where that’s your best option.
We also hold onto what we learned two years ago, and that is we are incredibly blessed to have amazing family, friends and staff who literally will do anything for us. One friend asked me what he could do to help, and the first thing that reluctanly escaped my mouth was to clean my leaf-impacted gutters. Without hesitation he came right over and took care of it. These little unsuspected acts of kindness aren’t easily forgotten.
I write this on Karen’s behalf so she does not have to tell the story over and over again, and to give you permission to ask us about it when you see us. It’s our daily reality, so you’re not going to make us feel bad by talking about it. Thank you also for your prayers of support. My dad always said he would trade one of mine for two of his. And thanks to The Kaul, who put this song by The Decemberists on a mix tape for me. It’s nice to know that we don’t carry this yoke by ourselves.