You find yourself so many different places in life. Sometimes the place you find yourself is better than you ever imagined, more beautiful, just all around better. And sometimes you’re in that place where you wish you could pinch yourself, wake up from the reality of the nightmare that seems to be unfolding. It’s darker than you’ve ever known, harder and yet somehow, as oddly as it may be, more peaceful.
I have wanted to “wake up” lately. To pinch myself, let my day start like any normal day, and forget the nightmare. It started a few months ago, soon after Wes was done planting this spring, that he started mentioning a pain in his leg. It started keeping him awake at night and we thought it was just a muscle, or maybe from sitting too much in the tractor. But it didn’t get better, even after going to the chiropractor a few times a week and favoring that leg. Finally, the end of June, we ended up at a muscle and spine doctor, where they thought it was a pinched nerve and scheduled a MRI just to confirm it. What they found concerned them and they sent him to the hospital to do another MRI with contrast and figure out what they were seeing.
No one likes the unknown. Not when it comes to medical terms and the what if’s that keep you up at night. They told us they see something on his spine, a mass of some kind. So we did more CT scans, MRI’s, we did the biopsy, so much blood work and we waited. And we waited. And you know how it goes when its medical questions that you need answers for. You wait and you wait some more. For results. For answers. For the nightmare to go away.
We got in touch with Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. where they took on Wes’ case and scheduled him in right away. We heard the word cancer. That word that has changed millions of lives. Making havoc and nightmares, creating empty places in families and lives and changing so much for so many people. We heard so many scary things, words we didn’t understand, and couldn’t pronounce, possible diagnoses and what kind it could be and where it could be and what it could be doing. And so many times our minds went wild. Imagining the worst, and fearing so much. We wanted to run away, only to find out, this time there was no running away. It was in our lives. There was no getting away.
So we prayed. And we cried tears. And we gave ourselves up. And hung on tight. And we try to live with open hands. Letting go is painful. Releasing our grip on what we think we own is hurtful. The giving up of what we want, our dreams, our goals, what we want from life and how we want it to go. The number of years we want to live. We think we know what is best. And we hang on, telling God what we think He needs to hear. But He knows. The God who is good. And He is. He is good. And i say it, “God is good” when my life is good, when it’s easy to say. But when your life gets turned upside down, it’s a minute by minute decision, a little bit like breathing, you say it through the pain, repeating to yourself over and over, “He is good, He is good, He is good.” And before you know it, your heart is saying it and you believe it in your deepest part. God is good. He has been good. And i know He will still be good at the end of our story.
So many decisions come with the word “cancer”. And it’s overwhelming and finally you just want someone to say how it should be done and tell you to do it. So many opinions, so many options. So much to decide. Wes was diagnosed with Large B-cell Lymphoma. A cancer that starts in the lymph nodes, attacking the immune system. He also has a tumor on his spine, which is what was pinching the nerve causing the pain. It is a very treatable cancer, and we were given hope to Wes being cancer free again. So after much prayer and open doors, we chose the treatment Wes would take, and that we would be moving to FL so he could take his treatment at Mayo Clinic.
We have been in FL for a week now. Renting a house close to Mayo. And while it has been overwhelming, and some days feel dark and unknown, we are getting settled in. Wes started chemo about 3 weeks ago. And we have seen a lot of those results this week, with him losing his hair and feeling “not so normal”. He just came through the chemo treatment where he was hospitalized for 3 days. My parents came and spent a week with us over this time and we’re so grateful for family that gives support and stands with us through these times. We are so grateful too for the medical team at Mayo, they have treated us so well already, explaining the steps, answering our hundred and twelve questions, calling us to see how he is feeling, and we have felt so cared for. And our little family is together, which we are so grateful for. And God is good. Meeting our needs, bringing caring neighbors and people into our lives as we find our little place in this big city.
So this is where we are right now, some days we feel overwhelmed at this journey. It looks dark and so unknown. Other days we see rays of sunshine streaming through. We know that God is faithful and will be with us each step of the way. As of now, our plans are to be here in FL for 6 months, which is the length of his treatment plan. After that, the Lord only knows where we will find ourselves. But we are hanging on to hope and claiming God’s grace and strength for this journey we are handed. And know this, that wherever you find yourself on your journey, many of you are going through deeper valleys, facing harder mountains, God is a good God, He loves you. Even though life isn’t often how we would choose it. Someday I know we will understand. And I pray that you feel and know of His love for you.
We are writing here to keep you updated as we journey through this. I can’t guarantee updates a lot but we will certainly do our best. Wes has another chemo treatment on Thursday (Sept. 21), which is done as an outpatient procedure. Although he has had some nausea, it hasn’t been anything too dramatic and we hope it keeps going like that. So pray with us that his body would respond to the treatments and that he could keep feeling pretty normal through this next cycle of treatments.
Thank you for your many texts, phone calls, gifts, for your love and support. We have been overwhelmed by your kindness & care. But most of all thank you for your prayers. Please don’t stop lifting us up to Jesus.