I do not consider myself a writer, but God has given me a story that is worthy of sharing. At first I considered this blog for the purpose of simply having a place to put all of my thoughts. A place to have a record of some of the things God was showing me through this unforeseen journey. I did a little of that and then I stopped. The timing just wasn’t right and I was more comfortable writing my day to day thoughts in the physical journal that had been given to me when this all started. Now however, nearly 16 months into this journey that is yet to be completed, it is time.
So, let’s fill in some gaps…
Before cancer, my husband and I were moving through life. Our family was growing and we were enjoying parenting our kids through these early stages of life. Each of our kids has a very distinct personality (as most kids do), so there is a lot of life in our house. Our first child rules the roost, so she thinks, and very much lives up to her birth order. Our middle and third children, however, do not go along with her plans and are comedians through and through. We were just beginning to see them each begin to blossom and give us a hint of who they were going to grow up to be.
My husband (Robby) was working at our church as he had for years before we had gotten married. I was working at an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Clinic and feeling like I was getting into the groove of what God had called me to do. We had been praying about our long term future and sensed that a change was coming. That fall (2015), we began to sense that Robby was to consider going back to school unto a drastic career change. He had been in ministry for years and we knew that was something that would be a part of our lives forever. However, it seemed that God wanted to add something to ministry, grow us together, and expand what He was calling us to in the future. It became clear that Robby was to pursue Medical School. This was a shock to say the least, as it seemed nearly impossible at the time. How? When? We have 3 small children! How? Well, God has ways we know not of. After praying and getting much counsel, he began to transition out of his jobs and then signed up for classes to begin his prerequisites in January of 2016.
Then, December 26, 2015 came. Then the diagnosis. Now, both of us were jobless because Robby had just transitioned to be a full time student and my treatment regimen was too intense for me to work. The plans we thought God had laid before us seemed derailed. Instead of starting classes full-time, he moved into Vanderbilt with me, in a sense, and we walked through the first part of this cancer battle hand in hand. He fought for me, when I couldn’t fight for myself, because we both knew and had confidence that God was and already had been fighting for us leading up to this moment, paving the way and preparing us for what was to come. To read more details of how this all began please see the post The start of this journey .
So instead of me going to work and Robby going to school each day, our schedule began to look quite different. At the completion of my first round of inpatient chemo, we were able to come home, which happened to be on a Monday. However, we would have to be back in the morning for whole brain radiation. I had only completed 3 treatments at that time, so there were 12 left to go. So each weekday morning, we would leave for Vanderbilt, get my treatment and then come home. Then I had to be back again Friday for my first outpatient chemo treatment. Then the weekend off. Back Monday-Friday for more radiation, and then Friday I “got” to stay and start my second inpatient round of chemo. Thus the pattern went, from the beginning of January until the middle of May. Robby took me to Vanderbilt every….single…time…..and spent every night at Vanderbilt for what we will later come to call phase 1, since May did not end up being the end of my journey. You can find more on that in Happy Thanksgiving!
So that was our new life. That was our new rhythm. Our kids went to my sister’s house every other weekend while we were in the hospital. They had toothbrushes, clothes, and everything they needed to live there. They had 2 houses during that season. It was difficult. They would come to the hospital at least once each inpatient stay to see us, but we found that to be tough on them as well. At least for the middle one. She just didn’t understand the back and forth. God’s grace was there. Through time, they all became accustomed and I believe actually looked forward to their weekends with their cousins. To them it was just extended sleep overs. We would joke that we were going to our all-inclusive weekend getaway, every other weekend, but it definitely didn’t feel like a getaway.
We continued that pattern until the middle of May, when I was first declared to be in remission. It had actually taken less time than they had originally projected, so we were incredibly thankful. At that point, we thought we were out of the woods and I just had to take the time to recover. Little did we know….that was just the first leg of this marathon.
(This was the first weekend after finishing chemo, running a kids 2.5k with my daughter)