The Next Thing… (And There is Always A Next Thing)
In the past week through numerous conversations I have discovered that there is no real quality way to deliver bad news, so here goes:
I have cancer.
We got the first call early Thursday morning last week. I had been through multiple biopsies, so many blood tests, CT scans and ultrasounds and finally they were able to tell me what all the nurses and doctors had been hinting around at: the tumor that had shown up on my neck was malignant. Then yesterday we found out more details – It had spread through my body and is fairly aggressive.
Allison and I had discussed this as a possibility but we had also held out hope that God would heal and that it would just be a weird lump and we would all shrug and laugh and be all, “that was crazy, right? Oh well, enjoy your completely healthy life” and we would go on our merry way. But alas, it’s cancer and it’s aggressive. And there are few things that can prepare you for what’s next. I barely remember that first phone call over a week ago other than the words “malignant” and “chemo” and I don’t remember a lot about yesterday’s appointment but “aggressive” and “chemo starts Monday.”
Here is a quick run down of how this all happened (complete with pictures!):
Day one: get home from church and unbutton my shirt and have Allison ask “what’s wrong with your neck” to which I scoffed at because nothing is wrong with my neck, but then I touched my neck and was thought “hmmm. Something is definitely wrong with my neck.” Literally out of nowhere, this had appeared:
So we called the doctor and he was out of town. So I got to see a different guy on Tuesday. From there we went through the aforementioned blood tests, ultrasounds, and multiple biopsies. The first biopsy they let me stay awake for when they shoved a big needle in my neck and took some tissue out. That was a great day and no cuss words were said at all. The second biopsy they put me under and gave me a badass scar.
Told you it was badass.
That brings us to where we are today. Scared. Anxious. Ready to beat this. This place is going to be an important part of lives going forward.
I start chemo on Monday. And we go from there. We know very little and we still have a lot of questions. But here is what I do know:
Allison is strong and loving and there aren’t enough words to express how incredible she has been through this. She has juggled her dynamic career and huge opportunities at work with being with me for appointments and hospital visits and she has thrived at loving me so very well. I’m so very grateful for her. There aren’t enough words for her. She and I process differently and we both will do our best to keep you updated on our blogs. You can find her’s here.
We know that we have some incredible people in our lives both near and far who surround us and have loved us well. Whether it’s been wine showing up on our porch or a care package for surgery or people who let us come over and not make us talk about anything deep, or drop everything because we need a distraction so we aren’t stuck at home in our own thoughts, random texts or a self-appointed chair of our fun committee – we have amazing people who love us well. And chances are you are a part of that. So thank you.
We know that God is faithful. We know that His Word is true and it’s deep and it resonates and we believe fully in the words of Isaiah that God is my healer. And he will heal. He may use chemo and some surgery but healing is healing.
We know we are going to need your encouragement as we go forward. We need stories of hope and healing. We need verses to cling to in dark moments. We need game nights and and funny movies when we don’t even mention cancer. We need distractions and we need people to engage in the hard times as well – people who sit with us when we are grieving or in pain. We need people to help mow the lawn and sit with me in the hospital or who take my wife out for a girls night. We need books and netflix recommendations and things to keep our minds distracted and going.
We know that you can treat us like we are still Adam & Allison. We still have personalities and the world didn’t shift it’s rotation to swirl around us during this time. Please tell us what’s going on with you – what are you finding joy in right now, what you are frustrated with at work, what you find funny, what you are reading, listening to, all that stuff. This isn’t our defining story, it’s merely a part of our story so please let us know how we can be praying for you, how we can be encouraging and serving and loving on you. We need our own outlets in the midst of this. We are still the same people and we don’t need pity, we need community. And Sour Patch Kids.
I know that I don’t want you to shave your head. Several people have already offered to join me, but the truth is, that’s silly. We will all discover just how lumpy and ugly my head is, so if you have hair, flaunt the hell out of your glorious mane and we will compare conditioners when mine returns.
We know this is a season. We know we are praying a lot and we are finding so much to be thankful for so please please please let us know what we can be praying for you for as well.
We know we don’t want you making assumptions. If you have ideas or want to ask, go ahead. But be graceful with us in how fast we respond. We don’t want people to think “oh, someone already thought of that for them” or “I don’t know what to even do so I’ll just let someone else.” We want this to be like every other aspect of our lives – full of the people and community who mean so much to us so please engage with us. Some friends have asked us to create lists – amazon wish lists and other ways to help out and if you are interested in seeing those lists, be sure to ask and we will get them to you.
We know we don’t need to hear stories of those you have lost to cancer. We are emotionally on edge and no matter how well-meaning the stories, we are looking to be surrounded by stories of hope and joy. We are not blinding ourselves to the reality of cancer and to the toll it has effected on almost every one of us. We refuse to bury our heads ostrich style to the realities of this world, but we also know what we need during this time. Cancer has won a lot of battles, but this will not be one of them.
We know this is a hard way to find out for a lot of you. We are sorry we couldn’t have conversations with each of you, but we found out the details yesterday and while I wish we could all sit on our back deck under the lights with a glass of wine, we aren’t afforded the time. Monday is coming quick. But I know I am grateful for whatever role you have played in our story so far.
We know that we have no idea what we are getting ready to engage in, but we know that we have a faithful God and a dynamic community so we will walk faithfully forward. This has been an incredibly hard month and a half and it feels like we are facing a steep, uphill climb. But we know that a lot of you love us and love us well. So thank you.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for being our friends. Thank you.