October 30th... after 4 days of waiting - 4 days of panic, fear, insomnia, no appetite (and they were just my own issues... I can’t even begin to imagine what was going on inside Kevin’s head). 4 days of putting on a poker face in front of Kevin and the kids so that no matter what, they believed everything was going to be ok. I’m not sure I was entirely convinced of that myself but I knew I had to be the one to hold it together for our family even though at times I had my own doubts. 4 days of listening to an entire team of doctors (lung specialists, oncologists, internal medicine doctors) constantly change their prediction of Kevin’s diagnosis.
They started calling it cancer by day 2 (I remember heading that word for the first time and how it literally took my breath away), before a single biopsy result had come back. I asked them how they came to that conclusion without any concrete evidence and the oncologist assured us he had seen in Kevin’s CT scan what he had seen in hundreds of other similar cases over the years. Their initial guess was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (85-93% cure rate) but each day that passed they seemed to predict a more severe and aggressive type of cancer with a higher chance of relapse and a lower chance of survival.
Every time they entered our room they would reiterate how very sorry they were for our family and remind us how severe Kevin’s case was - despite having no biopsy results to give us an official diagnosis.
Maybe I was in denial, maybe I had decided without actual results I wouldn’t believe anything they said, or maybe I was just trying my best to stay positive, but even after everything I truly believed there was no way this was actually going to turn out to be cancer. How could it be? How could my 39 year old strong and fit and healthy husband have cancer when weeks before his chest x-ray, EKG, and blood test results all came back normal? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. And then we got the call...
The results of Kevin's biopsy had finally come back and the oncologist was on his way up to give us the news. The feeling that came over me at that moment was one that I will never forget for the rest of my life. I felt like I was going to suffocate, throw up, cry, scream, and literally shit myself. It took the doctor about 45 minutes to finally make his way to our room but those 45 minutes felt like hours and hours of pure torture. I could hear my own heartbeat so loud throughout my entire body that it was hard for me to even hear the oncologist when he began reading us the results.
And then... our worst fear came true. Kevin was diagnosed with what we had been told the day before would be the absolute worst case scenario-... T- Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma (Leukemia now too). But you know what was strange... hearing those words come out of the doctors mouth and FINALLY having an actual diagnosis brought me this overwhelming sense of calm. The waiting game was over... my anxiety was almost instantly taken away and now I was ready to do everything in my power to make sure that my husband would beat this. I know this sounds crazy, but I KNOW he will overcome this because not only is he a fighter but he has me... and I NEVER give up. Anything in life I have set my mind to I have been lucky enough to accomplish... and this is no different. It’s a challenge I certainly hadn’t planned on at this point in my life- when my plate was already piled up as high as it could go- but I believe things happen for a reason.
I have a feeling Kevin and I are going to learn a lot about ourselves through this journey. We are going to be physically emotionally, and mentally drained to the max and tested beyond belief, but I truly believe both of us will come out of this horrible experience even stronger. In a weird way I feel like my whole life has been preparing me for this. The people I have met, the crazy experiences I’ve had, the challenges I’ve had to overcome... I believe it will all help play an important role in his fight to overcome this disease.
I’ve always had this feeling that I was put on this earth to help others and although this is certainly not what I had envisioned , I have an overwhelming feeling that this journey is going to ultimately help a lot of people. Don’t think I’m not scared shitless and that I don’t spontaneously burst into tears from time to time thinking about it. But it’s not because I have doubts that he will beat this. It’s more that my life as I know it has been completely turned upside down and it has been an overall difficult adjustment to make. Living in the hospital every night taking care of Kevin, away from my kids, barely getting any sleep, and not being able to really focus on anything besides making sure he is ok, hasn’t been easy these past few weeks. It’s been a HUGE adjustment for our family. We are all learning as we go, trying to make the best decisions given the shitty circumstances that have been thrown our way.
We both realize it’s going to be a long and difficult road to recovery, but there is no mountain too tall for either of us to climb. Neither of us have really ever questioned “why us” or “why our family” because we know this was meant to happen to us for a reason. Our hope is that we can turn this extremely challenging situation into an inspirational story for others with a happy ending... because who doesn’t love a happy ending!