“Hardships often prepare ordinary people, for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis
Bryan had his second chemo treatment yesterday which means we are 1/6 of the way done! I will take any excuse to celebrate being partially done 🙂 I haven’t updated much specifically here, because, honestly, so far Bryan seems to be doing well. I know that it is definitely still early and the cumulative effects of treatments may add up, but for the moment while he is not quite himself, he is doing better than we thought he would be.
He has taken anti-nausea medication a couple of times so far, and his appetite has stayed fairly normal. While Bryan is definitely more tired than normal, the fatigue isn’t causing him to be unable to do his usual activities, but it is still noticeable at times. He has been working pretty much as if his life was normal, although some slightly less longer days than what he would usually do. We are so thankful that his job is flexible, because without that, this would have made everything even more difficult. For the moment, we have managed to avoid all of the terrifying side effects that they warn you about before you start your first treatment. We are praying that that remains the case and that he continues to handle the treatments and side effects with as much ease as possible.
The treatments themselves, have gone smoothly other than some unplanned waiting time as they figured out scheduling and orders and all of that. Those of you who know Bryan, will not be surprised to know that he has already been making friends with the nurses in the day hospital, and they are getting to know him. I love watching Bryan interact so joyfully with the people around him during treatment, because even in the midst of this struggle, he is still doing what he does best — connecting with people. These nurses are seeing the light of Jesus shine right through him, and that is so, so awesome. The treatments are long, but they have gone smoothly, and we are really thankful for that.
His labs yesterday did show that his white cell count is pretty low, and so risk of infection is now probably going to stay high for him through the rest of treatment. It is really tricky to find a balance between isolating yourself, yet still living. Not to mention, having two kids ages three and under make germs almost impossible to completely avoid. The first oncologist we met with, referred to kids as “little petri dishes.” Gross, but probably true! We are taking greater measures with hand washing for everyone as well as sanitizing what we can and avoiding others that we know are sick, but we are also just praying hard that he will avoid getting sick.
While the physical side effects are definitely not nonexistent, our biggest struggle this past two weeks has been mental and emotional. I have so much respect for the spouses of people who have gone through cancer with their other half. I do not mind in the least picking up extra responsibilities because I love Bryan more than life, but it has definitely taken a bit of toll on our family. This past holiday weekend was spent doing some solo parenting and celebrating, and that was tough. Tough for me, and also tough for Bryan who would have rather been a part of everything, instead of resting at home. I think it has been a natural instinct for me to just take off running with all of this, and in some ways, that’s been really good. I am planner and an organizer, so as my sister said to me, this has been my “moment to shine”, in some ways. I am positive that God gifted me with the skills I need right now, to help Bryan.
However, all of the running around and scheduling and additional chores taken on, have also taken away time for me to process everything. I had a moment last week when I was with my mom and sisters (sans kiddos and husband), and in that quiet, it was like everything all of a sudden hit me. I haven’t really had the time or energy to think and process, and sitting there at dinner with them, talking about my husband…my husband who has cancer…it just really, really sunk in. And, my heart just hurts for him. I never could have imagined while we were holding hands and saying our vows less than five years ago, that here I would be — sitting next to him while he gets chemotherapy. This situation would have never crossed my mind. Honestly, it gets hard to even go on social media sometimes and see everyone enjoying normal fun activities with their family while we are planning chemotherapy treatments and keeping Bryan as safe and comfortable as possible. This is hard stuff!
The further I take these thoughts, though, the further I see myself sinking away from the truth. We have so much hope. The God who died on the cross for our salvation has already walked this path for us. He has already suffered it all. While it doesn’t make our current struggles any less real, it does give us such great peace.
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
See? A guarantee that we will have trouble. And while I hope that this is the worst of what we deal with for now, that isn’t even a guarantee. But the God of all, is telling me that I can take heart. I can relax. I can have peace, in the midst of such uncertainty. He has overcome it all and I am so thankful that we can rest in that truth.
So, where are we at now? We have ten treatments remaining and while it’s less than twelve, it still seems so daunting. We would appreciate your continued prayers for Bryan to feel as normal as possible and that he would remain healthy and free of infection. Please pray that Bryan would have the emotional strength that he needs, as this has been a struggle. It is easy to quote yourself the truth from the Bible, but to let it really get in your heart and mind is not always easy, especially in the midst of something like this. Continued prayers that the treatment would work and rid Bryan’s body of the cancer would also be wonderful. Please pray that I would have strength, and energy and the wisdom that I need as I walk beside Bryan through all of this. I truly believe, that God is going to use this situation for good. I wish I knew what that was right now, but it is my prayer that He use it to make more of Him — and less of me.
Thank you to everyone who has continued to lift our family up in prayer, as well as those who have come alongside us already with helping with the kids, bringing food, care packages, sending cards, etc. I know there are so many more of you that have offered the same, and as we get further out with things, I imagine our need for that help will be greater. You have all been like an extension of family to us — and we are so grateful.
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