Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 11, 2012 - Two Years Ago...

Two years ago Dennis and I said good-bye as they wheeled him into the operating room to remove the tumor on his brain.  There were a lot of unknowns that day.  We wondered what they would find and if it would be cancer.  We wondered if surgery would cause life altering changes to his overall abilities.  We knew there was the possibility that he would lose the ability to speak.  I remember wondering if that final "I love you" he said as they wheeled him off to surgery would be the last time I heard it.  I headed to the waiting area where friends and family waited with me throughout the procedure.  Updates came and we waited some more.  Finally he was out of surgery and doing well.  In the hours ahead I heard his voice again.  In fact, around 2 in the morning he wanted gum.  So, after checking with his nurse and getting the OK to give him some, I searched the hospital for gum.  Mission accomplished - the canteen is open late at night.

In the days ahead, Dennis improved.  We waited on pathology reports, praying the news would be that the growth was benign or at least a treatable cancer but the news came that he had a glioblastoma multiform (GBM) a very aggressive cancer and so our journey of two years began.  We learned that survival rates for this cancer average about 14-16 months but here we are, two years later.  We have learned a whole new vocabulary about radiation, chemotherapy, trail programs...(so far he has been in four different trials) and the list goes on.  We have met some incredible people along the way.  Lori Hayes, his nurse, is amazing at arranging all the details and helping us understand all that is going on.  Dr. Robins has been leading the fight with this cancer and being Dennis' advocate in getting into trials that could help him.  Dr. Howard is Dennis' radiation oncologist who actually pioneered the radiation Dennis is doing right now.  In the past, it was impossible to do a second round of radiation to the brain.

In addition to the medical team, we have been blessed by so many people both near and far in our lives.  We have never felt alone in this journey as so many of you have upheld us in prayer and supported us in our needs.  We don't know what we would do without you.

We have seen God work in so many ways.  Just in the last two days we have had amazing things happen just when we needed them that only God could orchestrate.  I have to share these with you.

Brooklyn and I took a quick trip to Colorado for a wedding this weekend.  On Sunday we were heading back home and kept hitting flight delays.  After being on a plane, pushing out and then having to pull back in and get off of the plane for mechanical issues, the gate agent came over to me and asked us our last names.  She did not tell us why.  It was evident very soon however when I received a text message from our airline that my flight number changed and where the plane was leaving from.  The gate agent had booked us onto the few remaining seats on the last flight home.  Shortly after this, she announced the flight was cancelled and told everyone to head to customer service.  Amazing.  

Tonight Dennis was having rough night. He is so exhausted and was wondering if he could even finish the last of his radiation.  He has four sessions left.  We were discussing the options and if he should talk to the doctor about the risks of not completing it.  At this point the phone rang.  It was a friend from church that was calling.  He had Dennis on his heart and wanted to be an encouragement.  He shared Isaiah 43:1-4a with me:

But now, this is what the Lord says—

    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you.

It was just what we needed to hear.  Yes, God is with Dennis as he walks through this trial and it will not overwhelm because God loves us!  

So, we have reached the two year mark.  It has been a tough two years.  But it has also been an amazing two years.  I don't know of any other time we have seen God's hand so clearly in our lives.  He has allowed this time in our lives for a purpose even though it makes no sense to us.  When Dennis was in the emergency room the day they found his tumor, his comment to me was, "God can be glorified in this."  That is still our prayer - May God be glorified.  

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