Saturday, April 17, 2010

Biopsy Results

Kelley says........... Events that occurred on April 12th, 2010

I would not say I was really anxious at all this day. I really expected to get a call and hear good news. Even though there was some part of me that knew differently.

I have a small group that meets in a friend’s house every Monday night and we are discussing “Fears”. For the past two weeks the fear we are discussing has been the “Fear of the unknown”. I studied fears, I researched all about fears, I went to God’s word to find out people in the bible who feared the unknown and searched high and low for scriptures. I typed up the plan of what I would tell the ladies. You have to handle fear in steps.

Here they are.

1. Imagine the worst possible outcome
2. Imagine it in steps- what is the next step, then the next step, etc
3. What can I do? Can I get more information? Can I ask for help or tell someone?
4. How likely is this to happen?

I had it all figured out, I would apply this to my situation, it would work like a charm, my biopsy would come back benign, I would get my results and share them at group on Monday night with all my friends.

The home phone, which no one ever calls, rang at 1:52 pm. I had been reading the word so I sat jumped up and ran to the phone. On my caller id it showed it was my gynecologist’s office. So I really thought if they were the ones calling and not the actual women's health care place then this was probably going to be good news!

I said hello and from the very moment the woman opened her mouth I knew my life was about to change. I heard her say that I was being referred to a breast surgeon, I heard her say the words malignant carcinoma and I didn’t hear another word. I asked her to repeat it about three times and she just very kindly said for me to just take a moment, take all the time I needed. At this point, my heart was about to beat out of my chest, my palms were sweaty, I was pacing like a crazy person from my back door to my front door and I was literally trembling.

When the earthquake in Chile happened recently, they said on the news that it was such a high magnitude that the earth actually spun off its axis for a moment in time. Well, that is the only way I can really describe that moment to you. I mean, I am 40 years old! What in the hell just happened? Is this for real? Did I misunderstand her? She didn’t use the words “Breast cancer”. So maybe somehow I am going to be okay.

I called my pastor immediately and I was a bawling mess. By now I was pacing faster, very afraid, did not know what to do, and was shaking all over. He was so reassuring and just pointed me to the Lord. He was a calming force at that moment. He advised me to go ahead and call Deryl which also terrified me. Who wants to tell their spouse, “I have cancer”? And then he said something so smart which was “Call Deryl and I am going to hang up and pray and think for a minute so I know what the right thing is to do”. Wow, what wisdom! My pastor is also my boss. And in reality, I needed to be able to talk to him on the phone but I needed close women friends at that moment and that was exactly the right thing. He called two of the women’s leaders in the church for me.

I had an appointment at 2:00 so I called and canceled that. I called Deryl and I called to get a ride home for Rachel. I called one other lady but I couldn’t reach her. Another good friend was out of town so I didn’t call her. I thought at this point I have to be moving, in action right now, this pacing the floor is not working!! So, I just grabbed my keys and purse and headed out the door. I sent a text to a good friend who has also lost her mom to cancer to see if she was home and she was. I asked if I could come over and she said sure. You know, I know from personal experience that I have a hard time reassuring people whose mom’s have cancer. It just feels like a lie to me because it is just too close to home. I knew she would be the same but yet I knew she was the perfect person for me in that moment.

The two other ladies got there and they encouraged me, they all listened to my fears, comforted me, prayed for me, I could go on and on. Deryl got there and he was so awesome too. My pastor is always talking about living in community. I realized as we all sat there that that is what we were doing. From that very day, I have had countless text messages, e-mails, phone calls and such. I can’t imagine what we would do without our church family. I truly believe they have been God’s hands extended.

We picked up the girls and they knew something was up and so we just were honest about what was going on. Rachel cried and Heather seemed to be okay on the outside but concerned on the inside. Deryl had told me a little earlier that even though he was afraid, he had a peace underneath that. When we asked the girls what they were feeling, Heather said the exact same thing Deryl did. Rachel said she was scared. And boy can I ever relate! I’ll never forget the day I found out my mom had cancer. I cried most of the night that night. At this point, it didn’t seem real. I felt like I was in this weird moment in time that was somehow going to all be a big mistake. I just somehow thought there is just no way I can have cancer in my body.

Deryl says........... I was at work when I got the call. We were expecting the results of the biopsy that day or the next. We were both expecting good news. I said hello and heard nothing but my name through intense sobs. Kelley then said “can you come home?” as she busted out in tears again. I said “what is it?” but received no answer. My stomach started to feel queasy. I knew what had Kelley so upset. All I could say was “Is this what I think it is?”. She said a barely understandable “yes”. My heart was in my throat. A shock wave went through my body. The world seemed so unreal at that moment. I immediately left for home. I called my boss to tell him I was leaving for the day. I struggled to get out the words “We just found out Kelley has breast cancer”. It seemed as if this was someone else’s life I was talking about.

As I drove home the main concern in my mind was Kelley and how she was feeling about this. Kelley lost her mother to breast cancer. Her mother was 53 when she died. I knew that would weigh heavy on her mind. I just wanted to be strong for her. Then my thoughts drifted to our girls Heather and Rachel. How would we tell them? What would we say? They knew all about how their grandmother lost her life to breast cancer Would they fall apart? Would they be strong? It was so much to think about in such a short time.

On my way home Kelley texted me and said she was at our friend Brenda’s house and to go there instead of home. When I arrived Tanna and Beth were there speaking encouraging words to Kelley. Her eyes were red from crying. It appeared that all of them had been crying to some degree. I hugged Kelley tight as she began to sob in my arms. I briefly thought “Am I going to lose my wife?”. My fear quickly gave way to a muted type of anger. Not an overwhelming rage but a “We are going to kick cancer in the ass” type of anger.

The rest of the day was spent trying to encourage Kelley and the girls once we told them the news. Kelley went to her women’s community group that night. She considered not going but I said we should not let cancer push us around. She was a leader and teacher in the group and I figured the encouragement from all of those women would be good for her. Besides if Heather or Rachel needed to have a big cry I thought they might want to do it away from their mother’s view. I was surprised that they did not want to talk about it but I didn’t push them. The day was mostly a fog for me. I felt shock and numbness most of the day.

There was a lot of fear in me at times and anger. But there was also a lot of peace and gratitude. I had fear not that I was going to lose Kelley but that she was going to have to suffer. I was angry because I felt like she did not deserve this. I had peace because I knew in my heart that eventually she would be okay. And I had gratitude because so many people were offering their support in so many different ways. I did not know how at the time but I believed that there would be some ultimate good that would come out of this. So many people loved and cared for us. And we had only told a couple of people up to this point.

The day was mostly a fog but a few things really stood out for me. First, that Kelley had a support group around her before I could even get home. Brenda, Beth, and Tanna were such a blessing for us in that moment. Paul, Brian, and Darla were so encouraging just with their presence. Sometimes there is nothing to say to someone going through difficulty. No words would make me feel better. But all of these people who were there and cried with us and just said "yeah this sucks" with us helped. My boss Stephen who told me I could work from home if I needed and was willing to bring a laptop to my house for me so I could be there for Kelley. I knew that although this would not be easy we would not be alone.

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