HAPPY 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
March 13th will forever be etched in my soul. This is the day that my whole world turned upside down. I can replay that whole day in my head like it was yesterday.
Doug became so sick in the night and we went to the hospital earlier than we were suppose to for surgery because he was so sick. I sat in pre op with him trying to get his sickness and pain down so he could go into surgery. I remember him liking my hand on the top of his head. I can remember each nurse that walked in that room to tell me they would be taking good care of my husband. I recall them whisking him off to surgery and I no longer needed to be strong, so I cried, and the sweetest nurse walked up to me and said you can stay as long as you need and she gave me a hug. I cried a bit longer, not even having a clue how my world was going to change in about 5 hours.
5 hours, do you realize how long that is. 5 hours is 300 minutes, it is 18,000 seconds, it is 3 walks pacing the halls, it is 4 trips to sit outside to get air because you feel as if you can't breathe, it is 3 Christian songs played over and over and over and over, it is 20 family and friends coming to the waiting area to see you, it is glance after glance after glance at the computer screen to see where Doug is at in surgery, it is 24,000 heartbeats, it is 100s of prayers, it is 5 hours that seemed to take all day to get through.
Then the front desk lady comes to you mid surgery to say OR nurse is on the phone. Your heart sinks, your breath gets shallow, you feel hot then cold to hear her say on the other end, "Dr. Lochhead is at the tumor now, Doug is doing good" I slowly walk back to everyone that had gathered in the waiting area, all eyes on me as I approached them. I repeated what the nurse said. A few sighs, oh goods, he is doing good, and silence. Back to the songs pounding through the headphones in my ears, close your eyes Jack, relax, all is good, deep breath in through you nose out through you mouth, find a rhythm girlfriend. Thinking I could talk myself through possibly a bit of anxiety, nerves, confusion, sadness, the unknown, I began to cry. I allowed the song to blare in my ears,
I listened and cried, and I cried really hard. I felt someone put their arms around me and just comfort me. The song ended and it was out to get air, for I felt I could not breathe. As I walked by the front desk, the receptionist says, "don't go far they are real close to being done, the doctor will want to talk to you. I also need to know who you would like to take back with you or if you want to go alone." I remember looking at Shanan and saying I think I will go alone. And we walked outside. I remember sitting on the iron bench with the sun beating down on me, watching this little bird walk oh so close to us. It was then as we were sitting in silence, I said out loud to Shanan, I think Berty, Jim, Angie and my mom need to go in with me. I kept saying, if this was my daughter or sister I would tear down the walls to be in that room. I can not keep them from being in there to hear the doctor. I won't forget what Shanan said with tears in her eyes she looked at me and said "Jack I am so proud of you for allowing them to go in with you, and you are right you would want to be in there if it was your daughter or sister, you are awesome" We walked back in, I told the lady exact names of who she could call to go back. Then it came, Jacki, Berty, Jim, Angie, Terrie the doctor is ready to talk to you.
There was this relief, he is out of surgery and then the anxiety of now comes the news. As we walked back to the room the nurse could obviously feel my anxiety, she grabbed my hand said take some deep breaths, nice and slow. Then we sat in the room for about 15 minutes I believe, it felt like forever. In walked Dr. Lochhead, it was as soon as he walked in, I knew I was not getting good news. I will FOREVER remember his face as he looked me straight in the face and said, "I am sorry it is not good, his tumor is a GBM High grade tumor. I am so sorry." Those in the room all began to cry. I stayed stone faced, looking Dr. Lochhead in the eyes, I repeated, now we fight, now we fight. He held back tears and shook his head at me, yes now we fight. I look back now and realize, the Lord was working right then in me, and at that moment I had not a clue.
Where does that sort of strength come from, ok stop, those that are saying, you were in shock, that is why. WRONG! Yes I am sure I was in shock, I was just told my husband had a malignant tumor, oh and he did not get it all out. But now a year later, I am realizing a feeling that I had as Dr. Lochhead said those words, it truly was a strength of a warrior, like I had just been filled with a power I had never felt before. Dr. Lochhead kept saying I am so sorry, and I kept saying we will fight. Everyone left the room to go to the waiting area to tell all the others, as I approached I remember hearing all the crying, seeing all the tears, and for a brief moment thinking, what are you people doing, we can not fight like this. You are weak, this is the time to be strong. Now I am seeing there was an amazing transformation happening in me that I had no clue was happening.
Yep I just got picked to be the Team Leader.
The team leader had to tell her three amazing young girls their dad has brain cancer, the team leader had to look the main player, her husband in the face and say it is not good honey, but we are not giving up. The team leader had to allow her supervisor (God) to do his work, and not on her time. The team leader had no idea what it was going to mean to be the leader. 12 months I have now been the team leader. That is 365 days, it is 8,766 hours, it is 525,949 minutes, it is 31,556,926 seconds, it is 2 surgeries, 2 neurosurgeons, 3 oncologist, 3 different chemos, 13 MRI's, 35 radiation treatments, 10 trips to Seattle, hundreds of thousands of prayers, and I would still take the position again. Don't get me wrong, it has not been easy being the team leader, and yep I have had moments when I wanted to give the title away. But knowing I had other team leaders by my side; Dr. Lochhead, Dr. Cobbs, Dr. Kuhn, Dr. Bucur, Dr. Benkers, Dr. Loisille, Pastor Allen, made my leading a bit easier.
Proverbs 11:14 For lack of guidance a nation falls; but victory is won through many advisers.
I decided early on that I would share our story, I first thought it was for myself. It was therapy for me to write, and to write from my heart. I have always known I might say something that people won't agree with, might question why I would tell it, not understand where I am coming from. But I knew if I wrote it from my heart, I would reach many and maybe touch a few. So I went for it, I began sharing our journey with all of you that are reading it. It helps keep all near and a far up to date with what Doug is going through and how he is doing.
It brings a whole new insight to this journey being traveled with cancer. A journey that would bring my faith to the front line of this battle. A faith I have always had, but kept private. In a year it is a faith that has grown stronger, has been tested, has pulled me up when I wanted to stay down, it is a faith that I will continue to share with the world!
This is what cancer brought me: C- ommit A N- ew C- hrist E- mpowered R- ole
Wow, maybe I should get shirts made up!
See I knew it was going to take a lot of prayers, a lot of faith, a lot of being able to trust Christ and allow him to do his work. Always believing he would answer prayer.
In this last year I have seen amazing changes happen at my house. I have watched 3 young girls, grow up very fast. I have seen them hear the most horrific news a young child could possibly hear, and be completely weak and beyond scared. I witnessed them become stronger; stronger young ladies within themselves, and stronger in their faith. I have watched 5 people have a bond that seems unbreakable become even stronger. I have watched the love of my life, fight like hell for his! I have seen him at his weakest and I have watched him transform into a man of faith. I have seen blessings after blessings happening in the midst of a complete hurricane.
In the last year I have learned more about life than I even knew was possible. I have watched amazing friends and complete strangers come forward to support and rally around us. I have witnessed a softball team of young ladies, commit to supporting my girl Z and our family. Learning what life is truly about, and realizing the game of softball is so minute when it comes to the game of life. And understanding what a team is really all about, FAMILY! I have learned on this journey how important each day really is, how we need to give thanks for every sunrise, sunset and rainy day we get to have. I have learned just because you have cancer or cancer in your life mean people are still mean. I have learned a smile can go a long ways. I have learned how to fake having a good day. I have learned my life is my journey with many lessons. I have learned to face adversity with my whole heart, and to not allow it to take us down. I have learned it is okay to weep when needed, but to not stay there. I am learning it is okay to ask for help and to allow people to help.
In a year I have learned life is to short to hold grudges, to not forgive, to question our challenges.
I found their is more beauty in the world when cancer joins your family. I actually am so grateful to have cancer in my life, OK I know their are a few of you screaming at me. Settle down let me explain before you jump to conclusions.
Grateful for cancer because it has brought life. . . to life.
Grateful for cancer because it has softened my heart and opened my eyes. It has shown me how strong I am and how it is okay to be weak. Grateful for cancer because it has made me a more true Jacki. I am true to who I am and I am true to every single person in my life. Grateful actually because, as sad as it is, cancer has also shown me those in my life that are NOT true to who they think they are. I am grateful for the lessons cancer has taught me.
Some have been harder than others, but lessons that needed taught. I am grateful for cancer, because it has given me a platform I can stand tall on and scream from the top of my lungs. Screaming my beliefs, my views, my lessons, my trials, and my victories. A platform I hold very dear to my heart. One that when I step up on and begin to scream, I am always hoping one soul will be motivated, inspired, moved, or maybe their eyes will be opened or their heart might be softened. A platform the Lord has given me to use.
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
So I can now look back and see what we have been through over this last year, and I can now say, bring it on! We are prepared, we have an army of prayer warriors praying for us daily, we are stronger than we have ever been, we have the Lord in our corner doing work and together we are fighting the good fight.
Thank you for devoting yourself to our family with prayers and good thoughts.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Love and Blessings to all