Sunday, December 11, 2016

HOPE


Hope....What is it?  Where does it come from?  How do we keep it once it is found?

This is something that I have been thinking about for awhile.  Why do we have hope in times when it seems there is no possible way of finding it?  Where do we get it from and how do we sustain those feelings of hope and peace?  

Jerry and I have not been publicizing some things that have been going on.  We have had several different reasons why we hadn't posted about it on the blog or on facebook, nonetheless, I am going to update you today..

Back in April 2016, Jerry had an MRI that showed very little tumor still in his scans.  You could barely see it.  In July 2016, he had another scan that showed some changes.  The changes made the area of the tumor more visible and concerned the Dr's.  (We were still somewhat in the dark at this point) The Dr. scheduled another MRI, which happened to be on the first day of school.  (Last year on the first day of school, Jerry went to the emergency room with symptoms which inevitably led to him having a severe infection...bad memory for us!) Anyway, this scan, in September, showed even more concern to the Doctor.  Jerry went to his appointment to discuss the results with his Dr. and was devastated at the news.  I was not able to be with him at this appointment, but his Mom was there with him.  The Dr. left him with little to no hope for anything good to happen.  He told him that surgery would no longer be an option for him,"if" this was tumor cells, there was not much more they could do other than continuing Chemotherapy as scheduled.  It "could" be good brain cells that were killed during radiation, but there is no way to know.  In my opinion, this Dr. needs to take some classes on "having a good bedside manner".  He left Jerry devastated, to the point that he wanted to make sure his affairs were in order.  It was tough for me to watch day in and day out and really not be able to talk about the situation to anyone because Jerry wanted privacy. He didn't want anyone to know the vast details and reality of the situation, which was grim.  He has appreciated the prayers along the way and all the support that we have gotten, but it also can be overwhelming, especially for a man.  When you have to rely on other people to care for your family it takes a toll on a man's spirit.  I think that is where Jerry was.  He wanted to care for his family and he didn't want anyone to think that he couldn't or wasn't able to.  I don't know about anyone elses husbands, but mine doesn't like people to know that he is "unable" to do something even if he shouldn't do it or simply can't do it.  This is more than a humility thing, it's more of an  "inner spirit" thing.   If he gave into his physical and mental challenges, then he felt as if he was giving up. Anyway, the Dr. upped Jerry's chemotherapy dosage and told him that they wanted him to have another MRI in November.  Jerry was given a new nausea pill and seemed to tolerate the higher dosage of chemotherapy a lot better than he had been, which was a concern for me and an answer to prayer.  
Jerry had his MRI this last Thursday.  I went with him to this appointment and prayed and prayed while he was in there asking God to give him a reason to keep fighting.  I could tell that Jerry was loosing some of his stamina to want to keep fighting.  
We sat in the patient room after his MRI waiting to see the Dr. to get the results and I think Jerry said to me several times "I feel like I'm going to throw up" because he was so nervous.
The Dr. he was seeing this time was not his normal Doctor, because he was out of town.  We had seen this Doctor before, but he was not Jerry's regular oncologist.  He came in with a "bright spirit" and a very positive attitude.  He showed Jerry and I the new scan which didn't look much different from the last one, in fact, the tumor area appeared slightly larger in size.  He was honest and said it did appear slightly larger, but he also said this....

  • I don't think it's tumor
  • I think its bruising from radiation
  • It still appears to be a low grade
  • If it was high grade, we would see other changes
  • Surgery is just as much of a risk as it was the first time you had it, definitely not out of the question.
  • If things get worse, there are always options
  • prognoses looks positive
  • Cancer research is continuously coming up with new ways to treat brain tumors
  • At Cancer Moonshot Summit, Vice President Biden announced new actions to accelerate progress toward ending cancer as we know it.

(Below is a link to that article, if you are interested)
Cancer Moonshot Summit Article


Ultimately, the results from the MRI were no different than they were before, in fact, they appeared worse.   What was different was attitude and hope.  This Doctor had a positive attitude.  Instead of pointing out what was no longer an option, he gave Jerry hope by telling him about several options if things were to progress.  He also made it clear that in his experience, and by what he was seeing, he did not believe this was tumor, he believes it is bruising from radiation.  Jerry and I both left this appointment feeling hopeful and happy.  

Why?  We were given hope, that's why.  I never really understood how someone else could shed a person on their hope, but it happened.  I would never have realized it was this particular Doctor's attitude had we not spoken to a different Dr.  It was so easy for him to steal Jerry's hope.  Makes me realize that in all aspects of our lives, we have great power over other people.  As a parent, we have a power over our children that is quite scary actually.  We have the power to help them become successful, well balanced, highly motivated individuals, or unsuccessful, improperly balanced, low self esteemed individuals who crumble in the midst of lives challenges.  So scary.....

I believe my attitude in the midst of my husband's battle could really impact him as well.   I look outside right now at the snow falling on the ground and I'm watching my husband, who is fighting brain cancer, facing challenges that most of us wouldn't be able to bear, is hard at work on a Sunday afternoon...because he has hope.  He has hope for tomorrow, he has a family that he loves and he wants to provide for.  I thank God for instilling this hope into the Doctor, and passing it on to us, because I believe that is where our hope ultimately comes from, God.  Today, that hope from God gives Jerry hope, which gives me hope........  



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