Today I got to read an amazing testimony of what my aunt is going through. She has said that she wants to share her story for others to inspire them to make it through hard times, like the one they are experiencing right now. We should all admire her strength and determination in overcoming a family crisis and she hopes it will help the families of those who have had to go through some of the same struggles or may have to in the future.
She will be writing this post:
December 9th 2012:
In the past 24 months we have lost our jobs, our home, our car, and anything safe to us is gone. We have moved in with our elderly father in a different state to take care of him and have struggled to get back on our feet. We needed to find jobs, insurance to get our children through college, and my husband needed to see a doctor because he had problems with his health. Upon moving out of state we both found jobs, found insurance, and it became possible for him to start seeing a doctor. We found out in August 2012 that my husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease (reaction to wheat) and he was sick all the time. The doctor suggested since it had been 18 months of the same symptoms to order a colonoscopy to see how much damage was done from the disease. Upon getting that done we had to forget about the Celiac because they had found colon cancer.
October 12th 2012, I thought was the worst day of my life. My husband, age 49, was diagnosed with colon cancer. We were devastated. The sound of the word itself was so scary. My first thoughts were, "What would I do without him, and How will I tell our children?" Nothing made sense to us, why??? Over the next few weeks I thought only the worst, it was the easiest way to think. Stress sends you down the sad path and nowhere near the happy one. We were not ready for this, emotionally, financially, not at all. It couldn't have come at a worse time and we had just started to feel like we were back on our feet. We could handle our own place again and our bills were kept. We started with telling our oldest first, trying to help him with the thought of what all could happen. Our daughter was so involved with championships for college volleyball we thought at the time it would be too much for her to handle so we held off. Our son took it well, the way a strong young man would. He held it together very well and I was the one who broke down crying about having to tell him such horrible news. He told me that he would be here for us and he was my rock as his father has had to go through this. The next few days we saw a surgeon and met with the cancer treatment center in the hospital. The cancer treatment center was premature at the time because they didn't know what they were dealing with and wouldn't until after surgery. Cancer has stages and if you find it early it is very treatable. They told us that we had to find the degree of the cancer before we would know how to deal with the situation. We were glad to get the information before the surgery so we could have the brightest outlook possible. Meeting with the surgeon (a highly recommended one) helped us a lot. He told us that our doctor had very well saved my husband's life by leaving protocol and ordering a colonoscopy. Most colonoscopys are not ordered until a patient is 50 and depending on the patient it could be too late and years after they should have had it done. My husband's cancer was in stage II due to it's size and he has probably had the tumor about 18 months to 2 years. Tests and CTs were done to find out the extent of the cancer. We found that it was localized in the colon wall andthat surgery would remove the tumor and the lymph nodes that feed the area. Once surgery is completed more tests would be done. This will decide if chemotherapy is required, if it is genetic, and if screening for the rest of the family needs to be done.
The day before Thanksgiving we had to talk to our daughter. My husband told me to please let him talk to her because he would make it more manageable for her to take. He let her know that we have known for a while, but wanted to make sure she could handle the news and thought waiting would be best for her. He started to say something and she said, "Dad, something is wrong, how sick are you?" Then the conversation turned to tears, but ended with a strong hug and them comforting each other that we will get through this.
The day of surgery was December 5th. I woke at 3 a.m. not being able to sleep. We had to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. to prep for surgery and the drive was 45 minutes so I decided it was best to just go ahead and get up. This way I could get my thoughts together and wouldn't feel rushed on such a hard day. While in the shower, I thought this has to be the worst day of my life and completely broke down. I thought, this is so close to Christmas and that life could not get any worse. While I thought, I slowly began to think an entirely different thought. I realized that this year though it was the worst of my life, we were able to be home with family to help us get through this, we were able to see our daughter play her freshman year as a D1 college volleyball player after 2 ACL replacement surgeries in her right knee before she was accepted to college on a full ride scholarship! Our son who hasn't had a relationship in 3 years may have found the young lady he wants to call him wife and is the happiest he has been this year with her! So many blessings through the turmoil had happened.
Today we are still at the hospital, day 5, and I sit here with my husband watching him sleep and trying to heal from one of the most emotional times in our life together. We have been through a lot, but nothing like what we have just experienced. I've realized life comes with no guarantees and you have to make the best of everyday. You have to take it day by day and not do everything as you always have because with times like these you take too much out of yourself. You become strong to deal with things because that is what you have to do and you hope and pray for the best, that is all you can do. I do have a smile on my face happy that he is still here with me and we will be going home soon, not today, but maybe tomorrow.
Update after the surgery: Aryanna D'Angelo on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 1:32 PM After their long struggle my Uncle Tom & Aunt Lauri have just found that there is no more cancer, they got it all with the surgery. Amen! :)