Metastasis is the word most feared by cancer patients and their loved ones second only to initial diagnosis word ‘cancer’; and the word ‘death’ At Evan’s pre operative appointment this past Thursday we received the copies of the MRI in November and the repeat test in February. In one brief sentence , tucked away, almost as an afterthought were the words, “increased thickening of the lymph node in the left axilla is consistent with metastasis”.
Where do we go from here? How do we deal with this newest development? How long has he got? On top of these questions were the baseline questions for Evan’s upcoming surgery next Friday: How long will the operation take? (We don’t know, excision will take approximately 2 hours, reconstruction – we just don’t know, we don’t know what we’ll be dealing with) How long will he be in the hospital? (We don’t know, depends on his pain management and how he reacts to the operations) How much will this cost? (We don’t know, depends on how long the surgery takes, and how long he is in the hospital, and how good your coverage is, and how much of the deductible remains to be paid)
You might sense a great deal of unease, or a sense of failure to either communicate or of baseline knowledge. I suppose on the part of the medical staff, they have confidence in their skills, but the mysteries of Evan’s body and his disease process are baffling to them. We have a faithful confidence that God will see us through no matter the outcome. But let me be more specific lest you believe that we are blind to the realities of the situation or that we are swimming through this trial with rose colored glasses. Each of us; Evan, Mom, Dad, and Sissy are deeply confident that we are not in control of this situation and that our response to this situation is how we are to demonstrate our faith that God is in control and that His purposes will ultimately be for our good.
Evan remains the strongest of the family and is not idly elevated to the status of hero as he has faced and continues to face the greatest challenge anyone in our immediate family has addressed. He has declared that death is not what frightens him, he knows that he will be in heaven. His fear is of the donor site for any skin graft, the pain of which is akin to being skinned alive. He has shared that his anxieties have lead to daydreaming of dying on the operating table in the middle of the operation. And given the day and date of the surgery, (Friday the 13th), he as made us promise not to handle black cats or walk under ladders, not to say anything about mirrors.
So where exactly does this new revelation leave us? Actually, it doesn’t change anything. We had a plan: chemo – surgery – chemo; and the plan always called for the removal of the lymph node in question. As a friend told us when they heard about the impending surgery, “It’s too bad that the first round of chemo didn’t work.” And while this is true, the plan remains intact; the only thing that has changed is the challenge to our resolution to see it through to the end of Evan’s illness.
With all this shared, and our hero preparing to lay himself on the altar of modern medicine and under the surgical knife, we would like to leave you with a reference that has taken on new meaning for all of us: Genesis 22:3-13.
God’s many richest blessings to all who have read this entry and this blog from beginning to now. Till we report after surgery, shalom, peace y vaya con dios.