Step one. Absolutely freak out and panic and practically hyperventilate in the car on the drive to the oncologists office the same day you find out this diagnosis.
Okay, maybe not. Or maybe I should title this post, what NOT to do when your 43 year old husband is diagnosed with cancer. 😉
Either way. This is what happened to me on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Miguel got the phone call with the biopsy results, and he then called me. “It’s cancer”.
I phoned a friend, or wait, she phoned me. And she rushed over to stay with the kids until my sister in law could get here. Miguel’s car had died in the parking lot at his work, and so I had to go pick him up and get him to the oncologist that we were referred to.
On the way there — the long, long way there — I remained calm-ish. For about 10 minutes of the drive. Then, just hearing the doctor on the speaker phone, that did it. He asked if I had any questions, as Miguel’s wife, and I couldn’t even respond. Got off of the phone and my emotions got the best of me. I couldn’t stop sobbing. I was in a great state of panic. Freaking out, sitting in traffic, waiting to go see if my husband was being given a death sentence. (I knew better, but my emotions didn’t). Miguel was the one having to try and calm me down. HE wanted to take over the driving. Um, no. You have cancer sir. You’re not driving anywhere.
This is when “in sickness and in health” came into play. Okay, and part of my mom skills too. I knew I had a job ahead of me. And I needed to be strong.
Well, that strength went right out the window as we met with the first nurse in the oncologists office. She introduced herself, started asking him questions, told him this was something they handle every day, blah blah blah, and I lost it again.
Thank goodness I wore my baseball cap. I covered my face and cried. The nurse, she told me, while handing me tissues, “Okay, look, he’s going to be just fine. I’m going to give you today. I’m going to let you cry today, but only today. Next time you come in here, there won’t be any of that. We’re going to take care of him and he will be just fine.” The words I heard touched my heart, but just made me cry even more. My father in law showed up and we were able to finally meet the oncologist who would be forming a treatment plan for Miguel.
To be short with this part, he confirmed that there was a tumor that was called sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma. A rare and locally aggressive sinus tumor that was in his face, pretty much. He would need to start an aggressive chemo and radiation treatment the following Monday. Port placement, blood tests, more scans, all needed to be done within the next few days, to get this started. Our lives had just changed.
The words I held onto, “high cure rate”, “cureable”, “these drugs kill this cancer”, “you will be just fine”. He specializes in cancers of the head and face, we are in great hands. He went through the side effects of every drug, told us what exactly to expect, got us as prepared as he could, and then sent us on our way. The lady escorting us out of the office shared with us that things go passed the Lord’s hands first and He already knows the plan for our lives, and it’s going to be a good life. And that she was praying for us.
I will always remember those He set before us that day. All positive and full of faith to help us begin this journey.
I think neither of us rested well that first night. The next morning, I woke up and wanted to just weep. It all felt like a very bad dream. I didn’t want to face reality. I didn’t want to face my kids (one who was away at camp). I didn’t want my husband to have to deal with this for the next 6 or so months. I didn’t want any of it. It wasn’t fair.
But it was what God put before us.
And so we will do it. We will fight the beast and the evilness of this disease and the drugs associated with it that will reak havoc on Miguel for the next several months.
One day at a time. No, scratch that. One single breath at a time. He knows what happens before we even get to the next breath, and I have to trust fully that He will take care of it all from there. I need not worry one more bit.
God is good.
He got me safely to the oncologist office without having a wreck from not being able to see through my tear-filled eyes. He will get us through this.