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On Shaky Ground




It's been too long since I've written. I've thought about it so many times, especially when friends and family notice our radio silence and reach out wondering if we're ok. It's been a very humbling, hard past few weeks.


In mid-October Shane left for CA so strong and happy and positive, not quite at full strength but incredibly close. And he limped home nine days later, exhausted, wrung out, something nasty brewing in his system. And suddenly we found ourselves thrown into a tailspin----shades of May and June----Shane incapacitated on the couch with a flu bug, barely able to stand, miserable. Tears of pain and fear most every day. He experienced a range of new emotions---anger, frustration, hopelessness. For the very first time he wasn't accepting his cancer. Meanwhile, I was just trying to keep my snorkel above the water and attempting not to panic.


Seeing Shane so sick and weak once again was frightening. I held it together pretty well for two weeks until he was out of the woods and then I fell apart and took my turn on the sick bed for a couple weeks. And I even took my turn being miserable and tearful. Lots of prayers that sounded like, "I don't have the energy to be this sick, not sleeping every night when Shane is just recovering."


Cancer is very much a rollercoaster---and the ride ain't pretty---we messily move back and forth hope and sadness, tripping and stumbling over our emotions. I felt that he and I were strong, but I've come to realize that we are still fragile, our emotions and pain are still right below the surface and it doesn't take much to stir them to life again. We start to worry that the cancer is growing full force again, that nothing is working, a sort of cancer PTSD. When Shane is fully healed I imagine that every sniffle, ache or pain may cause our minds to go to that dark place of "what if..." And I hear from other cancer patients that every scan sends them into a tailspin---they even call it, "scan-xiety."


Shane told me for the first time that he's wondered if our baby is ok---maybe it will be handicapped, maybe it won't live. He asked me to think of a plan in case a transfer to the hospital is needed. I've never heard him express these worries before, ever. Cancer has caused him to look at life in a much starker fashion.


Shane is coming back to himself and during the day is able to do a few simple tasks---all woven with plenty of resting. But come evening, after dinner, he is absolutely and completely spent.


Here's the good that came out of a dark few weeks. Shane feels motivated to live. Before this time he felt a sense of acceptance, and surrendering to what would be. He still believes that ultimately his life is in God's hands, but he is focused on living for for the four (soon to be five). I can feel the shift.


And now, sooner than anticipated, we move into Phase Three of his treatment, time to knock out the rest of his cancer and make sure it never ever comes back. I've been earnestly studying, trying to connect with clinics/doctors who can help us execute this next stage. I feel a sense of urgency to lock this up before I give birth. Let's see what the next few weeks bring to us.

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