Well as you can see, it’s been quite some time since I last posted (June 18). There’s a reason for that… one that sent our entire world, as we knew it, into chaos. The very day of my last post was as I was sitting in the waiting room while my husband, Richard, was to be having his gallbladder removed. Shortly after that post was submitted, the Dr came out to say the dreaded “C-word.” My husband’s entire gallbladder was filled with cancer. And thus began our journey down the dreaded cancer road. (and keep in mind this was only 6 months after I had lost my mother to cancer)
It’s been an amazing adventure, if one can call it that. An adventure that taught us a lot: about ourselves, about our healthcare and about our relationships. We’d like to share that journey with you. As I am the writer in the family, I obviously will be doing the blogging, but with my husband’s input and perspective.
So the story (I’ll give the Cliff Note version): We left for our Florida vacation on June 13, to visit Rich’s son Dustin and family, which four days later turned into an emergency room visit and hospitalization. After finding the cancer in his gallbladder, the plan was to do an extensive second surgery the following week, removing his gallbladder and bile duct and reconstructing a new bile duct from his intestine.
When the surgeon appeared shortly after the second surgery began, I knew it could only be bad news. The cancer had metastasized to his Rich’s lymph nodes. They had already sent samples to pathology. There was no point in doing the extensive surgery, so with family permission they only removed the gallbladder that was causing him so much pain. In that meeting with the Dr I was also informed that my husband would need extensive chemotherapy and would only live about one year. Without chemotherapy, he would only live approximately three months.
Do you know what it’s like having to tell your husband he has one year to live? I do.
My husband’s faith in our Savior is unwavering. Truly. I never saw him worry, fret, or be anxious. (I did enough of that for both of us, I think) All he kept saying was that he was in NO WAY going to take chemotherapy and spend the rest of his “short life being sick as a dog.” We were stuck in Florida for five weeks altogether. I suppose, if you’re going to be stuck somewhere, Florida is as pleasant a place as any, but it was not under pleasant circumstances. It took us six more days to drive back to Chicagoland where we live.
We arrived in the Chicago area July 20th. In the following two weeks we talked to three oncologists, not wanting to believe that there wasn’t some other prognosis. They all said the exact same thing: extensive chemo and one year to live.
Now… in the background of this story we have a key player… son from Florida, Dustin, who talked nonstop about alternative medicines and therapies. At times I wanted to scream at him, but I thank God that Dustin did not give up! (and thank God I didn’t scream at him, I don’t know what we would have done without him)
After speaking to the third oncologist, Rich and I sat on park bench enjoying the sunshine. I asked him what he wanted to do. All along I had been telling him I would stand by him no matter what his choice was. “I want to go to Mexico,” was his response, and three days later we were on an airplane… on our way to Tijuana… for immunotherapy along with other therapies. We flew out to San Diego on August 1st.
Two weeks ago, November 5th, four and half months after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, my husband Rich was proclaimed to be in remission! God’s healing powers and alternative medicines cannot be denied! Is he completely healed, out of the woods? Nope. But the lymph nodes have shrunk substantially, and the liver, pancreas, stomach and the entire abdomen area are clear.
We would love to share our experience with you. We don’t presume to have the answers for everyone. Each person must make their own decisions, but we would like to share what we’ve learned about the various therapies, the time in Tijuana, our mindsets through all this journey, and some possible preventative measures anyone can take! Check back each day for updates. I’ll attempt to make this a timely procedure… follow along.