Oh, friends, what a long and difficult journey we’re on right now.
I know it’s been about three weeks — and what feels to me like a lifetime — since I’ve chimed in here.
I’m aware that many of you have been following our journey on Caringbridge.com or Instagram, so feel free to gloss over any redundancies or repeats of things you’ve heard already.
If you’re still with me and would like an update, here you go.
Before David’s surgery, we tried to make the most of relative normalcy.
We had the fantastic Seattle trip I told you about last time, and then David’s mom Ruth came up and we celebrated his birthday.
We had a scrumptious dinner at Nostrana
and on another day, we enjoyed fantastic offerings at Laurelhurst Market.
We started with a deconstructed shrimp salad that rocked me to my core (it was finished with a smoked shrimp aioli, people!)
moved onto a wedge salad which was scrumptious
and finished with five orders of Steak Frites.
Their version is sublime!
After Ruth left us, we had just a few days before surgery.
On Tuesday D and I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 am and I came prepared for a very long day (I ended up being there 14 hours that day, came home, and returned later that night.
I brought two big bags with me that day (this was the contents of just one of them)
and I sat for hours waiting for that little buzzer to go off, meaning that there was word from his surgeon.
Truly, I’ve never felt more nervous in my entire life. Or powerless.
Luckily I was able to wait some of the time outdoors in a quiet patio at the hospital with the kids by my side for much of the day.
We even managed to eat some salads the kids had picked up for us to share.
I was so grateful for their company.
The good news.
David survived this grisly surgery and it appears that the doctor was able to remove the cancerous tumor and all the lymph nodes infected with cancer. In the days that followed, he recovered from both infection and pneumonia and was able to make it back home this week, two weeks after the surgery (some people are in the hospital even months afterwards).
The bad news.
Unfortunately, we now know that not only was the tumor still there at the time of surgery but it was growing, despite intense chemo and radiation.
Yes, the tumor is gone but the worry now is that we don’t know if David had clean margins and if cancer is now lurking somewhere else in his body, ready to wreak havoc. If that’s the case, our options are limited. We won’t know his status and possible treatment for at least a couple weeks or months so for now it’s wait and see. And time to focus on this recovery for David.
I have to say that in the many dark days that followed, it was heartbreaking to see David ride these terrible tsunamis of unfathomable pain. Poor guy –they’d cracked open both his chest and abdomen, removed his esophagus, half his stomach, and all his nearby lymph nodes and then stitched and stapled him back together.
And so that’s been our world.
Back and forth between the worry and the misery at the hospital,
and then struggling outside the hospital to find as much joy and summer goodness as we possibly could.
I’ve been trying to keep my energy and spirits up by finding time with the kids or a friend to go to food carts
or taking Porter out somewhere beautiful
and then it’s back to David, first at the hospital
and now home, trying to help him from losing weight and manage his still-terrible pain.
As always, my kids have been spectacular throughout, selfless and helpful despite the tremendous stress we’re all under.
Here they are as we headed off this week to get braces put on Charlotte.
There’s so much going on and yet so many questions still remain.
Meanwhile, in two weeks Oliver, Charlotte and I head to DC to send Oliver off to school while David’s ex and dear friend, Anita, will stay here to keep on top of things and help David along with his recovery. I’m so grateful that Anita and I are so close and she’s willing to devote so much time to help out our family. She’s incredible and I’m blessed to have her support and friendship.
Thanks to all of you — far too many too count — who’ve mailed packages, cards, dropped off treats and flowers and so much more.
No exaggeration, every day at least one thing shows up in my mailbox or front porch
and it’s like the most wonderful kind of advent calendar deliveries.
A new day, a new offering.
I’ve even had one friend/reader/blogger (Rebecca Ringquist from Dropcloth Samplers) bring me treats found at the Bins.
So big big thanks, friends. Your thoughtfulness has sustained me.
I don’t know when I’ll be back here but feel free to check out my Caringbridge posts for further news about David.
(Or for my Instagram handle to see what we’re up to now and the big move ahead).
Here’s one last thought for me to hold dear — and I hope it resonates with you, too.
Please keep those prayers going and continue sending love and luck our way.
Right now we are especially grateful for every bit of love we can get.