Saturday, May 24, 2014

Waiting to Exhale...

I think I can finally share this story now...


On April 28 (a Monday), Mark had a CT scan done. He has a family history of pituitary gland tumors so we wanted to keep an eye on his pituitary gland. Kind of felt like a sitting duck in a way.  I honestly didn't think a whole lot about it. I mean, I prayed and thought about him during that time but this was "routine" in a sense.

That afternoon, he walked into the room and said, "I have a growth behind my right eye."  He had apparently just found out and was in a bit of shock himself.

At that moment, the world seemed to stop.

I was prepared to hear "pituitary gland".  Not this.

I kind of laugh about this now. We always have big plans on how to tell each other things (or at least I do) and then it never works out that way.  Like when I found out I was pregnant. There are so many neat ways to share that. Instead, after having some disappointment over negative tests, all those ideas went out the window. I just called him and blurted out, "It is positive!  We are having a baby!"  Same with the day our adoptions were finalized. Nothing like we had planned on.  Not that there is a good way to share news like that but it was just so typical for us. Blurted out...

At that point, I am pretty sure I stopped breathing.

An MRI was set.  For 8 days later. 8 days.  That felt like an eternity!  We had little information at that time which was not good for me. I immediately started googling "growth on optic nerve". There are a LOT of possibilities for that but not very many of them were desirable.

By the way, a FAQ was and is "Didn't he have any symptoms?" Well, yes, looking back, he did/does. But blurred vision, an occasional headache, etc, those things are just part of being our age. So we didn't put much thought into them.

Two days later (the 30th), Mark came to eat lunch with me at school.  About that time, I got a text from my mom to call her. My grandmother had died. Unexpectedly.

Honestly, the next two weeks were like a blur. Having a completed thought was almost impossible.

We cried a lot. I worried a lot. We prayed a lot.  I found myself searching for comfort in the Scriptures.  We were also blessed by so many sweet prayers and notes of encouragement during that time. We tried to be normal but it was not a normal time.

I looked at life through a different lens.

And still do.

That is more for a post for another time.

The following Tuesday, May 6, we buried my grandmother.

I won't lie. I found myself wondering if I would be doing that again soon with my own husband.

The next day, May 7, Mark went in for the MRI.

I did not go with him.

I was in a workshop.

And there was nothing I could do. I couldn't be in the room with him.  I knew he wouldn't get results right then.

All I could do was pray.

A lot.

And try to ignore that feeling in the pit of my stomach.  The one that had become permanent at that point.

Unbeknownst to me, Mark announced the MRI on Facebook that morning. I had no idea. We had only told limited people at that time.

The outpouring of love and prayers was overwhelming. A good overwhelming but overwhelming at the same time.

During this time, tears came easily.  I could be laughing one minute, crying the next. And I often was.

One moment that brought me to tears? When our youngest child (who had overheard a conversation incorrectly) asked if Daddy was going to die and if so, who would practice baseball with him.

Another time I was cooking in the kitchen, singing praise songs at the top of my lungs. Suddenly I was on the floor crying, the dog right by my side.  It was like being on a roller coaster ride. A ride I wanted to get off of.

We had gotten CT results so quickly, I just figured it would be the same with MRI results.

I had my phone with me all of the time. Checked messages constantly. My phone battery ran down to empty more those two weeks than normal in a whole year for me.

The one and only time we somewhat relaxed was the weekend (Mother's Day weekend) because we knew there wouldn't be a phone call over the weekend.  But the thoughts were still there. The questions. The worries.

We didn't try to speculate on what the "no answers" meant.  I didn't take it as good news or bad news. Just no news.

Which was hard.

Very hard.

One thing I learned is that I can completely trust in God. I do. I really do. And I knew no matter the outcome, God would be there.  But I also learned that I am very human. And that knot in the pit of my stomach was very real and NOT a reflection of my faith or state of relationship with Him. Just part of being a human, a human who loves her husband very much.

Mark did call that Friday to ask for results.

Nobody called him back.

Mother's Day weekend was very surreal.

We tried to be normal...hiking, lunch out.

But life was not normal. And likely never will be again.

The next week I found myself more and more jittery.  More and more consumed with "What is going on???"

I tried really hard to NOT push Mark to get answers.

It was and still is HIS condition.  Not mine. I have to let him handle things his way.

On Wednesday he called again to ask for results. One week later.  Suddenly that 8 days we had waited for the MRI didn't seem like an eternity. This one week did.

As some point, the doctor's office called and he missed the call.

Gotta love phone tag.  With a doctor's office. 

He called back.

And finally he got to talk to a person.

And the "results"?

"You need to see an ophthalmologist."

That is all.

Nothing more.

Some people immediately said, "Well, they didn't say oncologist so that is encouraging."

But at that time, nothing was really encouraging.

We still had no answers.

On Thursday, May 15, Mark took matters into his own hands and called the ophthalmologist's office himself instead of waiting to be called. 

And somehow they had an opening.

That day.

I scrambled to find a substitute, a VERY rare thing for me.

And a few hours later found myself sitting in the eye doctor's waiting room with him, my husband, my love.

Finally his name was called.

At that point, I was pretty sure I was going to throw up.

My anxiety level was at an all time high.

We walked into the office. The nurse started looking through Mark's records.

She asked, "Have you seen the copy of this report?"

I was about in tears by this time, telling her we had heard or seen NOTHING.

She handed it to us.

Well, it made no sense. Medical jargon is not my specialty.

The eye doctor came in.

We have known him for a long time (on a professional level); our kids go to him regularly.

He did a few tests and looked over the report.

I was a basketcase by this point.

Then he said it, "This is a cavernous hemangioma. It is NOT something serious."

In fact, he said it a few times.

I think my face gave it all away.

And then it happened.

I exhaled.  I didn't realize it but I had been...

waiting to exhale.

And I finally did.

And cried.

A lot.

And still am.

Breathe in, breathe out.

More soon,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing. I will continue to pray for Mark and the rest of your family. AMEN!


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