Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Update, and 365: Week 4

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST). 

That's what we call it. It's a very rare form of cancer, affecting only about 1% of cancer patients. We'll see an oncologist on Friday, and luckily for us we live in Utah. 

Utah has the Huntsman Cancer Institute -- one of the premier cancer research, and treatment facilities in the world. 

Honestly, now that it's out in the open, we both feel a weight has been lifted (one of them anway) -- at least we have a direction to move now. It seems to be a treatable disease, with surgery and medication -- we'll know more after Friday. But it seems to be unresponsive to Chemotherapy and radiation. My wife is not complaining about this part. 

We don't know what happens next, but we face forward, and we do whatever it takes to beat this uninvited monster. 

Now, to all of you: Thank you for everything. Your words, your prayers, and your thoughts have kept us going these last few days, and they will see us through the end of this. 

I can barely see the screen now. My eyes are blurry. Hope is very powerful. Love is very strong.

You have given us both, and there are no words to express my -- our -- gratitude.

My stupid eyes won't stop watering. 

365: Week 4
What a difference a day makes...

Day 22

January 22: An old friend. I am a big Star Wars fan -- at least of the original movies. They have always been a part of my life. And I was on the ground floor of the Star Wars Merchandise collecting phenomenon. I had ALL of the figures. And almost everyone of them suffered an ignominious fate at my hands (those hands were usually holding a golf club). But C3PO here is original. He was from the very first wave of Star Wars toys in 1977. I have no idea how I've managed to hold on to him so long. Probably because he gets lost for several years at a time. There's a very old Stormtrooper around here somewhere too...

Day 23

January 23: The day that changed my life. My wife went to the hospital for what we thougt was an ulcer, and instead, we were told "It looks like Lymphoma." That turned out to be not quite right. That night my wife stayed in the hospital, my kids were at my in-laws, and I headed home to the empty house, with the task of breaking the news to everyone. I felt dark all over, and almost stopped taking pictures right there. Instead, I took a shot of the blackest thing I could find -- the shirt I was wearing. 

Day 24

January 24: At the hospital. Sharon has always maintained that Matthew is her best snuggler. Both of them needed this.

Day 25

January 25: This was how I spent my weekend -- driving to and from Ogden Regional Medical Center. This was about as clear as it got -- in fact, Friday night, as I tried to see my wife, it was so foggy that I could not find the hospital -- and I know RIGHT where it is. I snapped this out the front window of the van. Whatever it takes to keep the streak going.

Day 26

January 26: A sight I rarely get to see. Emma has Kindergarten in the afternoon, so I don't very often get to take her to school. She won't let me walk her to the door. She's a big girl. So I stood out by the van and took pictures of her, with my zoom lens. I wonder if I made the ladies in the office nervous?

Day 27

January 27: White Salvation. We can breathe again. The only good thing about snow this time of year is that it clears out the smog and the inversion (Salt Lake had the worst air in the country all of last week -- what an honor!). That bright shiny thing that you can see through the tree is the sun. At least I think that's what they used to call it. It been so long...

Day 28

January 28: A diagnosis. And life goes on. Two weeks ago, I told you that Jordan, my oldest, had moved on in the Reflections contest at school, from the school level, to the district level. Tonight she moved on to the Regional competition. Have I mentioned how proud I am of her?

Drop by next week. It's got to be better than this one. 



Val said...

The picture of Matt and Sharon just melted my heart! To me that picture just defined hope and love!

imbeingheldhostage said...

You're asking me if the week can get better?
Oh, you meant those other people that don't carry their own personal black cloud around.

For such an emotional week, you still managed to catch some quality shots. The one of Sharon getting snuggles from Matt is priceless and it might have been missed if you were committed to this. Chemicals and Radiation have nothing on a prayer roll ;-)
Our prayers are with you daily!

imbeingheldhostage said...


proof read J, weren't committed to this.


Susan said...

It certainly has been a rough week for you but now that you have the diagnosis you can begin to move into the recovery and healing phase.
I know the sun (and Son) are going to shine through this whole situation and soon enough you are going to be writing a beautiful post about Sharon being healed.
Our prayers are with you and your beautiful family.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

Stunning week in photos and a week I am sure you won't need photos to remind you of in the future. I am grateful that you have answers, or at least some direction. We are all here for you if you need anything. That's what friends are for.

Have a wonderful week and let me know if I can do anything for you.

Tabitha Chooses Bliss said...

After reading this my belief is even stronger. Your love will/can get you all through anything. Along with the Almighty of course. You are always in my prayers.

SalGal said...

The "Big C" is always bad news, but it sounds like it has a positive twist to it with the prognosis! Any time you want to be added to the list, just let me know.

Melissa said... eyes are blurry now too!!!

Listen, it is very important to stay positive (like it seems that you both are)!! I believe that is the best way to "fight" this stuff!! And now that you know what "IT" is, hopefully both of you can take that positive energy and stand up to "IT"!!
Good are both (and your whole family) in my prayers!!

Alexandria said...

I am so glad that the GIST is treatable. I'm also glad that your wife wont have to go through Chemo or Radiation.

More prayers being sent your way. I hope you all continue to stay strong. Remember that there are many many people in your life that you can lean on. We're all here for you and your family.

Corey~living and loving said... your photos made me teary. I just said a prayer for you and your family.
I find it strange that I waited a few months to add you to my reader, then a WEEK before you go this news, I did it. Had I NOT, I am not sure if I would have been here to send my prayers.

I'm thinking of you...sending you healing vibes....and keeping the hope.

Cecily R said...

My offer still stands. Honestly.

(Pam filled me in yesterday. I'm glad to hear there is a light. And that you can breathe.)

Oh, and P.S. Your shots are fabulous. As always.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

OK...Now you know what you're up against. What a blessing that you have access to a world class cancer center. You try to get yourself some rest...and don't be afraid to ask people for help. About six years ago, a neighbor of ours was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer...she is one of the strongest people of faith that I have ever known. As she was being wheeled into surgery, she told her doctor that she was going to be cured. Six months later she was cancer free and is one of the healthiest people around. Faith is an amazing thing and we all have faith that your wonderful wife is going to be JUST fine.

Michelle said...

Oh Chris, I am so sorry that your wife has been diagnosed with cancer. Please let her know she will be in my thoughts and prayers.

(((Hugs to all)))

stefanie said...

Chris, words fail me right now. I'm so sorry. I'm still praying for you all. Glad you have quality care so close by, and so many who love you.

Straight to Your Hart said...

Each day keeps coming..with a picture to relfect on..Thank you for giving us your insight. Prayers and much hope!!

lisaschaos said...

I had not heard of this kind of cancer, but I was 38 at diagnosis of colon cancer and I turn 42 tomorrow. :) Please feel free to email (you or your wife) if you need an ear. *hugs*