Wednesday, May 15, 2024


 In the interest of putting both facts, thoughts and a bit of processing all in one place, I’m writing this blog post. It’s Wednesday, one week after Alex’s surgery to remove a cancerous lymph node to be biopsied and one day after he met with the blood cancer specialist. Unfortunately yesterday did not reveal any new information to speak of. The biopsy results are not available yet due to some mix up/trouble the lab is having and the specialist, Dr. Mountjoy, didn’t really have much to tell Alex except that the next step in the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma flow chart is salvage chemo followed by a stem cell transplant.  Oh, and the good news that his odds of survival are 30%, not the measly 20% he was told originally.  So, you know, pretty awesome really.  I mean, who doesn’t jump up and down for joy over the prognosis of extreme suffering and a 30% chance of death?  

Forgive me if I don’t put up the balloons and streamers.

I feel that it’s necessary to clarify here that Alex is a 23 year old adult man.  He’s not a child under our care, we are not making the decisions for him.  He’s a very capable human, I would say more so than most honestly.  He is rational, grounded, clear eyed, faith filled and strong.  He’s young, but he’s actually gone through and done a lot of hard things already. He went through the last 6 months of chemotherapy like a champ and believe me that was not fun. When he got the results of the most recent PET scan almost 3 weeks ago he hit a pretty hard wall.  He took some time to lament, feel the pain and look the reality of his situation in the eye and then he went to work. 

8 months ago when Alex originally got the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 2 unfavorable, he just did the next thing the oncologist told him, which was 6 months of chemotherapy that had an 85% success rate. He went back to studying philosophy (his passion in life) and endured the treatments and made plans for his future.  I mean, an 85% chance!  Those seem like some really decent odds.  So he didn’t dig into researching cancer cause why would he?  85%...the chances of not beating this were minimal.  Enter PET scan from 3 weeks ago and the script has flipped.  Now his Philosophy books sit in a stack off to the side of his computer and the books about cancer are accumulating.  Honestly?  The minute he told me he was going to dig in on cancer research, I breathed out.  I have a lot of confidence that he will discover a way through this.  And if that’s not the outcome, if this road does end horribly, he will have given his survival every ounce of his strength, focus and energy.

So that’s where we stand.  Daniel and I are obviously committed 100% to supporting him and helping him however we can as he navigates the days and road ahead.  To those of you who have been praying, please don’t stop!  In many ways I feel like the journey is just beginning, like the last 8 months were just the slight incline to the trailhead and now we’ve rounded a bend into completely uncharted territory.  By the grace of God alone we will one day find ourselves on the other side of this journey, but that is not today.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

I would like to decline.

If you're here at my blog because you're wondering what's going on with Alex and cancer, then you are not alone, so are we. His PET scan last Friday revealed that the main biggest tumor is still there and hasn't really shrunk since his PET scan in January that looked really good.  His oncologist has referred him to a specialist and he will need to get a biopsy of the big tumor so that they have more information.

Based on how he was doing at the midway mark through the last 6 months of chemo all signs had pointed to success, but that is not where Friday left us.  I was trying my best to hold space for this, but in all honesty... I didn't think this was going to be the outcome.  (Daniel was in Peru when we got the news so he came back a few days earlier than planned just because being so far away when hard news comes is tough). What can I say? Now we wait for the biopsy. Now we wait for the evaluation of the specialist. Now we wait.

What I mostly said to God on Friday was, "NO!"  An emphatic, with all my being "NO!"  If I could by any means possible hit some kind of big red DECLINE button, I would.  But I can't.  There is only one way forward and that is through. And I'm gonna be honest, I don't want to go THROUGH. I don't want Alex to have to go THROUGH... I want an off ramp, a way OUT.  I don't want God to tell me "I will be with you in your pain."  I want him to say, "I'm going to heal Alex and get you out of this."  And before you start thinking, "Wow. What a lack of faith!"  I refer to Jesus:

"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  

Matt 26:39

So at least I'm in good company.