Life has thrown my family a little curve ball and hearing the word cancer is one, we never thought we would ever hear.
Our entire world changed on May 25, 2018. As our 6 year old daughter and I were on a school field trip, my husband, Chris was on his way to have a CT scan done in Canmore, AB. As the afternoon ended I was full of thoughts that we would have my Husband/Daddy meet us for some ice cream, just the three of us. Daddy, little girl, Mommy and cool treats, what a perfect way to end the work week.
That was not the case, one phone call quickly changed everything for us. On his way back from getting his CT scan he was called and told to immediately get to a hospital. When he asked if it made a difference which hospital to go to, he was told the Foothills Hospital. I can only imagine the thoughts going through his head as he made the drove to the hospital alone. I wasn’t told any of this until the field trip was over.
If you have never met my husband he is one of the strongest men I know, he’s kind, hard working, funny, outgoing, always willing to help anyone in need and loves us immensely. He never wants anyone to worry about him, which is why I didn’t find out everything right away. He’s the most amazing husband, I love him so and the absolute love of our little girls world. The two have a bond unlike any I’ve seen and makes this all that much more difficult to go through.
Once Chris got to the hospital he was admitted and not aloud to leave. We quickly learned that the CT showed Chris had an enlarged spleen with a mass attached to it. The moment we heard the word mass, as much as you try to fight your mind going to all the dark places it kind of has a mind of it’s own. Looking back, Chris had been complaining of his side hurting him off and on since March, now his pain level is very different from others. He can take a lot before he needs to ask for help and for him to mention it set of some alarms for me. The area of stomach where his spleen is was swollen and you could actually see a sizeable bulge. Now we sit in a hospital waiting for a decision to be made on how to remove his spleen. It was so enlarged that they worried about it rupturing. Finally after days of sitting and waiting a plan of action was made. Splenectomy surgery was going to happen to remove the spleen and mass. We learned just how important a spleen is to the body, it basically is your immune system and just how scary a common cold would affect him.
We took this small window to get a day pass to meet with our daughter who was staying with my parents. This was such a hard conversation to have, she is 6 and we didn’t want to scare her. She needed to know that Daddy was going to have surgery. It was an emotional moment and she was clearly concerned about her Dad just as he was talking to her. After answering all her questions and ending things playing at the park, she was back to smiling.
On May 29th, Chris had a long 4.5 hour surgery to remove the very fragile spleen. It was an incredibly intense operation when you wait for your loved one to come out of surgery all the thoughts that go through your mind are terrifying. You keep telling yourself he’s in the best hands possible and all will be ok. Once out of surgery, we found out that along with his spleen 5 other surrounding lymph nodes were removed by the surgeon. A typically spleen is 11 cm long, Chris’s was 17 cm and the mass attached was 14 cm. We were shocked and the scar from the cut now goes across his entire stomach. Recovery time from this surgery is 6 weeks and it’s a slow process. Seeing him unable to do simple tasks like walk up the stairs or give our daughter a proper hug, breaks my heart and I know it upsets him as well. At this point the only thing left to do was to continue to heal and wait for the biopsy results…I wish that this is where the story ends.
Unfortunately that is not the case. Chris was released on June 4th, the only information we were given was that he had cancer. That moment shook us to our core and we felt like the wind was sucked out of us. We had to be patient and wait for the proper biopsy results being done on his spleen and the mass. I don’t wish this on anyone! Chris was sent for a PET scan done on June 6th, they injected him with some dye that would glow showing where any other cancer could be hiding. The waiting part to all of these tests were getting to us and we just wanted to know what we were dealing with. Finally a Doctor’s appointment was scheduled for June 16th and we finally learned the biopsy results.
Chris was diagnosed Stage 3 with an aggressive form of Diffuse Large B Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The PET scan also showed there are 6 other lymph nodes that are cancerous. A plan had been made to start chemotherapy as soon as possible. His first treatment was on June 18 and was harder on me then him. I knew once the IV was started that this was really happening…..my husband has cancer. Treatment happens every 3 weeks, pills taken everyday and this will continue until it’s needed. We have been very open with our 6 year old and have told her that Daddy is sick and needs “special” medicine made just for him. We don’t want to use the word Cancer to her, it seems everyone has a scary story when it comes to that word and she is only 6. She asked if his hair would fall out, we answered yes and let her know that it will grow back. Her medicine aka Tylenol isn’t the same as Daddy’s so she is safe. These talks are the hardest. We have another PET scan booked after the 4 treatment appointment to see how the cancer is reacting to the chemo. We are continuing to stay positive and trying our best to let laughter play it’s part. Some days are better then others, but we are not willing to give up.
Our world has been spinning, this has been a lot to take in and it’s been happening so quick. We’ve been blessed with family and friends surrounding us with their love and support. The messages, cards, food and treats being brought to us have helped so much. Everyone keeps asking how they can help and we’ve always said, we aren’t sure, but will ask when we need it. We are proud people and normally the ones helping those around us without any hesitation. Well we need that help more then ever….
This is the part that I would have never thought we would need and that is financial help. We are a single family income home and blessed to live off Chris’s income allowing me to stay at home and raise our daughter. Chris will be off work for some time, expected date to return to work is January 2019. We were not expecting to hear this. As things have changed financially I’ve started a part time job, but learning that as Chris goes through his treatment he will need me to help take care of him not to mention normal day to day living of our daughter. He needs your help, I need your help, our daughter needs your help.
Any amount given is never expected, but will be incredibly appreciated as we take on the biggest fight of our lives. Bless each of you and from all of us we Thank you.
Here is our email address if you would like to contact us directly.
“This is a small sentence in the book of us.”