Sunday, June 26, 2011


Where We Are
Intramucosal carcinoma.  Just two words, but the gravity they contain can be life changing.

With those medical reference words, our lives together as a family have taken a detour we did not expect.  But let me state at the outset that our likely venture into the world of cancer treatment may very well be a modest one.  As we have learned in the past weeks, there are so many more who are assaulted by cancer to a degree we cannot even begin comprehend.

For the past several months, my wife Nancy had been having some unusual digestive issues, and so, she went to see the doctor.  After that visit, an early colonoscopy was referred, and after the pathology reports came back, we now are familiar with two new words.  A quick word of warning and advice.  Nancy's maternal grandfather likely died of colon cancer.  If you have ANY history of colon cancer in your family, go get a colonoscopy.  NOW.

These words led us to this place, The City of Hope in Duarte, and to a kind and informative surgeon.  Nancy will be having further endoscopic look-sees soon, and then likely minor surgery to remove the balance of the cancerous tissue in July, and at this point we are quite hopeful the surgery will be the only significant milestone we have in the world of cancer.  But we do not know where this will end.  We can only, well, Hope.  I think we are at the right place for that.

What This Might Mean
One does not wake up on a Friday morning and decide, "I think today I will go to a national cancer center and walk the halls, just to see what it feels like."  But last Friday found me doing just that, as I waited for Nancy to complete the scheduling process of her future visits.  And what a walk it was.  Without knowing, my walk led me past the pediatric oncology offices.  There, looking in the door as I passed was a boy of no more than 7, with a bald head and surgical mask, staring into the aquarium in the waiting room.  As I felt my heart rising in my throat, suddenly, right there, our family journey with two words had its proper perspective.

I am not going to tell you a story of how our majestic and exemplary faith has made this experience thus far entirely free of questions or worry.  Simply stated, we do not know where we are headed on this journey.  But we do know this; we are not going alone.  Over the past days we have been embraced by friends and family with notes, and cards, and even flowers (save those, please, they are a bit creepy at this point in the process), but mostly with love.  We are at peace, knowing also that we are not alone in the Universe.  These two medical reference words now with us, these words do not define us.  They are not larger than we are.

In the midst of this, we are reminded that we do not travel this road alone.   There is One who knows our way, and walks these halls with us.  He knows the way we will go.

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