Monday, March 9, 2015

Saying Bye-bye to Cancer

Greetings friends and family,

What do you do when you find out your wife has stage 4 bone cancer in her spine and a malignant tumor in her ovaries?  What do you tell your seven year old kids?

Never thought I'd have to answer that question, but here I am faced with the reality.  I never paid much attention to all of those situations for friends and family and news stories related to the dreaded "c" word, cancer.  It was always someone else's family or distant friend's problem and journey

Let me start by saying that my wife has cancer, but cancer doesn't have my wife.  It doesn't define her.  It's not her identity.  It's just a temporary reality that needs

I've learned more about tests and procedures and doctors than I ever wanted.  The short version of Kendra's update is that she has two tumors.  One on her uterus the size of an orange and one inside the T12 vertebrae that deteriorated some of the bone close to her spinal cord.

Here are all the good things about Kendra's current situation:

- Kendra's mom is flying in to be with us on Sunday!  There are times in life when Kendra needs her mommy and and this is one of them.
- They found the tumor in her pelvis.  Wait... is this is in the wrong section?  Nope.  This is good news for two reasons.  First, it is almost certainly the place where the trouble started so when this is removed, then the source is gone and we can focus on the vertebrae tumor.  Second, the doctors can get a biopsy from this instead of the invasive biopsy of the one on her spine.
- Kendra is bringing life to her floor in the hospital.  She is encouraging the nurses and sharing God's love with everyone.  It's not what she does.  It's who she is.  it's entertaining to see her calling out the gold in people even in the midst of her intense pain.
- The neurosurgeon doctor is from Barrow Neurological Institute, which is one of the best in the country. We trust these experts
- There is no neurological damage.  She is not experiencing any symptoms of damage to her spinal cord.  The pain and effects are localized and not "traveling".  This means we caught the tumor in time.  With a few weeks
- removal of the tumor in her pelvis will hopefully resolve some other "issues" she's been having for the past couple of months and years because the pressure the tumor has been putting on other organs in her body.  That'll be gone!

Here's what we told our kids...  are you ready for this...  we told them the truth.  We have never lied to them about the Easter bunny, Santa, the tooth fairy or even the lie that if you hold your nose up like a pig that it gets stuck.  We chose to tell them the truth about every question they ask and every detail they need to know ever since the day they were born.  Why?  Simple answer.  They believe us and what we say.  I sat them down in the living room and calmly explained in kid terminology what is happening inside Kendra's body and what the doctors are going to do about it.  I threw in some beliefs about what God can and will do as a way to set the expectations for Him to provide the miracle she needs.

I'm giving the truth in love, which does NOT include fear or torment.  There was not a single quiver of my voice or doubt in my mind that this will turn out any other way than complete restoration of Kendra's health.  I want them to see a massive scale of what surrender looks like when I reach the end of my own abilities and strength.  I don't have to hide behind fake smiles and half-hearted "hopes" because I'm not limited to my own power.  I'm only limited by how much of God's power I allow to flow through me.  Kids aren't stupid.  They are very observant and discerning.

One of the most peculiar moments over the past few days is how this phrase rings true.  "Life goes on".  I rode bikes with the twins down to the park in our greenbelt.  They saw the big grassy hill and asked, "can we roll down the hill?"  It was newly mowed and covered in bits of grass.  Inside I was thinking, "i don't want them to get all covered in grass." but I said, "OK!  go for it."  They rolled down several times with lots of hysterical laughs.

It was worth it.  I had to dust them off, then strip down their clothes in the laundry room and vacuum up all the bits that followed them to their room. In the end, is it really a big deal?  Nope.  life goes on even in the midst of mind-boggling sickness, disease, and pain.  This is exactly what I want the twins to experience:  Life in the midst of circumstances.  They are silly and funny and wonderful.  That shouldn't be taken away from them no matter what else is going on in their own life or the lives of those around them.

Life goes on...  I took Easton to the dentist on the day Kendra went to the hospital.  We thought he might have some problems with his teeth, but it turned out to be nothing at all.  This was the best news I heard all day.

Our Pastor came by to visit a couple of times.  We've been through a lot together in the past few years and this is just one more of those bonding experiences.  You learn so much about your combat buddies when you're in a foxhole together.  He and I are battle-worn veterans in some ways.

I spent a few hours over the past day lying next to Kendra in bed.  Just being close to her and having those moments provides a calm in the eye of the storm.

Kendra's visitors have been steady and helpful.  So many caring people who stopped by and gave her encouragement, prayer, flowers, and friendship.

This is a moment I'll never forget.  I'm standing next to Kendra as she stares out the window blankly.  This is the most helpless I have ever felt and at the same time the most hopeful.  I was helpless because there is not a single thing I can do to affect the outcome. I was hopeful because I saw a vision of the future where life is back to normal and this whole situation is just a story we tell people.  There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.  I'm not sure how long night lasts or when morning will come, but when it does I will be the biggest celebrating fool on the planet.

The twins have visited Kendra in the hospital a few times.  Just enough for them to have some mommy-time, but not so much that they bother the nurses or other visitors.  They both prayed for Kendra and put their little hands gently on her stomach while speaking life into her body with great faith.  I'm a proud dad.  Situations like the one we are navigating can either destroy a family or bring it together.  I've never heard of one with no effect at all.  it's pretty clear which direction the 4 Webbs are going:  forward, together, united in health.

See you soon!

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