Thursday, January 23, 2014

The C Word

It sure has been a while. After Christopher got out of the Army, we did our best to settle into civilian life and navigate our way through the maze that is the VA. Time started to run together, life became semi-normal as we spent our time fighting the VA and it seemed as though there was really nothing worth going on about. Thursday, December 12th, everything changed.

Christopher had gone to the doctor a few times over the previous months to check out some stomach pains he was experiencing on and off. After waiting out the 90 day delay of switching to a doctor that was actually willing to help, we finally fought our way to a scheduled CT scan. The scan went off without a hitch and we drove home, proud to have finally won the battle for care. During that drive, Christopher missed 8 phone calls from his doctor. As he was checking the message when we walked in the door at home, she called again. He was told he needed to come into the office immediately. Being the stubborn and impatient man he is, he refused and demanded to be told what was happening over the phone. Dr. Patel was initially reluctant and refused multiple times before she finally gave in and promised to call back within 15 minutes after she collected her information.

He hung up the phone and I think time may have actually stopped. Fifteen minutes came and went.  So many thing crossed our minds in that time and our fears grew and grew. An hour later the phone finally rang. My heart raced and I held my breath as I searched Chris' face for any clue as to what might be happening. He said one word: tumor. A big one. The rest of the conversation was a blur of shock and terrifying words no one wants to hear. Only one thing the doctor said seemed to process: I've never seen a tumor this large that was not cancerous.

A colonoscopy was scheduled so a biopsy could be taken. We lived on autopilot for the next six days. The procedure was done and a sample was taken. We were told results would come back in three days.  Miraculously, Dr. Patel called the very next day. That was the day I found out my 26 year old husband has colon cancer. I thought our time living in fear and uncertainty, of Chris' life being in danger, had ended with the Army. I thought our life together would be predictable and boring and safe in the civilian world. But that one word, cancer, was worse than any separation, any deployment. A fear has taken root in my chest that's like nothing I could have imagined and I don't think I've taken a full breath since that call. Deployment taught us to never take a single moment together for granted and although we didn't forget that when Christopher left the Army, it has taken on an entirely new meaning now. With every new detail we learn, each passing moment grows more precious.

How could it not when you learn your husband has a tumor in his large intestine that is bigger than a grapefruit? The doctors are saying it could have been growing for more than ten years. In addition to the tumor, there is also an abnormal spot on his liver that is visible in the scan. It could be nothing, or it could be a sign the cancer has spread. If a biopsy shows the spot is cancerous, the cancer will be in his lymph nodes too. Only time will tell.

Tomorrow is the surgery to remove the tumor and take the biopsies. The surgeon will be creating an incision the entire length of his stomach in order to explore the surrounding area as well as remove the known cancerous areas. Most of his large intestine will be removed. Part of his liver may be taken as well.

All we can do now is wait. And wish. And hope. And pray. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Far From "Square"

Let me just start by saying that being home is amazing! All of the tears and changed dates and Army drama were more than worth it if we get to spend the rest of our lives just as we are now, surrounded by family and friends. I have never been so thankful for my home.

I'm also thankful to be home because now I can go to Michael's and Hobby Lobby whenever I want! No more limited supplies from the one tiny Hawaii craft store when I'm trying to make things from Pinterest! So in celebration of this blessed event, I decided to make a fall wreath.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into Michael's to find a Christmas explosion, with not a fall color in sight! Since I was not about the let Michael's ruin my craft store fun, I took Husband by the hand and forced to him to search high and low for fall crafting supplies. After Husband started to whine, I broke down and asked a Michael's worker where they all of the fall supplies were hiding. Her reaction was nothing like I expected. As soon as the word "fall" passed through my lips, Michael's worker got the most disgusted look on her face, as if she could not believe I had the audacity to even ask for such a thing. She then proceeded to tell me that I was crazy for waiting so long and if there was anything fall left, it would be in the clearance isle.

Husband and I tore through that clearance rack like there was no tomorrow and we managed to scrounge up just enough supplies for my fall wreath. And it only cost me $4.37. Not a bad reintegration into the crafting world if I do say so myself!

Here's how it's done:

Step #1: Get Dad to give you a board of some sort. Then make him cut it to the shape you want.

Step #2: Separate the weird package of leaves and iron down the crinkly ones.
{Do not put the iron directly on the leaves! Iron through a towel or you will be sorry.}

Step #3: Hot glue the leaves to the board, just however.
{Notice I'm working on Mom's ironing board, which happens to be older than I am.}

Step #4: Hot glue any decorations on top of the leaves.
{I got carried away and forgot to take a picture. Dang.}

Step #5: Hang it proudly on the door! 

Now in some cases, there may be a step #6: Get made fun of by your family for making a square wreath.  I don't mind it though, because at least I'm home. :]

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's All About Point of View

A little over a year ago, Husband and I moved out of our apartment, packed all of our goods into storage and checked into the Inn on post. That night, Husband would leave for deployment and I would spend the first of many nights alone.

That room tormented me from the moment I walked in the door. Just knowing that it was the last stop on the countdown to deployment would have been enough to make me hate that hotel room. Of course, with my luck, that wasn't all that made me hate it. Not two minutes after we had stepped foot into the room, a innocent bug flew from the corner toward Husband's face, causing him to throw his phone in defense. Sadly, his phone split in half upon impact, therefore keeping his command from contacting him if necessary. On a normal day, Husband would have cared less. But 4 hours before a deployment and he was a stressed out mess. Not wanting to miss any important information, Husband decided that we should head over to the Battery early, ending whatever couple time we had left.

I can't even begin to describe how I was feeling as we loaded his bags in the car and took that short drive across post. I do, however, remember every detail of that drive, from the street lights shining off of the newly formed rain puddles to the look in Husband's eye: a mix between pride for the mission and the devastation of leaving the one you love behind. As we pulled into the parking lot, all the strength I had left disappeared because for only the second time ever, I saw a tear run down Husband's cheek. Remembering that one tear and those last moments we spent in the car together before Husband had to walk away will always bring an ache to my heart, even if I'm wrapped in his arms. Thankfully though, we will never have to relive those moments again as we are now staying at the Inn on post for a different reason.

Husband is 5 days away from calling himself a civilian!! 

So now, for a very different reason, Husband and I have moved out of our apartment, packed all of our goods for shipment and have checked into the Inn on post. This time around, there is nothing sad about this hotel room because Husband and I are about to start a very exciting new adventure, together.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

Sometimes being a Milspouse housewife waiting to get back to the mainland sucks. 

But if my time as an Army wife has taught me anything, it is this:

I have no patience. 
And it seems I never will. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Swing of Things

When your husband comes home from deployment, it's like falling in love all over again. 

He'll buy you presents...

You'll hug and kiss...

He'll take you on adventures...

And take you out on dates.

Then, when you think it just can't get any better, this starts...

But you'll still love him anyway <3