Since Jake and I have started navigating our way through his diagnosis, this week created the most emotional outrage from me thus far. Some, including myself, may wonder why this week and not the week of February 1st when we first heard the word “lymphoma”, or the week of February 8th when Jake had to have a biopsy on his “enlarged mass”, or when we heard the diagnosis of “Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma” created the most upheaval.
I think the easiest way for me to explain this is that at all those times, we were getting answers we so desperately wanted and were moving at what felt like a rapid pace. This past month my weeks have started and ended on Wednesday’s with our big doctor’s appointments. Although my emotions have been all over the place, I have been able to keep it together in front of others fairly well.
Until February 22nd. I went into the day with high hopes believing that on Jake’s 28th birthday and Ash Wednesday, we were finally going to know the stage of his cancer , if it is in his bone marrow and discuss the plan for chemo.
Prior to our 12:30 appointment with Dr. Brown, I was all nerves. I started cleaning our house (huge stress reliever for me), had a tummy ache and was not my normal self. I think my body knew before I did what was in store for us. Dr. Brown informed Jake and I the good news that the cancer is not in his bone marrow, that he is in Stage II and the unfortunate news that his heart isn’t pumping at 100%. In order to move forward, a follow-up appointment with a cardiologist was necessary. He also wanted us to see the radiologist to discuss radiation treatment and wait to hear from the Mayo Clinic on the results of their second opinion.
During this appointment, Dr. Brown casually mentioned that it was not an “emergency” that Jake begin chemo right away. I am sure the look on my face and how I tried so hard to keep from becoming unglued right then and there was enough for Jake to know that there was no going back. I, as calmly as I could, asked Dr. Brown why Jake starting chemo right away was not an “emergency”. Sensing my nerves beginning to unravel, Dr. Brown explained that in order to best treat Jake and prepare him for chemo, his body needs to be at his best with all health information known. I was able to hear this, take a couple of deep breathes and calm down. Dr. Brown stated that after these appointments we would meet again the following Wednesday and possibly be able to start chemo the Thursday for Friday after. Finally, what I was waiting to hear.
Breathe. In and out. Slowly.—
Libby Bouma (@libbybouma) February 22, 2012
After every appointment, Jake and I sit down with the scheduler to go over what the doctor ordered and set up our next appointment. As we sat down, the lady informed us that because she had to get approval from our insurance first, we would have to wait to hear from her about these appointments. She then laughed and said something to the effect of reading the orders wrong, that we actually don’t need insurance approval and that she would get these scheduled and call us back. When I asked her to schedule our next Wednesday appointment, she told us that there was no point in doing that because these tests/appointments may not even get done before next Wednesday. Unfortunately, this is when I became unglued. I am sure my blood pressure went up as I, as politely as I could, asked the lady to schedule us an appointment, because the tests/appointments would get done and we would be meeting with Dr. Brown next Wednesday. She promptly looked at the schedule and made us an appointment.
I. Want. To. Scream.—
Libby Bouma (@libbybouma) February 22, 2012
I walked out of the doctor’s office flooded with emotions. My husband is sick and in my opinion, desperately needs to start chemo so that we can get this cancer out of his body. While my mind can comprehend the importance of making sure his health is checked out, my heart is struggling to keep up.
Jake, being the amazing husband he is, listened to me vent and helped me move past that moment. We were able to enjoy a nice lunch at Dios Rios and move on with our day.
Ash Wednesday was a beautiful service and one that had me shedding some tears. The message on patience and not putting off what can be done today was just the message I needed to hear.
Jake and I then enjoyed a delicious dinner at Centro to celebrate his 28th year on this earth.
To my delight, the scheduler called early Thursday morning with the scheduled appointments.
I think the hardest part about this week and this whole process is the waiting. I get that things take time, but when you have someone close to you that is sick and all you want to do is have them get better, waiting on tests to be done and plans to be put into place is the hardest thing.