My heart is truly breaking and saddened to share what I am about to share today. I felt it is time to share the personal situation that we are facing at a family right now. You see we recently found out that the love of my life... my very best friend in the entire world has cancer. In fact, right now is in the hospital at the Huntsmen Cancer Institute.
What started out as swollen lymph nodes a couple months ago is now advanced and spreading. Ty has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma T-Cell peripheral cancer. I have spend the last couple of months praying that it was just a really bad infection, going through denial, acceptance and supporting my best friend through it all.
I married the love of my life 17 years ago and that is simply not enough time with him. I have tried to keep our family life normal. I took over as much responsibility as I could to help. I rarely sleep and tried to keep up with my work commitments. I even went to South Africa to teach and taught in Johannesburg and had to leave to get back to Tyler when he wasn't doing well and was hospitalized. He got a infection after chemotherapy and I flew home right away. I cried nonstop both to and from S. Africa. I missed teaching my workshop in Cape Town SA. I felt so sad to disappoint the students but I knew that my husband and children needed me. The time I was in S. Africa was beautiful and amazing.
I cannot even think how to even express the emotions of my heart at this time. I've had so many ask questions about his condition so I thought I would share what occured.
My husband found two swollen lymph nodes in June. Since he is a doctor he thought he had a infection and decided to treat himself with antibiodics. Within days he was feeling symptoms... being hot, tired, starting to feel some pain from the "now growing larger" lymph nodes. Then more lymph nodes in his neck and head appeared. They were getting bigger and he was feeling more uncomfortable.
The lymph nodes grew so fast. Ty had them in several areas of his body. If you read online it says to wait a month to see if you are fighting a infection and so he did. At this point, our kids knew dad was not feeling well and that the lymph nodes were growing. They now were causing Ty not to be able to do the things he wanted to. He went to work and would come home and head to bed. I think we were both in denial and wanted to think it was a REALLY bad infection.
Watching someone you love in pain and not being able to help them is pure torture. It came to a point that Ty was experiencing severe pain, night sweats and so many lymph nodes swollen that we knew it was serious and needed prompt medical attention.
Tyler made an appointment with his friend (his friennd/ physician). Upon seeing Ty and all his symptoms insisted he do a CAT scan right away and blood work. He knew that something major was going on and wanted him to get to the bottom of it. The blood work showed an infection. This gave me hope that he was going to be okay. We can deal with an infection, right?
The CAT scan showed very large lymph nodes throughout his body and in his abdomen. The evening after the CAT scan they called us to head to the ER room right away since the nodes were compressing 30% of one of the valves- the blood flow going back to his heart. This was the beginning of the nightmare that we have not woke up from. They called back minutes later and told us to wait to come up to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. They wanted us to meet with the Lymphoma oncologist. My head was spinning and it has been spinning since.
We found we would need further testing including a echo cardio gram, bone marrow biopsy, and surgical biopsy of a lymph node. After a week of nonstop tests at the Huntsmen Cancer Institute, lots of blood test and meeting with Dr. Sweetenham we learned what we were facing.
As we sat in the treatment room, I wanted to cry but I knew I needed to be strong for my husband. I knew that with every fiber of my body that I would do anything to help him get him better. CANCER... agressive cancer. I immediately knew that we were going to face this journey with my husband with a fight.
I had for days been having a gentle reminder from God..."ENDURE IT WELL." I knew this was going to be the biggest trial and journey that we would do together during our marriage. The doctors advised us to NOT go online. It's not positive and encouraging and well, I choose to live with faith that he can and will be healed. Call it denial or whatever... I don't care. I am not going to give up hope. I can't and I won't. I am so thankful for my faith at this time. It really is what keeps me going. I have to be strong for him and our children. There is NO other option.
I can't lie... this has not been easy for us. Many tears have been shed and my children are scared. Ty is very emotional and we are trying hard to keep him encouraged. I have accepted that is okay to cry but to try to not do it around him. He needs me to be strong and to be his rock. As much as I can, I am trying to keep life as normal as possible for our children while Ty's getting treatment- chemotherapy. After his last chemo treatment Ty will have to have a bone marrow transplant (they said at least a month in the hospital), followed by months at home trying to recover. He will no longer be able to practice medicine and we are preparing to shut down his practice.
I knew I needed to encourage our family to keep doing the things they always did without feeling guilty (enjoying hobbies, playing sports, spending time with friends, and so on). Children, especially, benefit from the routine, but adults also find that it offers them an anchor for day-to-day life. I have no idea how to handle any of this. I just know that I would do anything for my husband. I am going on little sleep and have a hard time concentrating on anything.
I have went to all his appointments and held his hand. I wish I could do more. I am blessed that I can design and work from home. God has blessed me to have times when I accomplish much and feel inspired even during this difficult time. I see the great blessing in that I can work and provide for my family as needed.
One of the things I am is a optimistic person. I can't help it...it's just who I am. I am waking up each night about 3 am and can't sleep because my mind is racing to come to grips with this. I am desperate to find a way to support encourage and keep my family going. I knew from the very beginning that as his caregiver I was going to be his biggest cheerleader. I believe it's paramount that we handle his cancer together with the right attitude.
If you want to live, you have to have that attitude going into it, and throughout the entire experience. You must put your heart and soul into the desire to want to conquer it. You simply can't give up and I remind him of this many times each day. It is attitude, attitude, attitude. I just see no other option but to fight this battle together. I have hope. It's a simple as that. The internet will tell me otherwise and scare me. I am thankful to have a testimony of Jesus Christ and believe all things are POSSIBLE through him.
So if you wonder why I may have not been texting, emailing, posting as much well you know why now. I need to express my deepest gratitude to my wonderful friends, neighbors and family who have helped us with so much support. It is so appreciated. A very special thanks to Taylor who works for Ty and has had so much to do to help during this time. Also, Tyler's mother has went above and beyond and even moved in with us temporarily to help us. We are united as a family to support him and each other.