Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our Life After Three Words - You Have Cancer

Earlier this summer my husband, Charles, went to his doctor for a check up. He hadn't been to see a doctor in a number of years. I tend to believe that most men aren't the best at seeking medical attention or at least routine physicals. Yes, I know that's a far reaching statement, but true from the men in my life.

In a series of appointments with his M.D., Shane Keller of Pflugerville, TX, which also included him running a PSA exam they found that there were a few things that warranted further investigation. His doctor scheduled a follow up appointment with a urologist.

I went with Charles to his urology appointment as he needed a driver to take him home afterwards. I hadn't realized that the next followup appointment to gather test results was an in person appointment until the night before.

So on Monday, September 21, 2009 away we went. Charles in his Army Chevy Blazer and me in my car. We were ushered into the room furthest from the front door. I'm not sure why I paid attention to what room we were in other than we kept walking until we couldn't walk any further. Our conversation in that far room was chipper. It was still rather early in the day, I think about 9 or 9:30 am. I noticed a sperm bank brochure and we jokingly talked about it.

Then in walked his urologist, Dr. Sandeep Mistry. Niceties were exchanged. Hello. Good to see you. The usual. Then Dr. Mistry sat down.

The next words were the most impactful. "Well, you have cancer and a lot of it," Dr. Mistry solemnly stated.

Shocked. It was one of those surreal moments. The story you've heard from anyone else diagnosed with cancer was just the same for us. We never thought we'd hear those words. I know Charles never thought he'd hear those words.

In a matter of seconds, we were sitting eyes and ears wide open and fully engaged. I know several people think Dr. Mistry'sstraight forward approach seemed awkward. I on the other hand feel it was the best response we could have had.

My degree was in journalism and I fully recall writing obituaries for a couple of days and we were taught that they should always be written as a matter of fact. Sally Smith died. George Williamson died. They didn't pass away gloriously from this life . . . Factual. Nothing more, nothing less.

We must have spent a good 30-45 minutes listening to Dr. Mistry and asking a few questions that immediately came to mind. Charles and I left the appointment, hugged and went our separate ways. As I drove away I realized I was definitely out of sorts and work was the furthest thing from my mind. I called to check on Charles and he became teary. I told him I would stop by my office to let my manager know that I wouldn't be in that day and that I would meet him back at home.

We spent the rest of the day together, thinking out loud, asking questions, and conversing about the enormity that we had been dealt.

Over the last month we had another appointment with Dr. Mistry after we had time to gather questions and speak with friends and family. All of whom were incredibly supportive and gave us amazing advice. I think reaching out to our family and social networks has been amazing.

In particular to me, I really valued my CEO, Andy Kershner, putting me in touch with his personal friends who helped ease my thoughts on if we had chosen the right doctor to perform the surgery and they gave Dr. Mistry a big two thumbs up. Yay!

Charles too had many of his friends from social online boards he's been on for years reach out to him from around the world.

We married in May of this year and although Charles has a 19 year old son, Jareck and a 11 year old daughter from previous relationships, I at 42 have never had children, but would very much like to experience motherhood. So, we've also had appointments with the Texas Fertility Center, gone to one of their seminars on In Vitro Fertilization and banked future babies. Yes, we're at a point of light-heartedness at this point in our journey.

Early tomorrow morning we will arrive at the Seton Medical Center Williamson and Charles will have a Robotic Prostatectomy. His father had a prostatectomy over a decade ago and we know that the procedure is much less evasive than his father's and with much less scaring, less down time and less blood loss. We know that Dr. Mistry has an amazing track record in successful surgeries.

But beyond all of that I know that our family and friends have poured many prayers over his condition. I know that I serve an amazing God who still works healing miracles today and has laid His hands on my husband and promised him a long and healthy life. I know that his surgery is simply another part of our story as a couple. I know that when I said I do there were vows that went something like . . . in sickness and in health . . .

Thanks to each of you who are walking this part of our journey with us and supporting our steps. We love you!


Wesley Faulkner said...

My dad had his prostatectomy last year and it was very emotional for the whole family. I tweeted the whole experience. Strange right? Well at the time twitter felt like the calm third party though out the whole ordeal and that gave me comfort. Thank you for sharing your story. Let me know if you need to talk, or if there is anything I can do to help.

Andrea Schulle said...

We have experienced WAY too much cancer in our family. My grandfather and my mother-in-law both taken by it. My uncle is fighting. And my step father is a survivor of - prostate cancer.

Please know that I am thinking of you and also here if you need a shoulder.

My dad - a cancer researcher - gave us a great piece of advice when my m-i-l was diagnosed... LAUGH OFTEN as it is the best medicine!

Reisette in Nicaragua said...


You, Charles and family are in my prayers. I know this must be very difficult. Charles is lucky to have you by his side. I have this mental image of the doctor giving you this news and you rushing Charles to the sperm bank - and it is making me giggle. I love that you are looking forward and finding laughter.

Summer said...

Thinking of you both, and sending prayers and happy thoughts your way!