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!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Canadian Cheese Soup Hits The Spot

Cooler weather has hit Central Texas sooner than most Octobers and it has me in the mood to cook and bake and make soup!

I made my all time favorite, in fact I think it's the only soup I actually make - not one I reheat from a can, last week and messaged about it in Twitter and Facebook and had a few requests for the recipe. I had a feeling that there might be others that would also enjoy its yumminess.

Thanks to Momma Marian who shared it with my family probably over 20 years ago now.

Canadian Cheese Soup

1/4 onion
2 stalks celery chopped
2 carrots grated
1 qt (2 14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
3/4 lb Velvetta cheese
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c flour
5 oz evaporated milk
5 oz water

Saute veggies in butter. Add flour and stir. Stir in broth. Simmer on low temperature for 1 hour. Add milk, water and cheese. Stir over low heat until melted. Serves 4.

Momma Marian commented on my post of making it over the last few days and said she added it on top of broccoli recently. She also indicated serving it with Oyster Crackers when she originally shared it.

Personally, I don't know why I hadn't thought of it earlier, but I think I'm going to add some bacon to it next time. Wowza!

Oh, it's probably not the healthiest thing you'll enjoy this winter.