Two weeks ago, we found ourselves reeling from a triple whammy that hit us bad. In one week, we woke up to the news that my father-in-law had stage 4 cancer of the lungs that had metastasized to his spine, a sister-in-law had stage 1 breast cancer, and that Lydia’s mammogram tests showed that she had a new lump on her right breast as well.
But before we could even allow ourselves (Lydia and I) to feel that our world was about to crash once more, we rushed to comfort our two relatives and dealt with their realities first. Through the next days, we learned more and more about the seriousness of dad’s situation. Lydia and the family have been spending a lot of time with him and have vowed to be constantly there to support him. Lydia has also been going out of her way to help Vangie, my sis-in-law understand the stages she is about to go through.
But in between caring for both of them, Lydia also had to undergo more tests during the next few days to further explore the suspicious growth on her right breast suggested in her mammogram. After a few days, all the tests were completed. Strangely, even if all the test results were at the house, none of us wanted to open the envelope. I, for one did not want to come to uninformed conclusions while looking at tests results I knew nothing about and getting unnecessarily morbid. Lydia and I felt it was best to let the doctor look at it for us. Meanwhile, we slept the following nights in shallow comfort.
Thursday came and at 9AM, we were at Lydia’s oncologist’s office for her appointment. This was D-day when we would know whether we would have to go through the whole ordeal once more—-operation, chemo, radiation, hair loss, physical suffering, etc. He looked at each test result expertly—-blood, bone, liver, kidney, lungs, and then went to study the ultrasound sheets which was to clarify the findings in the mammogram. All the time, we waited in quiet anxiety. Then, one by one, he pronounced ‘clear’ after reading each test, much to our relief which turned into absolute delight a few seconds after.
She was spared, thank God! And while that’s a blessing, we will need all the strength now to care for two other people we love who will need all our support. Just as they were there for us, it is now our turn to be there for them.
This will be the third year in the last 4 years that we are dealing with cancer in the family. Our past cancer bouts had given us a wealth of experience which will now come in handy. If we had to go through it again, hard as it is, we would now know what to do. Once more, a long year lies ahead for us. With God’s grace, this too shall pass.