“Cancer is only going to be a chapter in my life, not the whole story.” -Joe W.

chemo day
Chemo (March 2016)

Justin started a new chemo in February and it came with a lot of new stress and worry. It was really hard to have to stop the other chemo, but we had no other choice. I felt like we were starting from square one again. I have bad anxiety with each scan Justin gets. I can never sleep the night before. The day of the results I can’t eat, so much so that I end up making myself physically sick. With each new scan my mind takes me to dark places. I’m a slave to anxiety, it consumes all of me. I let it control my mind and make me believe things that I don’t want to think about. It makes each step we take with this cancer journey ten times harder.

Now that he is starting this new chemo my anxiety is on an extremely higher level than usual. We don’t really have other options after this chemo. I felt like the stakes were higher with this scan to see if this new chemo would work. The doctors wanted him to do two weeks of the new chemo before doing the scan. In my mind I pushed thinking about it aside until the last possible second. The day of the scan I could barely get out of bed without feeling like I needed to throw up. I still feel worried even though Justin has been feeling great lately. He felt like he could breath better and didn’t fee like he needed to sleep with his oxygen. Even when he tells me these things I still feel anxious.  Justin said that he would be getting a phone call with the results that day. I went to work but I couldn’t focus all day and wouldn’t let my phone leave my side. Finally around 10am Justin texted me “Just heard from them! No growth!” This is usually the point I am not longer a slave and feel free again. That pain in my chest is gone and I feel this weight lift from me. I felt so relieved that this new chemo was keeping the tumor from growing. They said it hadn’t shrunk, but it was preventing it from growing. That was good news! For a tiny moment I allowed myself  to imagine a life without the stress of cancer. Maybe someday things will be okay and we can just live our life. I just pray this chemo helps shrink it.

As of right now the doctors are planning to do this chemo for about a year. Then they will get together and decide where to go from there. The cancer he has is so rare that we are basically trying the “trial and error” option. Maybe the cure for Justin’s cancer has not been invented yet. We just don’t know what our future holds.

What we do know is that we want to move on with our lives. Justin will most likely go back to school and do chemo. Right now he does outpatient chemo. He goes in one day for a couple hours and then a week later goes in for another drug for a couple hours. He then gets two weeks off and does the same thing over again. This chemo has been a lot better on his body than the other one. He doesn’t get nauseous like he did with his first chemo. He gets a sore mouth and the nerves in his feet make them ache. We are grateful the side effects are not as bad as they have been in the past with other chemo drugs. We are trying to stay hopeful and positive. We are just trying to move on with our lives and live as normally as possible.

*Justin’s experience with outpatient chemo

I will carry the Faith for you!

A year ago today was the day we got the results back from Justin’s surgery. He had been in remission for a year when they found the tumor. We had to wait two weeks to get the results back from the lab. I was driving home from work when I got the news.  The jelly stuff they found was cancer. As Justin told me I got teary eyed but stayed strong on the phone for him. He had to go get another scan, but he felt he needed to be with me. I assured him I would be fine so that he would go get the scan. I hung up the phone and completely lost all composure.

A little part of me just wanted to drive my jeep into the wall and forget all my problems. I called my parents, but could barley tell them. I couldn’t speak or breathe. From the sounds and moans I was making my mom knew there was no way I could be alone. When I got home I could barley drag myself inside. When I walked in I just collapsed on the kitchen floor. As soon as I hit the floor I  screamed at the top of my lungs, barely taking breaths in between screams. I could only feel anger inside. My soul filled with hatred.  How could this be cancer again?! What did we do wrong to deserve this again?  Not only was cancer back in our lives, it was an unknown type of cancer. There was no positive responses like the first time we found out he had cancer, no “this it totally beatable” –  it was all negative. I lost all hope. This is what can happen when I’m left alone with my mind.

            At this point my aunt was driving over to my house because my mom knew I couldn’t be alone. When she showed up I could barely get up to answer the door. She came in and just held me and she helped calm me down. The only thing I could think of that could help me was a blessing. Justin was at his scan, my dad lives in another state so I called my Grandpa. It wasn’t until I got that blessing that I was able to completely calm down.  The anger and hatred was immediately replaced with peace.

Basically our situation does not look good. We have a lot of odds against us with no known cures. Not a lot of options chemo wise. From an outsider looking in I could see how easy it is to lose faith. Let me assure you now, I will carry the faith for you. Justin and I have had the most beautiful spiritual experiences through this trial. The blessings we have received have been so powerful and given us so much strength. I am so grateful for the priesthood. I cling to those blessings and their words. They get me out of bed each morning and they help me to keep moving forward. From an insider to an outsider let me assure you that I truly believe things will be okay.

feb surgery
February surgery (two weeks before results)