Choosing to make lemonade…

I know I’ve been posting a lot lately, and who knows if the pace will keep up, but for now it’s a nice escape and release for me.  If you’re bored with all the extra posts, feel free not to read.  I’ll make sure to post the words “Kevin Update” in the title if there’s important health information to share.

A long time ago, I had a blog before everyone and their brother was blogging.  My ACTUAL brother is a software engineer, and so he wrote some blogging software for me back in 1999 or 2000 and set up a site for me.  I happily shared my life as I journeyed across the country pursuing my dream of acting.  I was in a few movies and television shows and enjoyed posting pictures and stories and was always very open and honest.  I drew a lot of traffic because as search engines were gaining in popularity, people would find me when searching for info about certain movies or shows that I’d been in.  Somewhere along the way, I had a few experiences where people said some not nice things, and even my very own stalker.  It was scary, I was young, and so I just stopped.

I have tried on and off again many times since we’ve gotten married to blog with any sense of regularity.  For whatever reason, I never had anything I felt either comfortable blogging about or that seemed interesting enough to write about.

Sadly, a need to communicate with a large group of people the details of our recent challenges has been the impetus to get me back into this world.  But I do truly enjoy writing, and have long wanted to blog more regularly.  I hope that this space will not feel to me or you like it has to be limited to only “cancer news”.  I enjoy taking pictures of our family life, the world around me, and telling stories and giving advice (probably a little too freely!) about all the little hacks and things  I’ve figured out in home-making and kid wrangling and organizing and ADHD living withing that have made our life a little easier.  I have long wanted to “get it together” enough to share about these things.  The perfectionist in me  has wanted to wait until I had the perfect site setup, the perfect office setup, the perfect, oh gosh, I don’t know what.  Anyway, one of the MANY MANY things I’m learning through all of this is to let go of perfection.

So here is yet another un-related to cancer post (thank goodness, because I’m sick of talking about it all the time!)

Last night, as I was barely hanging in with my two sick kids, watching the clock and expecting Kevin to walk in the door at 5:30, he called and said something big broke at work at 4:00 and that he wouldn’t be home on time.  He didn’t get home until 7:30, exhausted and in pain (because he’d been so busy working he’d forgotten to take his pain pill).  He also told me he was going to have to go in Saturday morning.  Bless that man, he told me he was going to not take his pain pill so that he could drive and I wouldn’t have to pack up the kids and take him in at 7 in the morning.  This is truly the most thoughtful man I’ve ever met.  I told him we did not need to consider that and began to think about which of our friends were early risers.  A quick call to our dear friend Jeff who does amazing things with programs like Pride for Parents, and the 5AM riser said he’d be happy to pick Kevin up and take him to work at 7AM.

That of course left me yet again alone with kids who were sick, whiny, and contagious.  Ergo, I couldn’t call in for reinforcements.  I woke up in the morning, got Kevin off and prayed.  I remembered what our old pastor from LA told me that I need to pray that “THIS is the day the Lord has made.  Rejoice and be glad in it.”  Every day will be a challenge in different ways, and every day I have a choice to make.  Do I lean on the Lord for strength, patience, and courage, or do I get depressed and feel sorry for myself.  I decided that today I would be positive and try to make lemonade.

I went in to get the kids and Evie was still asleep.  Not a good sign that she was doing better.  After getting Jude up and ready, Evie woke up, I changed her and brought the kids into the kitchen for “breakfast”.

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For Evie, it was more of Tim’s now becoming famous chicken soup.  Sweet Jude decided to join her on the blanket.


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Poor thing laid her head down right there on the kitchen floor.  Again Jude decided he’d join “sister”.


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Checking on her.


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“Mommy, she doesn’t look like she’s feeling very well.”


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Let’s give her some cheerios.  Who cares if we eat them on the kitchen floor?

After breakfast, we put the poor thing right back to bed.  I decided to head upstairs with Jude and make him watch television that is inappropriate for his age with me (i.e. Glee).  Let’s just say he was more than happy to watch TV any chance he gets.  I’m starting to think that kid is addicted!

After Evie woke up from her morning nap, she seemed in MUCH better spirits.  She’s still got a fever, but things are staying down, at least chicken soup is!  Again, I’m gonna count my blessings where I can take ’em.  She ate about a bowl and a half of dry cheerios and more chicken soup, and even tried some pedialyte out of a mug!

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Sick, and that kid is STILL smiling!

Kevin’s still not home, I’ve got Jude in time out (for horrifying me by picking up my VERY expensive camera and even more expensive lens (I have to give it to him, he did put the strap around his neck, not that that would have helped much as he’s not as tall as the strap).  Evie’s sitting next to me in her clipon chair watching classic sesame street videos on youtube.  And I am choosing right now to cherish these moments, the tantrums, the very nearly dropped cameras, the sick babies, the times when I am weary beyond measure and yet know that this is really only the beginning.  I am choosing right now to embrace it instead of wish it away.  To open my arms and my heart and to say, Lord, lead me.  Lord, teach me.  Lord, let me feel and learn and know what I need to know, even just to make lemonade for this one day.

More sickness… but not what you think

It’s seriously getting almost comical at this point.

So far we’ve refrained from listing all of the crazy sucky things that have happened in the last few months in our lives.  We had a transmission fail on our minivan, three days after buying it.  A tree fell through our backyard two days after closing on our house.  We got random flat tires, tickets, crazy title mix-ups on our car loan.  Evie got a urinary tract infection and I spent the day at the urgent care with her the day after moving into our new house.  Our moving in date was pushed back three times due to contractor delays.  And oh yeah, there was the whole melanoma thing.  Kevin had his first surgery 5 days after we moved into our house.

I had planned my first portrait party for tomorrow with the members of my church as my first “guests”.  The idea is a twist on mini-sessions where I have a holiday party and families book in 30-45 minute sessions at a reduced rate and come hang out at the house and get pictures taken and hang out with friends all at once.  I was doing a very special one for my church family because so many of them are missionaries and living off of support.  I was doing this so that they could afford to have nice family pictures for the holidays.  The party had already been pushed back a week because of Kevin’s surgery.  I was really really excited about doing this.  This was my gift to my friends, and was also a small fundraiser to help kickstart our medical co-pay and parking fund for when Kevin starts having his daily radiation and chemo treatments.  But mostly, I was excited because it was something “normal” to do, one of my  many dreams and visions for our first holiday season in our new home.

Once again, God has different plans.  Evie has had “stomach problems” for the past few days, and I’d chalked it up to eating too much fruit and fiber.  But when she woke up this morning covered in dried vomit from the night (tell this story to your teenage friends if you want to give them some good birth control reminders) I knew something more was wrong.  I checked her temp and sure enough 100.1

By naptime both kids had 100 degree fevers and after naptime, let’s say things had gotten so bad both kids had to take a bath.  I knew then it was time to cancel the party, as bugs like this can spread fast and furious and that’s the last thing anyone from my church wants.

I really do try to sound positive on this blog, but it’s times like this that I start to get down, start to feel sorry for myself.  It’s just that SO MANY things have been flying fast and furious at us.  I remember reading a story called Average Waves in Unprotected Waters Wear Down Mountains.  That’s kind of how I’m feeling right now.

After the second call to the doctor, he said that if I couldn’t get Evie to drink any fluids in the next 3-4 hours, I’d need to take her to the ER for fluids, as she was quickly becoming dehydrated.  She’d thrown up the gatorade and wouldn’t touch the pedialyte, but on the advice of a friend, I tried some of the magical O’Mara chicken soup, warmed slightly and ladled into her bottle.  It took a little coaxing, but she finally started to chug it down!

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Tim and Becky’s chicken soup saves us from a trip to the ER

Hooray for small victories, like being saved from a trip to the ER.  My new friend Maiya, who is my across the street neighbor brought us some more diapers and cooked us a meal.  Yet again, little did I know I’d really need someone else to handle dinner for me.  I’m really starting to understand why people bring food when stuff like this happens.

Oh yeah, then Kevin calls and says he has to work late because of a big emergency at the office.  I don’t mind, it’s part of his job description to have to occasionally work late, but it came again at a particularly inopportune time.

But.  When I start to feel like throwing myself a little pity party, I am reminded of blessing after blessing after blessing.  Two of them being these.

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Oh my, I don’t believe I have a 100 degree fever!

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Me either

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Chicken soup for the soul

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Stomach bugs are for losers

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I’ll just look stinkin’ cute instead

The promised update… HOPE

Wednesday morning was Kevin’s one week follow-up with our surgical oncologist.  It was a bit of a rough morning getting out of the house.  Our friend T had come over to babysit, and I think with everything that had been going on the past few weeks, Jude had just had it with sitters.  He was really losing and usually I just leave quickly, knowing he gets over it more quickly that way.  But his crying was just breaking my heart, and I was aching to be spending the morning playing with him instead of us headed to yet another doctor’s appointment.  The extra time spent with him meant we were late getting out the door.  It started raining pretty heavily once we got on the road, and that slowed us down even more.  Then I took a couple of wrong turns because I forgot we were going to Emory’s main campus instead of the Midtown location.  We were going to be about 10 minutes late by the time we got parked and up to the doctor’s office.  I don’t know what it is, but Kevin and I really hate to be late for things.  Not that we’re always on time or anything.  In fact, with two kids 18 months apart, we’re late a lot.  But for some people that’s no big deal.  We really hate it and it stresses us out.  Now if we were being rational, we knew that the doctor wasn’t going to just up and not see Kevin because we were 15 minutes or so late, but still, we somehow felt the need to be these model patients.  I know, it makes no sense.

Anyway, we decided to valet park, but even that was backed up because of the rain, so I dropped him off, and got in line for the valet, telling him I’d meet him upstairs.  I got the car off to the valet and headed inside.

Now here’s where I need to back up and tell you that I’d spent most of the weekend trying to live life like normal people, but also feeling a deep sense of despair and loss of hope.  The numbers just seemed too bad.  It seemed like everytime we went to a doctor, had a treatment, something, we got more bad news.  I’d just started to come to the realization that Kevin might die from all of this.  The very real realization.  I couldn’t just write it off to me being dramatic or over-reacting anymore.  I was feeling hopeless.  Late Tuesday night, I was trying to pray, and I got distracted as usual (I think God must get very entertained when I try to pray to Him, because I’m truly all over the place).  Anyway, I was thinking about feeling hopeless and then I was thinking about how we have a fake chalkboard fireplace with a mantel now, and that I needed something to hang our stockings off of.  I have never been one who was into all the inspirational sayings turned into art on people’s walls.  Until now.  So yeah, I’m trying to pray, thinking about stockings and stocking holders, and feeling hopeless.  And then it comes to me that our family is complete and they make those stocking holders with one letter at a time for each hook.  The word HOPE has four letters and wouldn’t that be a good thing to have staring me in the face this holiday season.  I call my sister and ask her if she could find it for me.

Back to Wednesday morning.  I get a text from my sister saying she’s found and ordered them and I tell Kevin about it.  He tells me that in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for hope is an indication of certainty.

“Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Though archaic today in modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation. – article on hope

I thought that that was very encouraging, and was “hoping” I could find that kind of hope in this situation.  I was geared up for more bad news, since that’s the way it’s gone every time we’ve had an appointment, surgery, etc.

So, back to dropping Kevin off, doing the valet parking, and then heading into the Winship Cancer Center.  I decided to take the stairs, thinking it might be quicker than waiting for the elevator.  I get to the landing between the two floors, and literally on the floor, I see this

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Then I get to the next floor and I see this

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And somehow I knew.  There it was.  My hope.

I actually beat Kevin upstairs, since he’d taken the elevator.  I took his hand and we marched in together to hear the next set of bad news.

The news was worse than it had been on Thursday, but somehow didn’t feel as bad.  Melanoma had spread to three lymph nodes total now… two micrometastatic and one macrometastatic.  One just means it’s travelled but is visible only under a microscope and the other means its travelled but visible to the human eye.  They removed those nodes about about 15 others, including something called the parotid gland.  The fact that there is cancer in three lymph nodes is not good.  In fact, it greatly affects the prognosis.  But somehow, we have HOPE.

The course of treatment will remain the same… localized radiation for 6 weeks starting in January, then 4 weeks off to recover, then 4-5 weeks of intensive interferon alpha treatment (kind of like chemotherapy).  Then we’ll have a year of thrice weekly shots that I’ll give him at home to continue the interferon treatment.  BUT, we aren’t trying to kill cancer colonies in the body.  We aren’t trying to shrink tumors.  All we’re trying to do right now is to “clean up whatever’s left” after surgery.  There may or may not be rogue cancer cells roaming his body.  These treatments are intended to search and destroy.  It will be hard.  It sounds like it will be very very hard.  But as our family verse reminds us, “We watch in HOPE for the the Lord.  Our God WILL hear us.”

We don’t exactly know how bad the treatments will be.  We know how bad they might be.  Or not.  But we know we’re going to fight.  Together.  With the body of Christ lifting us up, and the HOPE that the Lord provides, “We wait in HOPE for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.”

Living in Community… A Tale of Three Shovels

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There is so much to say these days, and I’m juggling caring for Kevin, caring for the kids, and keeping up with all the regular running the house stuff, so it will take me a bit to get caught up on everything.  I’m finding blogging such a great way to keep in touch with everyone right now, so please don’t feel offended if you hear news from this blog instead of from me directly.  It’s just so much easier to try to get it all out here and then to direct people to the blog.

Today I want to tell a story about community.  When Kevin and I moved to Atlanta, it was partly to be near family, partly for lower cost of living, and partly to follow a call we had begun feeling to move into an under-resourced neighborhood.  Our goal wasn’t and still isn’t to try to “fix” the many many challenges of poverty, more to live intentionally in caring for our neighbors as Jesus commands.  We all try to care for our neighbors wherever we are, be it the suburbs, another country, our workplace, or for us, the inner city.

When we first moved here, we got connected with a group called FCS Urban Ministries, and through that group joined a church in the neighborhood of historic South Atlanta.  Most of the people we met were living and trying to build community in South Atlanta.  Through some other new friends, we had discovered another neighborhood with many similar challenges called Adair Park.  Once we visited it, we fell in love.

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We initially fell in love with the two beautiful parks, the wide flat streets, the sidewalks, the historic homes, namely the beauty.

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We spent some time in prayer and after Kevin found a job, we settled on Adair Park and began house hunting in that neighborhood alone.  We spent nearly a year looking for a house that would meet our needs and work with our budget.  We wrestled with why we wanted to be in Adair Park.  Was it purely for selfish reasons?  We reasoned with ourselves that there were plenty of needs there, even if the neighborhood was already gentrifying and felt a little more “safe” and “nice” in some ways than South Atlanta.  But in our hearts, we knew it was where we were supposed to be but we really honestly didn’t know why.  Along that year’s journey, we became Adair Park groupies, attending meet and greet events, neighborhood meetings, and parties.  People kept asking us where we lived and we admitted we were trying to get into the neighborhood but weren’t “legit” yet.


Once we finally found a house, had it renovated, and moved in, God revealed in amazing ways at least the beginnings of why we were placed here, in this neighborhood, on this street, in this house.  The house is very large compared to most of the houses in the neighborhood.  As we look forward to a year at least of hanging out around the house battling through treatments, that space will be much appreciated.

There is an open floor plan and lot’s of light that gives me a great space for having portrait parties and teaching photography workshops.

There is a wonderful, comfortable guest bedroom that has already been made great use of as dear family and friends have flown in to help us weather these storms.

But the biggest thing that has been made clear to me is how special the people are in Adair Park.  Through something as simple as a neighborhood facebook group, God has used people to minister and care for us already in so many amazing ways.  During the first surgery, just five days after moving in, neighbors and friends from church showed up to install locks, do repairs, unpack, and of course bring food.  Last weekend after the second surgery, food literally just showed up from folks we barely know, all organized through the group.  Sunday morning, Aunt Barbara was trying to help out with any little things that she could and wanted to plant some bulbs for me that had been sitting forlornly on my front porch.  I only had a hand shovel, and she was going to need a full size shovel to do the kind of digging necessary to get those bulbs in.  I posted to the group, and I kid you not, 15 minutes later, three shovels from three different people showed up on my porch.

Now you might think something as simple as a shovel is no big deal.  So what, people are nice in your neighborhood and they loan you gardening tools.  But God was showing me something so much more.  He was showing me that He was going to carry us through this in the big and the little things, NO MATTER WHAT.  This is true community for us.

On Wednesday, He did it again.  We’d had a pretty good day at the doctor, and I was feeling in good spirits, but for some reason I started feeling dizzy and ill after my babysitter had headed home.  The kids were napping, but I didn’t know what I was going to do when they woke up.  I was definitely feeling too ill to safely care for them.  I called Kevin and he put out a post on the group.  In less than 5 minutes, three people, again neighbors who I barely knew, showed up at my door, helped me upstairs and into bed, and then cared for our children for three hours until Kevin got home.  And did I mention that since Kevin can’t drive because he’s on pain pills right now that our neighbors have come together and are taking him to and from work each day so I don’t have to pack up the kids and try to do it.

I don’t say these things to make others feel bad if they don’t have this kind of community.  God knows I have experienced some of the deepest loneliness and lack of community during periods of my life.  I share these things first to express my gratefulness to a God who is meeting my deepest needs right now, letting me know that no matter what happens, I have a community that will always be there for me THROUGH AND BECAUSE OF HIM.  My strength is in Christ, and He is using His people to bring me that strength.  I also say this to encourage you to reach out to your neighbors, to create community in your own neighborhood.  It can happen, and when it does, it is a beautiful thing, and it is lifesaving.

We’re Still Here… Quiet Weekend

I know that the big deal is that KEVIN has cancer.  The crazy thing, is that he’s constantly comforting ME, telling me that everything’s going to be okay.  That even if it’s not, that he’s going to make sure it’s going to be okay for me and the kids.  That man is truly my hero.  I remember when my Uncle Paul, with whom I was incredibly close, passed away suddenly, I didn’t feel like anything was real.  I told Kevin I needed him to go with me on a walk to Starbucks, right then, and I didn’t know why.  On the walk, I realized, that I needed to be able to see that the world is still here, people are still driving around, ordering double mocha no whip frappuccinos.  I needed something to tell me that this was real.  This was real AND I was still here.  Saturday was a good day.  I had gotten Kevin home from the hospital on Friday, and I woke up Saturday morning with him next to me.  He was still here and so was I.

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Kevin got up and took the dog out. Like regular people.

Our Aunts were downstairs getting the kids up and ready for the day, sweeping, mopping, baking, doing the things they do best to help when words are meaningless.  I made my traditional Saturday morning casseroles (come over ANY Saturday and I’ll feed you well with fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, and breakfast casserole).

My sister Sarah and her family came over.  The kids all played together, pushed and shoved each other, stole food off each other’s plates (that was Evie doing the stealing) and just ran around being little kids.  We’re still here.

A short while later, my parents showed up, armed with tools and leaf blowers to do some fixing upping around the house and some yard work.  After breakfast, the Aunties got started on the leaf blowing and raking and compost pile making (Crystal and Becky, please come inspect my brand new compost pile and tell me if it’s up to snuff!).

My dad and brother in law made some repairs to the back deck and repaired the piece of fence that had come down when a tree from the vacant house next door fell through it two days after we closed on our house.

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Oh, I didn't mention that?

See, I’ve been trying to refrain from counting our sorrows and challenges, of which there have truly been a comical amount the past two months, and instead focus on counting our blessings, of which there are an even more amazing amount.  Anyway, they repaired the fence, secured the yard so it is (hopefully) puppy proof and my poor little dog can get a little more run around time outside, since we haven’t exactly been up to daily walks with him these days.  So now we have a usable backyard, just like normal people, with a day spent working around the yard, like normal people do right after they move into a new house.  We’re still here.

No matter Kevin spent most of it upstairs sleeping off his surgery and watching netflix.  We’re here and life is happening.  Kevin lived off of the most delicious chicken soup ever courtesy of amazing neighbors Tim and Becky.  They each have so much cool stuff going on in their lives, but still find time to care for us and feed us well.  Again, we are still here.  Kevin came down to join us and to drink more of the amazing chicken soup that Tim and Becky brought over (“Just for Kevin for his recovery”)

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He's gone through the soup, so bring more please Tim!

My sister helped me clean out and organize the refrigerator and freezer that so badly needed it and hadn’t even been looked at since we moved in.  Things were falling out on people’s heads and I was in fear of litigation!  Honestly, it was just so nice to be doing real things that real regular people do when they’ve just moved into a house.  A reminder that we’re still here, and that we just might make it through this.  Like regular people.

The blog is back with a new look

Hi friends, I’m finding that I’m blogging a lot more regularly and finding blogging strangely therapeutic right now, so I asked Kevin to move us over onto WordPress (more functionality and easier management for me).  That doesn’t mean anything really to you all as readers, just that things might look a little different.  We are also still updating the theme a bit, working on a header image, etc. and so things might continue to look a little different.  Just know that if you see in the URL of your browser, you’re at the right place.  Hopefully everything transferred over and you won’t have to update your feed for those of you who have subscribed.  We’ll keep you posted about that.

The Dark Night of My Soul

I hate using superlatives.  I absolutely hate it.  But the last 24 hours have truly been the hardest of my life.  Unfortunately, I fear they won’t be the hardest to come.  I have lost track of what I’ve updated to the site, so if I’m missed some details, please comment and I’ll fill people in.  Basically, where we were at was that at Kevin’s first surgery, he had one positive lymph node from his sentinel lymph node biopsy.  After that we had a PET scan that we thought had come back completely clear.  Then we had a meeting this past Monday with Radiation and Medical Oncology, where they outlined a treatment plan.  It was a hard, sobering day.  There is a long road ahead of us, and the prognosis, while not horrible, are not numbers that we like to hear.

Yesterday morning, he showed up to have a second surgery to remove the remaining lymph nodes in the area of his tumor and the parotid gland.  This was to insure against any cancer cells that might remain in the lymph nodes from travelling through the lymphatic system to distant areas of his body, something called metastasis.  Apparently, we somehow didn’t hear or didn’t understand that there was a small spot of concern on the PET scan that the doctor hoped was simply swelling from the first surgery.  Once he got through Kevin’s surgery, he came out and told me that it was a lymph node that was almost certainly cancerous.  This was visible to the eye for him.  To put this in relative perspective, the cancer cells that were detected in his lymph nodes during the first surgery were microscopic, and yet were bad enough to determine an aggressive course of treatment and a roughly 50% 5 year survival prognosis.  So to have enough cancer in a lymph node to identify it visually is a hugely devastating blow.  We don’t know yet completely what it means or even 100% sure that it is cancer (though the doctor is feeling pretty positive it is, he just wants to wait for labs to confirm it).

After recovery, I was able to go back and sit with Kevin and go over the bad news with him.  They kept him longer this time, to make sure he wasn’t feeling nauseous.  Finally, we got our discharge instructions, I sent my parents (who had been sitting with me during the surgery) to meet us at our house, and we got ready to head home.

On the way home from the hospital (roughly a 15 minute drive), Kevin got nauseous and threw up into his little vomit cup.  I pulled over, dumped the cup, and we continued to head home, with me soberly thinking that there’s probably going to be a lot of vomit in my future.  Honestly now, I wish that was the worst that had happened yesterday.

After pulling up to the house and walking him upstairs, I turned him around to put him in bed and took one look at him and said, “we have to go back to the hospital, right now.”  The side of his face had tripled in size in the 15 minute drive home.  He looked in the mirror and agreed with me, so we came back downstairs, grabbed our ever growing folder of paperwork, I pointed to one of the adults in the room and said, “Aunt Barbara, I need you to come with us now.  I’ll explain later.”  The whole drive back to the hospital, I was doubting myseld.  Should I have called 911?  But that might have gotten him taken to a different hospital, who didn’t know what was going on.  Should I drive him to the ER?  How do we get back into where we came from?  I had no idea what the huge swelling was indicative of… swelling?  Bleeding?  Was he dying right there?  I knew I had to drive because I knew the quickest, most direct route to the hospital.  But I also knew I had to get the doctor on the phone, and I couldn’t find the right number.  It was after 5, so that of course complicated things too.  And my phone was dying.  Finally, someone I was speaking to at Emory said to go to the ER and they’d get Dr. Carlson’s office to call us back.

Amazingly, I got right into the ER and there was even a parking space right in front of the drop off spot, so we all went in together.  The ER people were amazing and brought him right back, got ahold of the surgery unit, and got him on a stretcher and headed back.  By the time I got him in the back room of the ER, my strength fell apart and I lost it.  I felt so bad too, because I knew I needed to be comforting and reassuring him.  But amazing husband that I have, he was reassuring me that everything would be alright.

At the surgery unit, everyone took one look at him and confirmed I’d made the right choice to bring him back.  They figured out the vomiting in the car caused something to rupture or something and it created something called a hematoma.  I think that’s a fancy word for bleeding, but I’m not sure.  They had a heck of a time figuring out the paperwork, because he’d already checked out, and the surgeon was saying, “What do we need to do to get him into the OR?”  That reassured me that they were going to fix it, but also scared me about how serious this really was.

Finally, they got things settled and got ready to head up with him.  I said a quick prayer into his ear and he was off.  We waited for several hours, and finally Dr. C. came out and told me he was doing fine and I’d see him in an hour or so.  Several hours after that, we were directed to his room and had to wait for him there.  Finally, sometime after 10, he finally arrived and was in great spirits, feeling even better than he did after the first surgery.  This was amazing considering he’d had back to back general anesthesia.  I was so tired and was waiting to see him to make the decision as to whether or not I’d stay the night with him.  We both agreed that I needed to head home to try to get a solid night’s sleep, so after being reassured he was in good hands, we headed home.

It’s early morning now as I write this and my thoughts are all over the map.  Thoughts of numbers like 43.5% survival rates, year-long interferon therapy treatments that increase the rates by only 10%, the aggressive nature of melanoma once it has spread, stage 3b.  At moments, I am scared beyond belief.  I am terrified of losing him.  Other moments, I remember that the odds could be a whole lot worse and people do beat this.  Some moments I have peace, some I am lost amidst all kinds of crazy, dark thoughts.  I cling to God because I have nothing else, and I know He would not have it any other way.  I am not at peace yet with surrendering this all to Him, but know deep down inside that it is already His.  My heart is heavy, I am tired, and I think this is just the beginning.  I pray.  I watch.  I hope. I cry.  I dream.  Please pray for me and Kevin when we cannot pray, when dark fears invade my heart.  Please pray whenever you think of him.  Please ask God for amazing miracles, remind Him of the great ministry He has called us to in this neighborhood.  I try to think of the blessings, and they are many, so so many, friends bringing us food, family flying out from across the country to care for us, parents who sit with me in my darkest hour, sisters who call me any hour of the night, a church who loves us and prays for us beyond measure.  My heart is tired, but I will cling to these blessings and the knowledge of our Lord.