The Hidden Blessings

The unexpected, extended time with our kids has been a hidden blessing during this tough season.

It’s almost surreal how life goes on after cancer turns everything upside down.

Meals still need to be made. There’s always laundry to do. And if you live in the country – cows need to be feed, fences fixed, and hay baled.

And Jan wasn’t able to do any of it.

That’s where the kids stepped in.

Thankfully, Nate is still living at home and has taken on the biggest share of the outside work. But his siblings won’t let him carry that load alone. Every weekend, whoever is available shows up. Sometimes just one, sometimes a whole crew.

Every weekend.

They’ve mowed the lawn and trimmed, moved fences, chased cows, cleaned pastures, put down mulch, helped in the garden and picked up groceries. Whatever needs to be done, they do it.

Jan is right outside with them. On good days he’s fixing mowers, talking technology, and playing with the grand baby. And life seems almost normal.

On not so good days, he does more sitting and watching. Laughing at Indy’s shenanigans, and just enjoying the loved ones around him.

Savoring each moment.

Thankful for the precious gift of time and family.

A hidden blessing in a tough time.

The Silent Months Pt. 2

Just as Steven and Laura were coming out on the other side of their hard journey, Jan and I entered our own.

The day after Thanksgiving Jan noticed some odd tingling in his left leg.We weren’t very worried at the time, we just figured it was a herniated disk in his back.

But as the days and weeks and months went by, his pain increased and his mobility decreased. It hurt to get in and out of cars. To sit. To stand. To lay down. At times the pain was excrutiating.

We went to chiropractors, doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, and fought insurance to pay for the MRI’s everyone agreed he desperately needed.

He lost weight and started walking with a cane so his leg didn’t give out.

Covid -19 happened, making it even more difficult to get any answers.

An MRI of the back showed no reason for the pain, so we began the process to get an MRI of his hip.

It was finally approved the Friday before Memorial Day. Everybody’s best guess was a labral tear. We were expecting surgery and a year of physical therapy to learn to walk again.

But everybody was wrong. Very wrong.

The surgeon called us as we were driving home. There was a tumor on Jan’s hip. It was large and looked aggressive. He had referred us to an orthopedic oncologist in Iowa City.

I can tell you the exact spot on Mills Civic Parkway that cancer entered our lives.

The next three weeks were a blur. Waiting. The trip to Iowa City. Seeing the MRI and knowing it was bad. Tests. More tests. More waiting. Covid -19 restrictions.

Finally a diagnosis. A name for the insidious evil that was stealing my husband.

Large B Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, DLBCL, a very aggressive form.

But, very responsive to chemotherapy. Very treatable.

The oncologist is optimistic. But the journey is hard. So very hard. Six rounds of chemo, six days in the hospital each round with 4 days of 24 hour chemo, then two weeks at home to recover.

The first round he was in the hospital by himself because of Covid restrictions. Things were more relaxed for the second round and a primary caregiver (me!) could be there for a limited time every day.

The last few months have been a roller coaster of emotions that zapped my energy, my creativity, my words.

And that is why I’ve been silent.

But now we know what we are fighting. We have a battle strategy. And we have a big God.

And my words are back.