When Cancer Strikes

As I sit here looking over the past 8 months, I think I am at a place where I am more willing and able to talk about cancer invading our lives.  I have learned that when you are in the middle of the battle, it is just plain hard to even talk about, let alone write about……so I did the bare minimum.  Updating Dave’s Caringbridge site was about all I could handle, and even then, many times I did so with tears running down my face.

I am not going to try and fit everything into one post, I just can’t.  For one reason I just don’t think I can handle writing it all down at once emotionally and second…….there’s just too much in my head for one post.  So for this post, I am going to start at the beginning.

During the spring and summer of 2015 Dave had several different symptoms.  He was having trouble singing like he was used to and he also felt like he had something in his throat all of the time.  He said he felt “gaggy” most of the time.  He was also snoring like a lumber jack.   Three years before he had been to an ENT in town and had been diagnosed with an “over sized uvula”…..and acid reflux.  They put him on reflex meds and a few other things and it seemed to help.  Fast forward three years……to last summer.  Dave once again went to the ENT and explained his symptoms……and once again he was told that he had an over sized and inflamed uvula caused by acid reflux and once again he was put on meds and told to come back in a month.  There were no test, no “scope”……just the doc looking down his throat.  Fast forward a month.  Dave returns for a follow-up appointment with the doc and explains that there has been no real improvement and he STILL feels like he has something in the back of his throat.  Again the doctor does not scope him…….instead he tells Dave that he has “post nasal drip” and puts him on a nose spray and has him doing nasal rinses and sends him on his way.  About a week later, Dave was sitting at his desk at work and stretched……putting his hands on his neck…..and that is when he felt it.  A lump.  A BIG lump.  When I got home that night Dave showed it to me.  Those of you who know me know that I can be a bit of a Polyanna……..I look at the glass half full……so I told Dave that it was probably an inflamed lymph node because he had some type of infection.  Oh how I wish I had been right……..

It just so happened that Dave had a dentist appointment the day after he found the lump.  He asked our dentist about it and Dr. Timm did a lot of probing and took x-rays etc. and finally told Dave that it was not an infection and that he felt that Dave needed to follow-up with the ENT.  Dave called the ENT’s office and was told by the nurse that the lump could be a result of “stuff” gathering in the lymph node from the nasal rinses, but that she would schedule an appointment for the following week.  The doctor Dave had been seeing was out of town, so he was to see one of his partners.

Fast forward another week………and the day that the big C blew into our lives like a hurricane.  Dave went to his appointment and I anxiously waited at work for his phone call.  I had convinced myself that it would be nothing.   Just an infection…..oh how I wish I had been right.  Dave’s appointment was early in the morning and my phone rang about 9:30 AM……I picked it up hoping to hear “it’s nothing”…….instead I heard “they think it is cancer”.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember a whole lot immediately after he said those words.  I do remember getting up and going outside so I could talk in “private”.  I remember sobbing and not much more.  I remember Dave telling me that they were scheduling a CT Scan and needle biopsy ASAP.  I remember him telling me that the doctor “scoped” him (finally) and that there was a large mass on his tonsil.  I remember just crying and trying to assure him that everything would be ok……trying to convince myself as well.  After we finally hung up I remember walking……walking…..walking and crying.  After I semi pulled myself together,  I went back into work and just sat staring at my computer trying to keep myself from falling apart all over again…….and then a co-worker came up and asked me if everything was ok……and she touched my shoulder.  Poor Sheila……the tears started again.  We went outside and I remember her just hugging me while I sobbed.  I couldn’t even talk……just cried and finally I just blurted out THEY THINK DAVE HAS CANCER.  After what seemed like forever I was able to pull myself together and explain what was going on to her.  Sheila if you read this…..please know that you were my angel that day.  I don’t know what I would have done without your listening hear, loving heart, and sweet spirit.

I tried to go back to work but know that I didn’t get much done that day…….and then Dave called to say that they had scheduled the CT scan for that afternoon.  I sent my supervisor an e-mail explaining what was happening and left……..

To be continued…..






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