Day 1 – Friday (8/24/18)
I know our kids had been somewhat nervous knowing that I had gone to the E/R the night before. We got home from the hospital around 3:00am. In an effort to try to maintain as much routine as possible, my parents had let the kids sleep in their own beds at our house, and they slept on the couch until we arrived. I don’t really know how much sleep actually happened for any of us involved, but the valiant effort deserved merit. We had also informed my in-laws by phone that I was at the E/R, and I will later find out sleep evaded them as well. Nonetheless, we are home now. I sat down with my parents and introduced the finding of my new friend “blobby”. We have a short conversation, and knowing everyone has to be at work in a few hours, we disperse. Could I, we… have skipped worked? Sure. But why sit and dwell on the news we just received.
After a few hours sleep everyone in my house is awake. Today is a special day! It’s my wife’s birthday! All of us gathered in our bed (this time with our new friend blobby joining us) and presents were opened. The first present my wife had picked out herself. Likelihood of success… 100%. The second present was from me. I have NEVER had much luck in this department. Likelihood of success… 10%. “Now honey, if you don’t like it, don’t open it. We can take it back and you can get something you like”. I’m really hoping I’m not the only husband that finds the need to say this at every gift exchange, lol. She opens the box… she looks in the box… wait… is that a smile? Maybe? No? “Awwww, I’ve been wanting one of those! I just thought it was too expensive!” WHOA! Behold have my ears deceived me? Did the gifting of a Fitbit Charge 2 actually work? Can a man actually give a woman an electronic device for a gift, and not get slapped?!?
With the exchange of gifts successfully behind us, I call the number I was given last night. I spoke with a super polite receptionist who seemed to already know I was going to call. She informed me the doctor would be back to the office around 8:30am, and that he needed to review everything before we could make the appointment. At this point, we were all rushing around the house to get ready for work. My wife and kids head out the front door, and I head out the back. As I drive to work, my mind is dwelling on the process to start informing my boss and team at work about what has happened. I don’t know anything for certain at this point, but likely I’m going to be missing some work in the near future. I formulate a plan that I will just sit down with everyone and tell them all at once. I pray that I can do it with a clear composure (strength, peace, courage, and above all, NO TEARS. Don’t breakdown in front of the guys! ) As I walk in, I run into one of my team members at the main doors. “Hey man, everything okay?” So much for telling everyone at once. There is no way I can fake it and say yes. “No, not really…” and I proceed to blurt out everything that happened last night. Whew… went easier than I thought. Ice Breaker… complete.
I get a call back from the doctor asking if I can be at the specialist at 1:00pm. I confirm. I spend the morning informing HR, my boss and my team. I gather the necessary paperwork in case things start to move quickly and I wind up out of work for some period of time. I sit down and knock out some normal work tasks to keep my mind occupied. Before I know it, it’s time to head to the doctor. I meet my mom and wife at my house and we three head to the doctor. The doctor is a super nice guy. Unfortunately, he won’t be the doctor I need in the end. In fact, he says I probably won’t need to see him again at all. We go over the official diagnosis from my scans. Blobby is known as an anterior mediastinal mass. Basically, there is a cavity that is between your lungs that is normally void space. That cavity is divided into three sections, front/middle/back. Blobby decided to rent an apartment in the front section of this cavity. Unfortunately, blobby is a bad tenant, and he wants to take up more space than he is allowed. He is starting to push on the other surrounding organs, including my heart, which is the reason my symptoms were appearing to be a heart issue. The doctor today also suspected lymphoma was a possibility, but said the other possibilities are that it is a “germ cell”, “Thymoma”, or a “Thyroid mass”. Bottom-line, we need a biopsy first to know what we are dealing with, then treatment options can be discussed. He sent in an urgent referral to the radiology department to setup the biopsy, and sent a “heads-up” referral to the oncology specialist. He told me oncology would be handling my care from this point on. (For anyone who wants more info, I found a pretty good website. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/13792-mediastinal-tumor
So now is a waiting game. The doctor was not sure if radiology would call me later today, or Monday. He told me if my symptoms changed or got worse, head back to the E/R. To keep our minds off things, we had a “birthday bash” planned at my in-laws. We spent the afternoon with them, celebrating my wife’s birthday. Tomorrow we will spend the day with my parents and brother, and get to celebrate one more time :)
Back home, and bedtime approaching, it is clear that the radiologist is not going to call today.
“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for another day of life. I thank you for my family and for my wife having another birthday today. I pray for patience. I know people say you shouldn’t pray for patience because then You may send a trial that helps you learn patience. Well, my trial is already here, and patience is what I need now. The waiting on the biopsy to know for sure what we are dealing with is torturous. I want to know what blobby is, know what we do about it, and get the show on the road. However, I recognize and respect your providential timing God. You know the beginning from the end. You know which radiologist I need to see. You know which oncologist I need to see. I pray that you will grant me peace and patience while I wait on your plan to unfold.”