Whew, these past few days have been a bit of a blur. Thank you all who have reached out, supported and sent love and prayers our way. After 3 days of hustle we have seen, a general practitioner, done the referral hustle, seen a urologist in South Lake Tahoe and another in San Francisco. Things have been moving fast, but that is good. The current and recurrent opinion is the kidney has got to go and surgery is scheduled for August 19th. Which seems far away but the surgeon re-assures us this has been there growing for years! Thank goodness for that back MRI. He still has no symptoms. So here I am, recovering from a literal rollercoaster of emotion. Feeling in one moment empowered and strong and in the next like a weak kneed child, moments from vomiting with fear.
I have had so much love and support from my clients and co-workers. And the advice I have received has been phenomenal. I already knew LadyBoss's were BA and resilient, and the community is priceless, but I love the willingness to be vulnerable and honest and share real life experience. You ladies are THE BEST! Also from my IRL community, including my business partner, family and friends. I've felt very out of control the last few days, which is a scary experience, but knowing you are all there and sending love has been HUGE.
It's my inclination to believe everything the docs are saying... these guys have some heavy hitting resumes and we busted our asses to get in to see them and as quickly as we did. I like to think I can understand what they are talking about and they have all been straight shooters, which we appreciate, and also talking to us like humans not a patient and his wife. Everyone has been great and professional. I am grateful we've had practice at this, grateful I have built to courage to not care what other people think and be assertive in what we need and finding information. They are saying this surgery will likely be curative but it's 95% cancer, based off it's appearance, size and location. They say, they kick this things ass all the time. Sooooo. We are onboard with that. Today I am trying to immerse myself in the normal, find gratitude in every moment of work which I am so thankful to have to keep my mind occupied, and doing what I love (how great is that!?!). We've created this life for a reason, because we love it, and that in and of itself makes our base so solid. That tightness sneaks into my gut every now and then, but I am trying to shut it up lovingly, mainly by running into the woods, up a mountain, and breathing, a bit of crying maybe too. Movement, nature, and breath has been so beautiful and centering. I can see the future clearly and it's going to be great. He is strong, healthy and determined.
In the meantime we are going to do our research and seek out alternative treatments and ideas. He even had me listening to a podcast on the way down to see the surgeon that I would have picked out on positive mindset and the power of the mind, lol. I love it. Doc says basically live your life. So we've got some travel, family time, work, and a wedding to look forward in that time which is fantastic for if nothing else the distraction....and the joy! Our team is strong, and we will persevere. If nothing else we are finding the best in the little kick in the butt to prioritize what is important, what and who we love, being together, getting away from the grind, putting the phones down, closing the computers, and experiencing life more.
Keep sending your love and resources, and I will keep updating this page as things come about. I am looking forward to enjoying our summer and I will worry about surgery when the day gets here, for now we've got some life to live! Keep sending your prayers, strength and love, we are forever grateful and blessed to have such community.
For the past week and a half or so I have been vaguely referring to some stresses I have been facing in my personal life through social media. I have shared with my closest friends and family over the past week, and because it’s the health of my husband that I have been concerned about I have not shared it publicly until we could discuss how he felt about that. Honestly I didn’t even ask him, because I didn’t want to put any undo stress on him about a seemingly trivial thing. I didn’t suffer in silence, we have each other of course, but although a side of the story is mine to tell, it’s not my kidney. Nevertheless with his approval, completely unsolicited, here I am to tell what we’re facing:
My hubby has had back issues stemming from an incident at work many years ago. He has had back surgery in the past and he’s pretty dang tuned in to his body. He keeps his core strong, but he also has an active and twisty lifestyle, thanks to skateboarding, snowboarding and well, just our lives. He scheduled a recheck MRI recently for his back because he’s been having some flair ups. The MRI showed a recurrent disk narrowing but more alarmingly a mass on his right kidney. After this finding we had a few days of super stress, trying to figure out what this means, navigate making a plan of attack to find answers but mostly miscommunication and irritation over the unknown, and our own personal coping styles.
That suffering was not without purpose. We have been down a similar road before when he hurt his back many years ago. Likely because I have worked in Veterinary medicine for so many years I have a more assertive style in dealing with medical things, I ask all the questions, and understand the lingo, the information and appointment run around, etc… With the back injury, I found it frustrating to get information from him if he went to appointments he would downplay his pain and not as questions, not out of a desire not to know but just an ignorance of what questions to ask or what to say to get what he needed. It’s given me a tremendous amount of empathy to know what folks deal with trying to advocate for themselves and get the best care.
There has been some divine intervention here I am sure of it, because after an initial day or two of falling back into old patterns of not co-operating (admittedly my own, because my initial way of dealing is to perhaps hope it will go away and he can handle it himself, sorry love) but now we are back to working as a team, I am on board for appointments, asking all the annoying questions, and interpreting the jargon. When the second MRI that was ordered to look at the actual kidney came back, we read the report together over the phone. Seemingly the best case of a potential worse case… large isolated mass on the right kidney. No invasion of lymph nodes, or other organs seen on the MRI.
Now we navigate the ins and outs of referrals and diagnosis. Fingers and toes all crossed a thousand times it’s not the big C. He is confident and brave, which makes me feel the same, but I would be lying if I didn’t waiver hour to hour and minute to minute between slobbery breakdown and total normality. It’s confusing. Outwardly he is healthy and robust as can be. He’s a super healthy dude, living the same lifestyle I do, eating whole vegetarian food, exercising, and enjoying life in one of the most beautiful places in the world. As health history risk factors go, he has none. It feels good to work together, like we are solving some puzzle together. I feel it’s already brought us closer, but my fears linger.
My main hope in writing this is that I will find the support, community and resources we need right now. We need stories of triumphs and overcoming. We know we will be stronger for it. As for myself I am two weeks out from submitting my “after” photos for the Oxygen Challenge 5. I am not giving up, I am not throwing in the towel on my goals because life has happened again. I am working harder in the gym, where I know it’s my time and it’s cathartic. I am eating cleaner and I am focused even more, because that is what we need. He’s not stopping, he’s still working his ass off and crushing his workouts. We have work to do! He needs me to show up, strong and as focused as I can be because we are a team, and I hope he will continue to tell me what he needs so we can face it together. I am saying “no” to things and managing my time a bit differently. The story hasn’t changed, nevertheless we persist.
Thanks for reading, hopefully I will have the energy and the bravery to continue to write about this. Maybe some time I’ll even talk about it. Right now I don’t know that I can, or at least in this moment I cannot. Send hugs, encouragement, resources, and stories! I am researching voraciously, but we still don’t know what exactly we are dealing with so trying not to go down too many black holes of analysis. I truly feel we are all stronger together, and I am grateful we know what we do. I am grateful we have so much to be grateful for, our family, our lives filled with love and adventure, our beautiful home and community, and so much much more. Till next time.
Stronger every day,