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,