Tough First Day of Summer

The first day of summer is always a bittersweet one for me.

It feels incredibly contradictory given how much I love the changing seasons, the long and bright summer nights, and the outdoor recreation it allows.

8 years ago Kevin and I were about to set off for a week long excursion to see his family in Winnipeg. Nearly 8 years ago Kevin would come home with his first physical symptoms of Angiosarcoma. Nearly 8 years ago was the start of my losing him forever.

7 years ago I posted this. My subconscious feels the wonder and pain of the start of the summer season.

Last night as I walked our dogs around the neighborhood I admired the beauty around me; the wheat blowing in the breeze, the cows and horses chewing on bright green grass, the smell of honeysuckle and the last blooms of spring. I couldn’t believe how wonderful life was, where I was, that I was so happy. Today I feel such loss and pain. The melancholy of summer always seeps out of my subconscious in a vicious wave.

8 years ago, this was what began. It’s a difficult memory and it darkens summer’s door every year. Below is an excerpt from Ebb from the Shoreline. 8 years later, I can still see that doctors office room in my brain as if it was yesterday.


July 22, 2008 – “Thoughts, Waiting”

I walked into that waiting room thinking, “More time off of work…I hope they find out what is causing my husband so much pain…let’s treat it and get on with our lives…I can’t wait until we get to the beach again…” and I left that waiting room thinking, “Everything has completely changed” and saw the world through a whole new set of eyes.

I never planned nor wanted to see this new life. I don’t believe anyone wishes to enter a room and hear such devastating news. We always hope and expect the best while in some ways, preparing for the worst.

My husband, Kevin, has been suffering for almost 3 weeks with severe pain while swallowing. While on vacation visiting family in Winnipeg, Manitoba, we called the doctor’s office several times, concerned we would have to visit the hospital due to Kevin’s pain level. But he held through, and when we got back to Lancaster, Kevin went to see his doctor. Thinking it was a severe case of esophagitis, his doctor continued to prescribe acid reflux medications.

The following day Kevin’s pain was extremely severe, and the doctor got us into see a gastroenterologist. The nurse practitioner, along with consulting the doctor, put Kevin on stat to get several tests done.

The next day I was waiting in the procedure room for the results of the stat endoscopy. The doctor sat us down after Kevin finally received some pain medication and told us that he found a mass he highly believed was cancerous. He assured us we would be at the top of everyone’s lists to get several important tests done that would tell us what stage the cancer was in, as well as what treatment options would be best.

After all the tests were done, we went home and just embraced, knowing that we had a very tough road ahead, but that we would stick together no matter what the outcome.

The following 48 hours were emotional, numbing, and just difficult to adjust to our new way of life. My husband is currently unable to work due to his level of pain, and the side effects of his pain medication. He has lost over 16 lbs in a matter of weeks due to lack of proper nutrition. We face a tough journey ahead of exams, treatment and financial woes.

We are blessed to have a great support system of family and friends. We are blessed to have good health coverage, but still fear the possibility of health coverage change. We are blessed that I am in a job that is willing to work with my upcoming varying schedule. We are blessed.

…but we are scared and pulling together to revive our faith in God above to support and strengthen us through this time ahead.

I think we have both adjusted as best as possible to this new way of life as we await all the results of the tests, and wait for two very important tests to be done: P.E.T. Scan and an Endo-Ultrasound. Both will help the doctors know more about the cancer and where it is.

The next weeks and months ahead are going to be very tough, but with faith, hope and love, we’ll do just fine. We both have extreme faith in one another, and I know Kev will beat this.

We ask for your prayers and also help as we organize a fundraiser BBQ to raise money for medical costs that aren’t covered, and help with living expenses since Kevin cannot work and has no disability coverage.

Thank you for all your thoughts.

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