Many of you haven’t had a taste of the book yet, so I wanted to share with you one of my favorite parts of the book. It’s also probably one of the difficult scenes: Kevin gets diagnosed with Angiosarcoma in the blog scene, and I am moving from Montana back home to Pennsylvania. It’s from Chapter 9: Driving into the Light. For those of you who wanted some pictures to go with the book while you’ve been reading, you’ll find some correlating ones here. There was so much clarity in this chapter-many times while writing the book, I realized how well the scenes from the blog fit into the scenes of the love story. It was only by chance, not by design. Both stories are at a critical point of change and the emotion is heavy but hopeful. I hope you enjoy.
August 12, 2008 “Angiosarcoma”
Welcome to the new chapter of our life book, titled, “Angiosarcoma.” Yes, the biopsy results are in, and this is what Kevin has. It is a blessing to have some answers and an anxiety to have uncertainties. Either way, we feel positive about finally having some direction!
Here is what we know:
Angiosarcoma is a tumor that develops in the blood vessels and connective tissue. In Kevin, it runs from his mouth to his stomach.
The path features show that the tumor is dividing fast, and they would like to begin immediately treating him with chemotherapy. This is normal for the type of cancer — from what little, reliable information there is on the web, it is a very progressive cancer.
Kevin was moved to the 5C part of the Weinberg building tonight to prepare him for chemotherapy.
Thornton is the attending physician on this floor all week. She is known as the “Sarcoma Guru,” and I know the Lord placed her in our path for a reason! She is going to transfer Kevin directly under her care, which is a huge blessing to us. It is very difficult to say what lies ahead, but she is an expert and will help us. Tomorrow morning, they are having a sarcoma conference to discuss Kevin’s treatment plan. Afterwards, during rounds, we will meet her and get an official plan book from her between 8-11 am tomorrow.
This is what we know. Whatever news we receive tomorrow, we will receive with optimism. We have a direction, and no matter what statistics come out, we know the Lord performs miracles daily and with all of our prayer, how can he not listen?
We are a family that will not, and I repeat, WILL NOT listen to statistics. So stop Googling Angiosarcoma. I did it already, and frankly, Kevin’s particular case wasn’t found ANYWHERE on Google. It seems most angiosarcomas occur in the heart, breast and skin. So Kevin’s case is even rarer than the current statistics. This makes him an excellent candidate for research, and I know having the “Sarcoma Guru” by our side to lead the way, that God will direct her and her team to success.
So, stop Googling. Seriously.
Start praying instead.
Tomorrow will be a long and interesting day. I don’t know where this leads us with anything else, especially the vent, but we’re following God’s lead on this one. Join us!
Please, post away because I want to go to Kevin tomorrow morning with, like, I don’t know-100 messages to read to him? Ok? Give us so many messages that I don’t even have time to read them all. Flood God’s inbox with so many prayers, he’ll have no choice but to say, Ok, Kevin’s gonna be healed! Ok, so I may be a bit ridiculous, but I’m a bit serious, too.
The Lord does amazing things during amazing times.
We met a couple tonight who’s staying in the same house as us and is heading into Pancreatic cancer surgery this week. I believe his name is Merle. Lift Merle up tonight, too, ok? While you’re at it, lift us all up, as we need God’s positive energy in us right now more than ever.
Lift Kevin up not only in physical healing but in mental preparation.
Lift the team of doctors up in their planning meeting tomorrow. Touch their hearts to know ours.
My prayer . . . pray with me.
Lord, we know it is because of you that you opened those doors to get the biopsy results back in a timely manner. We know that you placed Doctor Thornton on the oncology floor this week to be heading Kevin’s treatment. We know that you are opening these doors for Kevin to begin healing. You are the worker of miracles, the King of Kings, the director of all. We pray to you, Father, tonight, asking you to bless Kevin’s body. We know he is aching in ways we cannot understand, and we pray for you to lift that physical, mental, and spiritual anguish. Cleanse him of his cancer, cleanse him of his pain, cleanse him of his uncertainties, and fill him with a desire to push on and become a new, positive outcome from sarcoma. The road that lies ahead is going to be difficult and trying and unimaginable at times. But Lord, we know with your direction and with all the prayers that are filling your heart right now, we know that it is you Lord who can provide those windows of opportunities. We are not worthy, but we ask for your mercy and grace on us. We ask that our lives can be a beacon of light to those around us. We ask for you to continue to touch the lives around us, through us. We are your vessels, Father. We are your kingdom, and we will be that light to you. Direct us, Lord, to say and do the right things in a manner that pleases you, Father. We lift you up so greatly and thank you, and thank you, and thank you. We are not worthy, but we thank you for the miracles you are performing. Lift up our housemate, Merle, and his wife and family Lord. We know they are tired and weak and aching for you, Father. We ask you to touch his body and heal him of his pain. Bring peace and understanding to them, Father, and open up doors for us to reach out to him. You are the one and only, the Prince of Peace and the Master of Ceremonies. Bless us, Father. Bless us, and open up doors of miracles to everything around us. You are wonderful. We thank you. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
PS-in regards to the messages, I know there are about 900 a day lurking out there, so leave some love! Thanks.
I woke up groggily after a hard night (literally), showered, and packed the last of my belongings in my Saturn. I left just enough room on my passenger seat for my maps and music. Besides that, I didn’t need much more. It was me and Miranda Lambert on the stereo heading north to Glacier National Park, a park I still hadn’t taken the time to visit. It was sad to me that I was only visiting it on my way out of the state.
There was a shitload of stuff shoved in every crevice of the car and the car-top carrier. It was hot outside for the first few hours of the drive, and I knew I was going to have a terrible trucker’s arm by the time I reached Pennsylvania. With a weighted-down car, my gas mileage wasn’t as good, and the comfort level was diminished. But I had to deal. I had 36 hours of driving ahead of me, spread out over roughly 4 to 5 days. As I drove out of Missoula, I tried to invigorate myself with the thoughts of the mini adventure ahead as I drove the scenic way home. I was relieved to be driving towards people I loved, yet torn about leaving behind such a beautiful place to call home.
Hours passed as I left the smaller mountains of the Bitterroot Range and soon came upon the prairies before they closed in and shot up as the Rockies unfolded, jutting out around Flathead Lake not long before I made it to Kalispell, then Glacier National Park. As I first entered Glacier after several hours on the road, I realized that this should not be a quick drive-thru trip. It shouldn’t be allowed in Glacier. The many grand lodges, the glaciers themselves, the peaks and valleys, the steep climbs, and pure rugged nature all encompass what truly makes a national park astonishing. Simply passing through to get to the next point left me aching to stay and explore. I could have spent weeks there hiking, exploring, and camping. But I only had hours to taste the beauty, and then it was on to a historic hotel for a night before heading to Fargo to see my future husband.
I made a few stops while driving through Glacier. The first scene I came upon was the burnt land from a forest fire years earlier. It had charred entire mountains, but you could begin to see the re-growth that is so beautiful in the cadence of nature’s circle of life. As I enjoyed reading the signs along the road, I eventually made it to one of gift shops for an ornament. Kevin and I had decided, while camping together at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, that wherever we traveled, we would bring home an ornament instead of the many other souvenirs that could crowd up our future home. This time, I purchased a carved wooden ornament of a grizzly canoeing, and I thought it was a great memento of the Montana wilds.
Along the drive, I stopped at many of the pull-offs along the ‘Road to the Sun’ that kept me stunned at the ominous mountains that surrounded me. At one of the lakes that overlooked the burnt mountain, I walked across the lake pebbles smoothed by thousands of years of lapping waves passing over their ridges. It was soothing and breathtaking. I was hooked.
It takes a lot of discipline to keep your car on the road while driving through Glacier because every foot of road causes you to crane your neck left and right to see another breathtaking view. You’re thousands of feet in the air, just inches from a 5,000 drop, yet you cannot keep your eyes on the road. I began to wonder how many fatalities occurred just from cars driving off the cliff. Road to the Sun, my ass. It was road to your death.
As I drove through the park, winding between the mountains, working my way up to the top of a peak, I could feel the air lift, the humidity and heat dissipate, and I actually felt cold. I put on a sweatshirt so that I could leave my window open. I crossed bridges that protected waterfalls, pulling off to snap a picture, wishing I could be photographing Kevin or that someone could take a picture of us climbing one of these mountains. It was an awful place to explore alone, let alone in just a few hours’ time.
I stopped at one of the visitor’s centers at the top of a mountain to use the bathroom and take a peek around me without risking my life from vehicular death. I felt alone in the park — everyone was with their families and their pets, and everyone was a tourist. I didn’t know that I would ever vacation alone like this again, miles from the ones I loved. It was entirely different from any other travel I had experienced, and I ached to share it with someone. My cell phone had no reception, so I couldn’t even text how I was feeling to Kevin. I was completely disconnected and alone. For the first time in a long while, nature was failing to comfort me.
As I drove back down the winding mountains, I began to see marks of fresh fire. Smoking embers, trees singed to their core by the destruction, yet I knew that new life would come from those very fires. The fire killed the forest, but without it, the forests could not continue to expand and bloom. It was a lovely picture of destruction.
I popped in one CD after another, lost in a sea of good music and a great view. I exited the park and stopped by one of the grand hotels at the eastern entrance. I ate some food and scoped out the knickknacks, looking for something to bring home to my family. Eventually, I decided I had delayed the inevitable long enough. I fueled up and admitted that I was ready to find my lodging for the night. I drove away from the mountainous side of the state and headed towards the plain, to a town that was near the state line. I was only a day away from leaving Montana for good.
You can purchase the book right HERE in print and digital. Thanks for your support!