|Bird's nest in a bush in our front yard.|
Photo taken by me, September 1, 2012
Actually, make that a rough ride of two weeks plus. That's when The Husband's doctor called to say that they didn't like something they saw on his MRI.
As much as I tried to reassure him ("this is Pittsburgh, they're nice here"), there was no mistaking the seriousness of the doctor's tone - or the fact that the doctor herself was calling with the results, less than 24 hours after the test. Maybe this was just a cyst. But she wanted to do a CT scan with dye to be sure.
To be sure of what we were seeing. To be sure it hadn't spread.
Some background. Eight years ago this month, The Husband was in a pretty bad car accident that left him with three herniated discs in his neck. Medicine helps, to a degree. We've done the rounds of injections, with little success. Through it all, he's been able to still work. Most importantly, thankfully, he's still here.
But fatherhood changed that day. Gone was the playful roughhousing with our then-toddler twins, the swooping airplane-rides of kids in the air, the intense sensory activities that our boy with autism needed; the crazy dancing at weddings, walks around the neighborhood and bike rides after dinner and baseball catches in the backyard.
We adapted to sitting on the sidelines more than we liked and settled into a rhythm of family life that has been working for us. We know no different while being grateful for what we have and knowing that others have situations in life that are far, far worse.
In June of this year, The Husband stepped out onto our covered deck and announced he was going to sit outside in the backyard instead, under a tree.
I remained inside, on this very laptop, oblivious to The Husband's fall down the back steps, his headfirst crash.
A concussion. A doctor's note stating to stay home from work for a week. A week at the shore cancelled.
June turned into July into August and the neck pain didn't cease. Long distance driving became difficult. Sleeping became restless. Being out in the sun was downright painful. The doctor ordered the MRI.
Which led to the discovery of something new, something completely unexpected.
Something completely and entirely unrelated to the herniated discs.
I type the words two quarter-sized tumors on the thyroid, one near an artery; strong possibility of thyroid cancer and it still seems a little surreal.
Surreal because I'm the type who likes to play The "What If" Game. What if you hadn't fallen down the steps? Then the tumors wouldn't have been discovered ... definitely not this early. What if we weren't called to buy this very house with this deck and (now overgrown) backyard we fell in love with? Would there have been other steps to fall down? What if we never moved to Pittsburgh? Would this have been found in Delaware? In Philadelphia? What if I hadn't lost my job? The fall was the busiest season at that job; I wouldn't have been able to take care of The Husband or I would have had to quit, with no income (there was no FMLA available there). Maybe there is a reason why this job hunt hasn't panned out quite yet.
As the doctor said, "I don't know if you believe in God, but there's no reason you should be here." Meaning that, not that this is a dire prognosis if it is cancer (quite the opposite), but rather that there was no reason, sans the fall and the concussion, to be having the MRI/CT scan in the first place. Hence, no reason that the tumors would have ever been found.
I am a believer that things happen for reasons, often unknown to us at the time, if ever. I believe that we are where we are meant to be.
We are meant to be here.
I've said that silently and aloud countless times over the past week, since returning from last weekend's emotional trip of being with friends and family in Philadelphia.
I'm not sure what the road ahead looks like. I do know that we're encouraged by the stories that others have shared, of loved ones who have had thyroid cancer and the statistics I've researched in the insomnia of my nights. Ironically, September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. We always did do things in a timely fashion.
We are very much in a new place. As several people have said, this must be particularly scary being 6 hours away from our friends and family, where we don't know many people yet. It is, very much so. But from what we've seen this week - an offer of babysitting help from a work colleague of The Husband's, another from a writing group friend of mine; a doctor who fit in an emergency appointment within an hour; another caring doctor who has checked in repeatedly - all make me believe that there are people in our midst who care and want to help.
Our next step is a CT scan with biopsy on September 24 to determine if, indeed, we are looking at thyroid cancer. Till then, we keep on doing what we always do: taking this life for what it is.
"Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life.
A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, a loss of a job ...
And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute,
driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore.
To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another
- that is surely the basic instinct ...
Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris.
Time to take this life for what it is."
Barbara Kingsolver, "High Tide in Tucson"
copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.