My wife had not been feeling well for a while. Tired and nauseous, she thought she was either ill or pregnant. When both the blood test and pregnancy tests indicated she was neither, she thought it might just be looking-after-five-kids-itis. Or depression. Or just going crazy.
Then last week, she felt pains in her lower abdomen and experienced spotting. After visiting the gynecologist who saw something worrying, she was sent to hospital where the CT scan suggested tumors in her ovaries and even beyond. Still, cancer could not be confirmed until she was gutted like a fish during surgery late last week.
When the surgeon first came to update me on the surgery, the news was bleak: it was cancer, and while he removed what he could (which included my wife’s ovaries, cervix and omentum), what seemed to be a tumor remained behind her liver and beyond the reach of his scalpel. In other words, the cancer had spread and it was still there.
After leaving the room and giving my tear ducts a good workout, I returned to my wife’s side and looked down at my sleeping beauty, wondering how we were going to get through this. Some minutes later, the surgeon came back in, the look on his face not nearly as glum as it had been when he broke the news to me about twenty minutes earlier. He then proceeded to explain that he approached an expert colleague, who looked over the CT scan, and could say with 100% certainty that the growth behind my wife’s liver was not a tumor after all.
In the space of those twenty minutes, stage 4 ovarian cancer had become stage 3 ovarian cancer, and my wife’s prognosis became a lot better. This now meant that there were no remaining visible signs of cancer, although the reality of months of chemotherapy still await us.
I won’t bore you with details of the 4 days I remained by my wife’s side in hospital and reminded myself what it’s like to sleep on a chair and on the floor (clue: it’s no picnic). What is important is we see light at the end of the tunnel, even though we are aware the chemo train is coming to meet us head on.
As I write this post, my wife is set to leave the hospital on the morrow, and we brace ourselves for the tough road that lies ahead. But we are so very grateful to have a road ahead, and know our family and friends are there to help us reach our destination.