4 more nights… this is what I just overheard Jacob saying to his Dad. Wasn’t it only yesterday that we were still a month away from surgery? We are scared. All of us. Except Kaleb, who is blissfully unaware of what is really going on. And I’m thankful for that. Though we don’t know how to fathom what is actually going to happen and what the recovery will be like, we have checked off some boxes with things we felt “should” be done prior to the amputation. Family pictures. Check. Family holiday. Check. Meeting other amputees. Check. Get together with close family and friends planned. Check.
As of Thursday, Jacob’s neutrophils were at 0 so he began G-CFS injections to artificially raise them. Tomorrow morning he will get bloodwork done to see if it’s worked. If not we head into Vancouver to start more injections. This is key to making his surgery happen on Thursday. We do not want any delays, as that could be very detrimental to his chemo schedule. Because his cancer is extremely aggressive, any week that goes by gives roaming cancer cells a chance to multiply.
I keep trying to picture the day – the pre op meetings. The prep for surgery and the talks with the nurses and surgeons beforehand. The agonizing wait before Jacob actually goes in. What do we say? Do we say goodbye to his leg? What will it be like wheeling Jacob into the OR room and kissing his forehead as they start the anaesthetic and watching his eyes roll back and close seconds later. How do I walk away from him then, knowing what’s about to happen, knowing that there’s high risk of complications, knowing that when I see him next he will not look the same.
There is no choice in any of this – the only other option without radical surgery and tumor removal is death – and that’s clearly not what we want. So we are okay with what’s happening. It hurts badly, and our hearts our broken for Jacob knowing the struggle and fight he has ahead still, knowing the physical challenges he will face for so long.
But, as of Thursday evening, Jacob will have no visible cancer or tumors left in his body. This is what drives us to to keep encouraging him, and ourselves. Though what he is going through is extremely difficult, and an amputation is something I would never have thought my child would be going through from cancer, we are remaining positive overall. Now it’s the hurry up and wait. Much like when we were waiting for chemo to begin after we found out he had cancer – you process, push through some of the emotions and then get to a point where you want and need action. What makes me sad though is that on top of the chemo and time spent away in the hospital, and feeling like we had just found our footing in a way – everything is going to be turned upside down – again.
We had a wonderful 4 days away in beautiful weather and got to see and do a lot of fun things. The mental break was needed for us all – and it certainly helped to recharge our brains again. The next few days will be busy with surgery prep, meeting with the vascular surgeon, and pre op appointments on Wednesday. Wednesday evening Ray, Jacob, and myself will be staying at Ronald Macdonald House. Thursday morning we will be at VGH at 6 am. The surgery will be 6-12 hours long. Continue to keep Jacob and our family in your prayers as we continue to prepare for surgery.
“Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
listen and answer me,
for I am overwhelmed by my troubles……
My heart pounds in my chest.
The terror of death assaults me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
and I can’t stop shaking.
Oh that I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest
I would fly far away
to the quiet of the wilderness
How quickly I would escape
far from this wild storm…..
But I will call on God,
and the LORD will rescue me.
Morning , noon, and night
I cry out in my distress,
and the LORD hears my voice.
He ransoms me and keeps me safe
from the battle waged against me….
Give your burdens to the LORD,
and he will take care of you.”
Like the psalmist David, we cry out to God, afraid and full of anxiety, but ultimately casting our burdens on Him and trusting Him to take care of Jacob and to carry us all through this dark road ahead.